We got a late start on the day, having forgotten to set the alarm and, what with running on so little sleep over the last few days — we slept in. Finally, we got ready to leave and met a nice woman in the hotel lobby who was trying to get a cab to the convention center; so we offered her a lift. Valerie is from Canada and down for World Fantasy. She speaks with a French accent which she apologized for but I assured her that her English was much better than my barely remembered high school French. We (my husband, Valerie, and I) had a great discussion on science fiction, fantasy, films and the subtitles thereof and accents and their variations. One of my favorite parts of conventions is meeting interesting people and having discussions with people from various areas who have read the same books and authors and comparing reactions, thoughts, and such. I think the Harry Potter phenomena was one of the first that really meant that you could talk with just about anyone and they would have also read the books and you could discuss the characters and the story lines and possible future plot lines with a common background. Prior to HP, it’s only at SF/F conventions that I could connect with people with similar reading experiences/backgrounds.
Since I forgot about the camera yesterday, here’ s a few shots. A peek into the door for the art show and a bit of the dealer’s room. It’s just about all books and the room is huge. If you love books as much as I do it’s a bit of heaven to be able to browse and better still to have a chance to buy so many books that are not staples at any local bookstore no matter how big their SF/F section.
At the convention center, we ran into some friends and ended up talking about books, publishing, authors and the convention program. (As an aside I found a lack of caffeine was starting to take its toll on my thought processes). So after much lively conversation, we formed a group and went in search of a late lunch. Lunch was found and partaken of amidst more lively conversation about books, authors, and strangely D&D (or perhaps not so strangely as I mentioned having read and reviewed Confession of a Part-Time Sorceress for SFRevu. Naturally, that led to sharing campaign stories and the role of story telling in the game, much to the bemusement of our sole non-gamer in the group who had a bit of hard time understanding the appeal.
Returning to the convention center, we managed to finally get to a program item. Psychic Detectives in Literature. Panelists: David Drake, Robert J. Sawyer, Howard Andrew Jones (moderator), Barbara Roden, and Kim Newman. The description of the panel was: “From Carnacki the Ghost-Finder to Kolchak the Night Stalker. Exploring the history of the supernatural sleuth story, and the strengths and weaknesses of this unique form.” The discussion of the panelists was far ranging with lots of specific authors mentioned but, being still without caffeine, I managed to get so concentrated on the panel I forgot to take notes. You know how you always think you remember ‘everything’ — well I don’t now that I sit here trying to write it all down. What I do remember is an interesting bit of discussion about the difference between a detective, investigating weird or psychic phenomena that might be ‘real’, and a psychic detective investigating a normal crime. Someone from the audience brought up the twist of a psychic detective (say a vamp) investigating a crime done by another psychic character. Which brought up a hmmm moment.
A change of pace here. Saratoga Springs is a racing area so there are these statues of horses throughout the main street and it turned out there was one outside the autographing session. So, while it’s not my favorite (I hope to get more pics of horses later) here’s the one in the hotel/convention center.
It was now getting late and there was a break in sessions as they prepared the room for the mass autographing session to be held from 8-11PM. We met up with friends and chatted and then — still being without a coffee or caffeine I could barely keep my eyes open so we ventured forth to search for the elusive coffee. Luckily, there was a Starbucks a few blocks away. Returning for the autographing session, we met up with the rest of the SFRevu staff to attempt to speak with as many people as possible. For those of you who have not been to World Fantasy, they usually have a mass autographing session. All the authors are seated at tables in rows in a huge room and then the conventioneers are let in. I always feel sorry for those new authors or less well known authors who end up sitting next to an extremely popular one with a huge line. So, those tend to be the authors I try to talk with first. We also try to give our business cards to as many authors, editors, and artists as we can (and when we ran out of cards we gave out SFRevu/Gumshoe bookmarks. Mostly we’re trying to let people know we exist, set up future interviews, say hi and catch up with authors/artists/editors we’ve met before, and take pictures for our archives and convention reports. We also get to talk to a lot of people in lines waiting to get books signed and chat about what they like about these authors/books/convention. It’s always a lot of fun and very tiring.
