World Fantasy highlights
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.