World Fantasy highlights

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Well, another World Fantasy has come and gone. This one was pretty special for me, though, because it was the first World Fantasy with a published book on the shelves. Ever since I’ve started going to World Fantasy, I’ve thought of it as “home,” so to finally have a book out was pretty cool. Last year at World Fantasy I was pretty giddy because I had the book deal and artwork, but no actual book. I did a reading while I was there, trying to spread the word, but it felt, I don’t know, fun but incomplete. This year was different because Winds is out and is doing fairly well, and it was gratifying to share that with my friends who were there, to crow a bit about my book and also hear the successes from the friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

One very cool thing was that the Night Shade crew all made the trip down. Jason and Jeremy, Ross and Tomra, Liz and Amy. It was great fun seeing them there, doing a signing at the booth, and catching up with them in a more relaxed atmosphere at the Night Shade party. They even had a drink named after my book! A “Khalakovo” was, you guessed it, a White Russian. I had one, and it was the yum.

Oh, and the really cool news on the Night Shade front: they sold out of my book! I won the race, apparently. How cool is that?

I went to a conversation between Connie Willis and Neil Gaiman, which was wonderful. They were allowed to pick the topic, and they decided to start with where writing comes from. What made them want to write in the first place, why they stuck with it, the things that influenced them. They talked about what it means to be a writer, whether you’re quite successful or just starting out. This was a very heartwarming hour of conversation for me. Both Connie and Neil are very gracious, down to earth people. They’re also quite humorous. And the talk they gave ranged from laugh-out-loud funny to touching. This alone was probably worth the price of admission.

I attended a few readings, among them Chris Cevasco’s, Rob Ziegler’s, and Peter Beagle’s. It was fun to hear Chris and Rob read, both of whom are friends of mine. Peter’s was a slightly different story. He read “Olfert Dapper’s Day,” which was a brilliant, brilliant story about Dr. Olfert Dapper and his fictional travels to the New World, whereupon he meets a unicorn. I’ve rarely been this impressed with a reading, not for Beagle’s reading ability, but for the sheer brilliance of the prose and the magical quality of the story. I feel like a better person for having heard it.

However, something strange happened that hour. Mr. Beagle was allotted 30 minutes to read, as was everyone else excepting perhaps for the guests of honor. Mr. Beagle’s reading, however, went 68 minutes, a full 38 minutes past his allotted time, meaning the person that was to follow, Alison Goodman, apparently didn’t get to have a reading. Someone even started clapping about 30 minutes in, a not-so-subtle indicator that the time was up.

One wrinkle is that, by design, participants are only given a reading or a panel at World Fantasy, meaning that if Ms. Goodman didn’t get to read, she would have had no programming at World Fantasy. I’m sure that this was an honest mistake. I really don’t know what might have happened, but I hope that Alison got to read, maybe in the minutes that followed Mr. Beagle’s reading or in another room.

Other than this, the usual parties and meals with friends. I caught up with Clarion friends, Wellspring friends, Starry Heaven friends, and tons of others. It was a really fun con, though it was a bit strange since the hotel (a resort more than a traditional hotel) was rather spread out.

I’m already looking forward to Toronto. Can’t wait to hear what’s happening with everyone then and relaxing, sharing our wins as well as our failures. It’s always energizing going to these cons, and this was no exception.


  1. Barbara Webb

    November 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I’m sad I didn’t get to go this year. It sounds like everyone had a great time!

    • Brad

      November 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      Yes, it was a lot of fun. We missed you there, but hopefully we’ll see you next year. GenCon at the very least, yes?

      • Barbara Webb

        November 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

        Um…maybe? :) I’ll definitely be at WFC next year, and with WorldCon in Chicago–such a short hop away–I may go to that as well, but that would eat up my con budget for the year. I’m still figuring out next year’s commitments at this point.

  2. C.S.E. Cooney

    November 2, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Strange — on the program, it seemed to me that Mr. Beagle was allotted a full hour. That’s what I expected, going in. I see now, looking at the program again, that Ms. Goodman was to have started at 11:30. In other similar time slots, the two readers who are going back to back in the same room are listed one right after the other, but Goodman’s listed one a skip ahead. I can see the mistake. But it’s a shame any author had to have her chance to read taken away.

    Double shame too, because I was absolutely RIVETED by Olfert Dapper’s Day, and this sours the memory slightly for me. Dang it.

    Cool to see you in passing again, Mr. Beaulieu!

    • Brad

      November 2, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Claire! Great to see you as well! So sorry I missed play night on Thursday. How did it turn out?

      Yes, I didn’t know that Mr. Beagle’s reading might have overlapped until the end, either. I should have said above that he *did* say right at the beginning that he wanted to get started posthaste, and indeed he did. He launched into the reading immediately on the hour, so I’m sure that *he* thought he had one full hour. I hope Alison got to read following his reading, perhaps in another room.

      But I agree, my memory of the reading is slightly soured by this, but setting that aside, WOW. What an incredible thing. I dare say I don’t think I’ll miss another Peter Beagle reading again, ever.

  3. Connor Cochran

    November 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Just by way of providing some illumination:

    Peter’s readings and panel were last-minute additions to the schedule, shoehorned in when the people running the con realized that — because of miscommunication at a lower level — this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner had not been given ANY reading or panel time at the con at all.

    In return for fixing this, Peter promised to give them a world premiere story he had recently finished.

    He was told he’d have 60 minutes for the reading. That things weren’t arranged properly at the con itself appears to be another part of the internal miscommunication I alluded to before. *Very* sorry it happened, and I join you in hoping that Ms. Goodman got to read elsewhere/elsewhen.

    Glad to know you liked the story, though. I’ll let him know.

    — Connor Cochran
    Business Manager for Peter S. Beagle

    • Brad

      November 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks for the clarification, Connor. I was pretty sure it was some mix-up or another. I found the organization at the convention to be a bit lacking, so it’s too bad this happened.

      I mentioned how much I loved Peter’s reading to him on Facebook, but feel free to pass along my and Claire’s thoughts. A story like that is worth complementing twice!