11PM and dragging, we managed to pop in for a few parties. This evening there were three on the fifth floor: Brotherhood Without Borders, Senses Five Press/Prime Books, and Shimmer Magazine. Actually there could have been more, or less, but the rooms, hallways, and elevator areas were all crowded with people deep in conversation and there seemed to be lots of drink — and there was even bottled water (for those of us who like to hydrate while talking). Everyone seemed to be having a fun time. However the hours were catching up to us so it was back to the hotel to write up this report, download our photos, and catch some shut eye to prepare for a full day tomorrow.
What a day! That deserves an exclamation point. After getting the zines on line last night we got about 4 hours sleep and it was up, shower, finish packing, pack the car, and off to Saratoga Springs — Saratoga is about 7 hours and 50 some odd minutes. And, that’s about what it took to get here. The scenery was gorgeous (camera was packed so no photos). There was actually some orange and red leaves — at home we’re in a sea of yellow with some tinged towards orange and very, very little red. And in truth a lot of leaves that haven’t changed yet.
Arriving we checked into our hotel (Hilton Garden Inn). It’s actually very nice with lots of amenities that I’m not used to seeing in a Hilton (or at least not in Hilton’s we’d been in previously). The room is comfortable and homey. We didn’t bother to unpack but just grabbed our coats and my purse and headed off to the conference center and registration to hopefully get to some panels before the dinner break.
We did manage to get to “Sleepy Hollow: The Beginnings of the Supernatural in American Literature”. We were about 30 minutes late but the panel was still excellent. Panel members were: Saladin Ahmed (who’d passed out a short bibliography — which I managed to pick up off a chair after the panel), Joseph Bruchac, Barbara Campbell, Lloyd Currey, and Mary Turzillo (moderator). From the time we quietly moved into the room the panel conversation ranged over Washington Irving’s works, especially “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. They discussed the layers of the story and how it has held up over the years. There was some comparing and contrasting with the works of Poe, Lovecraft, other writers of the Knickerbocker Group, and Cotton Mather. There was a wonderful give and take covering the American Folk tradition of tales and their origins. I’m really glad that we managed to catch this panel.
After a break for dinner with several friends we managed to get back in time for the Opening Ceremonies & Ice-Cream Social. Managed to talk to Tamara Siler Jones and Andi Ward for a while to catch up and talk conventions, life, whatever. We then met up with Drew & Kat Bittner who agreed that “The Fantasy Graphic Novel” panel sounded like something worth sitting in on. Panelists were: Mike Dringenberg, Alisa Kwitney Sheckley, Matthew Smith, Charles Vess, Andrew Wheeler (moderator), and Doselle Young. The conversation here was all over the spectrum but mostly focused on how the synergy of words and art becomes more than either separately — lots of comparison to jazz, mention of artists/writers/works they admire. I got so involved in listening I forgot to take notes. [NOTE: I added links only when I was fairly sure that the link I found was to the right person — when in doubt no link.]
We then dropped in to the Australia party, where we met up with some other people from the DC area and with Sam Tomanio (SFRevu’s short fiction columnist). We then moved on to the Zombies Need Brains Party — where there was some excellent chocolate confections and more good conversation.
Tomorrow we hope to remember to bring the camera (now that we’ve unpacked) and add pictures to tomorrow’s report.
Well, missed a couple of days and thought I’d make an effort to post tonight. Just put the fresh issues of SFRevu and Gumshoe Review up on line. So, the three of you who are probably actually going to read this post can get a peek before everyone else. I know there’s three of you out there because I put in a statistical thingy the day and surprise someone other than me actually read this blog.
Tomorrow very, very early — about 0 dark 30 in the morning, my husband and I will be packing up the car and heading out to the World Fantasy Convention which is being held in Saratoga Springs, NY. Hey, it’s getting a bit chilly here in Maryland and NY has got to be cooler. But temperature aside, it should be a lot of fun. If you’ve already signed up and will be there, please look for the folks with the SFRevu name tags and come and say hi. We love to meet our readers. And if one of you reads the blog — well golly that just makes it even better (Yes, I am the kind of person that says golly in conversation). I’ll be posting a daily update on the convention so if you’re interested come back and check in on what’s happening.