Friday, April 17, 2009

Midsouth Convention Report (Part 3 of a half-dozen or so)

Since I wasn’t scheduled for anything until late Saturday, I didn’t even show up to the convention until after noon. I talked with Bill, Allan, and the Gambers then wandered over to chat with Glen Cook and finally Tyree Campbell from Samsdot. Better still, Lynn Abbey had snuck into the convention unannounced and I got to talk with her about Robert and several other folks we have in common. This was the first time we’ve met face-to-face but, because of the people we share, I felt like I already knew her. Let me just say, she is one classy lady. She had come up to see C. J. Cherryh whom I also got to meet. I also pestered Jeremy and Joy at their signing then talked to Dr. Les Johnson about dark matter and some other non-fiction physics coolness. (In case I forget to mention it later, I think ConClave and especially Penguicon should consider inviting Les as a science guest.)

After this, I wandered upstairs to do a panel with Mr. Resnick, Mr. Ostrander, Ruth Souther, and another really nice person whose name I forgot. (I’m sorry, truly. It’s not a matter of being disrespectful or anything like that; it’s just that I don’t remember names well and I lost my program so I can’t cheat and look it up.) The panel was on how to kill character’s you love. Mostly we use bullets or blunt objects although Mr. Ostrander (who writes for comics) cheats because he gets to bring them back in a few issues. Once that was settled, we wandered over a dozen different topics related to the industry (as usually happens at conventions) and I argued with Mike. Not violently, we just disagree on certain subjects. For example, I consider the short story a loss-leader and therefore part of my marketing presence instead of a for-profit act. Mike thinks if you sell your words cheap, that means you don’t value your work and therefore aren’t professional. It’s a business decision that we disagree on so we argue, politely. It was a lot like when I argue with Scalzi. We just have different business models but we still get along personally.

I went to Jeremy and Allan’s panel (yes, there were other people but they were the two I knew and went for) on horror from Lovecraft to King. Once it was over, since we both had panels coming up on the same floor, Jeremy and I stood around and talked about writing and projects we had stashed away in our idea boxes that we were trying to get to when we found the time. (Inside baseball—I think maybe Jeremy and I should talk about doing the fairy realm detective/justice outside of time series together. You know, in our spare time.)

Before we headed to our separate panels, Dan Gamber grabbed me and introduced me to Anne VanderMeer. Again, the first time to meet face-to-face but we’ve exchanged emails (and mss. and rejection slips) for some time. Jeremy’s panel started but I still had an hour open so I wandered over to talk to Wild Mercy. While they were being interviewed, Andrew was gracious enough to talk to me about an idol of mine, George Alec Effinger (Andrew was in his writers group and knew him for several years before he died. It was an enriching conversation and I’m in his debt for his kindness). I did get to talk to Wild Mercy and thank them for Summer Storm. Both regular readers of this weblog know that I listened to that CD while writing Calamity’s Child and I wanted to say thanks. They thought it was pretty neat that I wrote to their music and I thought it was incredibly exciting that Barry (that’s the giraffe) has finished his song cycle and the CD is out! Steve Lapata joined us and we talked about absent friends, especially Cat’s Laughing, Emma Bull, and Will Shetterly before Steve and I had to go to our panel.

Steve and I were together on the same panel and joined by Glen Cook to discuss high tech weaponry. Pretty much, the best weapon around at any tech level is a rock (especially if you can heave it down a planetary gravity well) so we broadened our discussion to military things in general. It was a great panel that began with cutting edge military tech, progressed back through history as we discussed the timelessness of certain basic tactics and each of us talked about an area of history we were currently reading and the interesting things we were learning. By the end of the panel, we were with Hannibal, sans elephants, harassing Rome. I enjoyed it and I think the audience and the other panelists did too. Steve and I continued our conversation for about another hour before She Who Must Not Be Named arrived to claim me and drag me off to eat and sleep.

No comments: