Last week, I attended World Fantasy Convention for the first time. Long story short: I had a blast!
Before the convention, I was concerned that as an author of mostly science fiction and media tie-ins I might feel out of place. For some reason I also was worried I might not know many people at WFC. I was incorrect on both counts.
I drove up to Saratoga Springs, NY, the day before the con with fellow Tor authors Ilana C. Myer and Seth Dickinson (both of whom have written works acquired for Tor by senior editor Marco Palmieri). There the three of us joined many other authors, editors, and readers at Northshire Bookstore for the Tor Books 35th Anniversary event, at which I mingled with longtime friends like Dr. Lawrence Schoen and editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow, met in-person people I had previously known only online (among them Charlie Jane Anders) and made new acquaintances, including new Tor editor Jennifer Gunnels.
My sole panel at the convention, “What is ‘Epic’ About Epic Fantasy?” was well attended, and my fellow panelists—Robert Redick, Mary Soon Lee, Susan Forest, and moderator David Hartwell—all were fonts of wisdom. I was genuinely impressed by the depths of their experience and knowledge of the genre.
On Thursday, I enjoyed two very pleasant surprises. The first was the realization that my friends Amy Sisson and her husband Paul Abell were also at WFC, and in fact have been regular attendees for many years. The second was the discovery in the dealers’ room of ARCs (advance reader copies) of 2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush, a new short fiction anthology published by ECW Press and edited by Kevin J. Anderson and John McFetridge, and in which I (along with many other friends and colleagues) have a new original short story, “Our Possible Pasts.”
Thursday evening, after a nice dinner out with my esteemed agent (and dear friend) Lucienne Diver, as well as Steve Saffel and his wife, Dana Hayward, among others, I drifted up to an unofficial Tor room party, where I caught up briefly with Max Gladstone, Alyssa Wong, Lara Donnelly, John Chu, Diana Pho, Sarah Mack (no relation), and lots of other amazing authors and editors and agents whose names have escaped me).
On Friday night, after a great dinner out with David Caron and Samantha Dobson of ECW Press, I took part in the mass autographing session sponsored by the convention. I actually signed about a dozen copies of my various books, and I enjoyed long chats with my friend and fellow former SciFi.com alumnus Scott Edelman.
Post-signing, I made my way upstairs to the Analog/Asimov’s party. At first, I didn’t recognize anyone, but I soon found Lucienne—who introduced me to her friend, acclaimed bestselling author F. Paul Wilson, a man whose work I’ve admired for many years (especially his series of Repairman Jack novels). It was a delight to finally make his acquaintance and spend time comparing notes with him about our pet peeves in prose styling.
At this party I also met the Seton Hill gang—a group of up-and-coming fiction writers who have studied the craft together at SH’s renowned creative-writing workshop. Among them were charming Jennifer Della Zanna, whipsmart Tom Connair, and charismatic force of nature Troy Bucher. I have no doubt they’ll all be household names someday soon.
Saturday at WFC was a laid-back day for me. I had a non-business lunch with Lucienne, then attended Ilana Myer’s reading from her debut novel, Last Song Before Night. Later, while enjoying drinks in the hotel bar with my friend Esther Friesner, I was introduced by Troy Bucher to famed short fiction author Ted Chiang — who, it turns out, went to high school with my best friend, Glenn Hauman. I haunted the “Violence in the Epic” panel before venturing out alone to scare up dinner in downtown Saratoga Springs before making my way to Ellen Kushner’s fabulous party celebrating the new SerialBox project Tremontaine.
For various reasons, I chose not to stay around for the banquet on Sunday. Ilana, Seth, and I all were eager to get home, so we made an early start southward, back to New York City.
In summary, I had such a great time at WFC that I’ve already bought my membership for next year. See y’all in Columbus, Ohio, in 2016!