WisCon Redux

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I got back from WisCon yesterday afternoon. It was a fun con, as usual, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. I didn't mind the heat at all. Things have been cold in WI all spring, so it was nice to have a small heat wave. At least it wasn't raining.

The con seemed sparse this year. Someone thought that it was down 100 or so people from its cap of around 1,000, but if I were a betting man I'd say it was a bit more. And in terms of industry presence it seemed like low attendance. Publishers are continually looking for places to cut, and it seems like the travel budget is one of the latest casualties these last few years.

I hung out with a number of my Starry Heaven and Clarion classmates. Shveta Thakrar and Chris Cevasco from Clarion. Jenn Reese, Sandra McDonald (see, I got it right, Sandra!), Jon Hansen, Bill Shunn, and Greg van Eekhout from Starry Heaven. Plus tons of others.

I went to a total of zero panels this year. Not because I didn't want to. It was just that other things came up. Starry Heaven is right around the corner, and I've been working hard to get my ms done so I can start reading the SH mss heavily. So my mornings were taken up with that–getting writing out of the way. And then there were people reading that I wanted to see. Shveta Thakrar and Amal El-Mohtar teamed up for a split-tongues reading, a reading from authors that have multilingual and multicultural upbringings. Shveta's story about her nani was great. And I adored Amal's reading of her Rhysling award-winning poem, A Song for an Ancient City. Amal read it in both English and Arabic, and I loved both. I've never really just sat an listened to Arabic, and I have to say it was beautiful to hear.

Bill Shunn gave a reading from his latest novel. That was cool to hear, since I'd read the same opening at Starry Heaven last year. And then on Sunday, just before I left, I went to a reading with five YA authors: Rae Carson read from her soon-to-be-released THE PRINCESS AND THE GODSTONE, Karen Healey read from GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD, Jenn Reese read ABOVE WORLD, Sarah Prineas read from THE MAGIC THIEF: FOUND, and Greg van Eekhout read KID VS. SQUID.

Among all the other hats he wears, John Joseph Adams has just started editing a brand new magazine called Lightspeed. Its first issue is due any day now, and four of the authors read stories from the first issue: Vylar Kaftan, Alice Sola Kim, Cat T. Rambo, and Genevieve Valentine. The stories and the readings were great, though Alice's attempt at sipping bourbon after every scene break was the most amusing thing in the session. Thankfully she abandoned the tactic after a shot or so.

I caught up with Mary Robinette Kowal on Saturday, which was really nice. We talked about her next project after her Shades of Milk and Honey, and it sounds fascinating. Terribly challenging, and most likely difficult to write, but fascinating. We went out to dinner with Chris Cevasco and Liza Trombi, the editor of Locus (I felt like such an insider).

There were the usual parties at night, though like I said, they were subdued this year, and they cleared out early. That was ok, though. I had to get to sleep so I could get up and write some more. I was sad on Sunday when I had to leave. It's always so much fun speaking with people in the same boat that you are, trying to navigate the same waters. But luckily Starry Heaven is right around the corner. Can't wait for Flagstaff!


  1. Sarah KC

    May 31, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Flagstaff waits for you!  Can't believe how fast it is coming up.

    • Brad

      May 31, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      I know! I’m working furiously to get my final edits done tonight. One way or the other, I’m finishing it. I’m woefully behind on my 50s and the fulls are headed toward me like freight trains…

  2. Shveta Thakrar

    June 1, 2010 at 5:14 am

    I am so, so, so glad I got to see Chris and you!  Your news still fills me with glee. :)  And I'll try to post about WisCon today or tomorrow.  It was amazing!

    Thanks again for coming to my reading, and yes, I promise I'll start sending out the story soon.

    • Brad

      June 1, 2010 at 8:37 am

      Yay, Shveta! I’m curious to hear of your exploits. I didn’t actually see you very much, but it was great to talk when we did, and again, I loved your story. I’m sure it’s going to find a home.

  3. Chris Cevasco

    June 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Brad, it was great seeing you too (and you too Shveta, if you're still lurking here).  Congratulations again on your big publishing news!  Hope to see you again soon at another con…

    • Brad

      June 2, 2010 at 8:20 am

      Hey Chris, yeah, it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t expecting any Clarionites since I knew that Alex, Will, and Vince (who had come previous years) weren’t coming, so it was a pleasant surprise to see both you and Shveta. Hopefully they’ll fix the karaoke machine for your next run at New Order. And good luck on your hunt for an agent/editor. That’s great that it’s done and ready to send out. Would you be willing to share a few chapters?

  4. Sandra McDonald

    June 18, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I'm glad some people can get my name right! :-)  It was great seeing you.


    Which is farther west?  Reno or Los Angeles?

  5. Brad

    June 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm


    Hey Sandra! Great to see you too! I promise not to get your name right from now on. Or at least I'll try. Real hard.

    And the answer is: Phoenix.