The short version, for the attention-deprived of you, is that I had a great time, and will absolutely make going back next year a priority. Read on for anecdotage complete with me making an ass of myself. Also, for maximal enjoyment of this post, read yesterday’s about my abbreviated tour of SF.
I spent Friday morning cursing the fates. Consulting work was going sideways and people wanted me to call them. Real Estate work was picking up, so much, in fact, that I had buyers who wanted to go see a property right then because, oh man, they’re this close to making an offer and they wanted to make sure the rain didn’t flood the basement. So I have to find another Realtor willing to do me a favor who I trust to not poach my client (they’d have signed the paperwork making them mind, all mind, if only I’d been in Wisconsin any time in the ten days prior) or to upset/irritate/scare/otherwise ruin them. This was more challenging than it really ought to be. Plus, I still hadn’t decided what I’d be reading the next day for my first ever public reading of my own work, also I had the delightful Keffy Kerhli and Liz Argall right there being far more interesting than just about any of the annoying things the internet was keeping me on top of.
In other words, by the time the con actually started, I was mega-ready to be at a con, forget about being a consultant, or a Realtor, and indulge in rampant writerly geekery. This was not hard to do.
The Equal Time for Non-Vampires panel was great fun to be on, and I think the audience enjoyed it, too. It did not devolve into Twilight-hate wankery, opting instead for more interesting drive-bys, I confirmed that I’m not the only one who heaves a heavy sigh when episodic fantasy shows grab for the Wendigo, or the only one who’d like to see South and Central America getting mined for material more often. Plus I got to share my love for the krampus. Major wins, one and all.
Liz Argall viciously cliff-hung the entire audience, stopping her Machine of Death 2 story part way through and maliciously telling us to buy the anthology to find out what happens. I should have stolen her manuscript while it was ungaurded in the room to read the rest. I wasn’t coherent enough to think of that. Christie Yant and Vylar Kaftan were at the same reading, very good, and kindly read pieces to their conclusions. Also, I got to eat chocolate John Joseph Adams put on a chair. It’s the little things that really make an experience.
I’m going to stop right here and take a moment to wax fondly about Vylar. She’s the FogCon Con chair, and the entire reason I went. Last year she tried complicated machinations to get me there which my work/travel schedule utterly thwarted. Then at WisCon she made a point of introducing me to everybody she knew, who just happened to be FogCon people, and then looking me in the eye and ordering me to go to FogCon. Ladies and gentlemen, when a Nebula nominee tells me to do something which I can do, and which sounds like fun, I am not going to argue. But she didn’t stop there, and made a point of checking in with me, being friendly, and making sure I got plenty of California sushi. We went out for dinner Friday and it was all so good I made myself ill. In fact, it was so good I went back Sunday and ate some more. Vylar is awesome like the sushi was, except I have not yet managed to make myself ill through over-consumption of Vylar. Maybe she’s low calorie. Or magic.
The most amusing point from Friday night was, I think, on the tour through the hotel bar where I wandered by a table full of con people. I did a double-take when I saw the guy sitting at the end of the table. “You work at Broad Universe!” I declared.
To which I received a patient, confused look. And then, “You mean, Borderlands?”
“Yes, that,” I say. For, of course, this was the guy who sold me the two books I didn’t have room in my luggage for, and who couldn’t give me tips for a good dinner joint. His name was Naamen Tilahun.
“You had me really confused for a minute,” Naaman said.
At that point, I was actually confused about what my name was. I’m happy I at least started with the right letter. Also, Naaman seems like the kind of guy who is going to forget I introduced myself that way, which is why I had to record it for posterity on the internet myself.
Did I mention yesterday how really cool Borderlands is? Yes? It’s unforgettable. Really.
And while we’re telling stories featuring Anaea, the blithering idiot, I had not one, but two conversations with two different people that involved me craning my neck up at them and astutely observing, “You’re very tall.” Both gentlemen humored me and waited until I was well out of sight to shake their heads at me. In my defense, they were both very tall.
Saturday morning was an exercise in time zone fail. I listed myself as available for early panels because I figured I’d have a two-hour cushion, and 9am isn’t nearly so scary when it’s actually 11am. Except I’d sorta adjusted to California time? To the extend that my body had any clue what sleep was anymore? I may have told the entire audience of the What We Re-read and Why panel that they were perverse and sick for voluntarily being anywhere at that hour? I don’t know, it happened before 10am. I’m told I was coherent, but I wasn’t really forming memories at that point. Also, everybody was so relentlessly nice I suspect they were willing to lie about those things.
The Who Are You panel was, I think, definitely the weakest of the events I participated in. The conversation wandered directionlessly a bit and there were a few awkward pauses. I have no idea whether or not the audience noticed. But, we got to talk about embodiment involving hair and tattoos, both topics pertinent to writerly things I’ve been playing with, so I got something out of it whether or not anybody else did.
And then my reading. Late Friday I decided that I wasn’t going to decide what to read. I was torn between my favorite of my short works which, er, is not PG and for reasons the FogCon demographic would care about, and an excerpt from the agent-seeking novel which is best characterized as “light-hearted and quirky.” I let the audience vote and, with one exception, they went for the second option. I rewarded them with a pirate jail-break. Charlie Jane Anders wanted to know where to read the rest. I claim all the winning. (Psst, hey agents, do you hear that? You’re guaranteed at least $.25 if you represent me…)
Saturday night featured karaoke. A lot of karaoke. It’s possible I did a jig in public. While stone cold sober. Honestly, though, the Devil won’t go down to Georgia if you don’t jig.
I got eight hours of sleep between going to bed Saturday night and waking up Sunday. I was going to get eight hours of sleep pretty much whether or not I meant to; my body was inventing clever ways of signalling its utter exhaustion that I was not enjoying. I got up, took my laptop and tired self to the consuite, and waited for wakefullness to come. Dr. Who came up in conversation and, magically, alertness happened. I went to more panels which continued the general trend of having the right people on them saying interesting or useful things. I did more meeting/chatting with cool people. It’s possible I went to the same sushi restaurant for dinner not once, but twice. (I didn’t eat the second time, but only because I remembered the lesson from Friday about too much sushi)
Remember the story from yesterday about the ring I got my first time I was in SF, and how I’ve never found a replacement for it? Check out what I picked up in the dealer’s room.
That’d be badass jewelry with a side of nostalgic symmetry, ftw.
There was a lot more worth waxing enthusiastic about, like blue cheese in the con suite (I’ve lived in Wisconsin too long) and a panel about writers screwing up biology that covered all of my pet peeves and recommended all of the right books, but those were the essential highlights. So now I’m looking all of you in the eye and telling you, hey, these are cool people and I know a Nebula nominee: You should go to FogCon.