Now that the literary dust has settled and I’m back from the 40th annual World Fantasy Convention, I have several thoughts. First, I got to watch writers, editors, artists, and agents share the Hyatt Hotel in Crystal City, VA with a gathering of Rolling Thunder motorcyclists who annually commemorate American POWs/MIAs. When human curiosity took over, members of these groups interacted at the hotel bar and began to learn a bit about each other’s driving interest.
As far as gatherings of the science fiction clan go, I’ve reached the point where there are simply more people whom I want to see at conventions than time to do so. Hence, I never really got a chance to talk to several people who were there fleetingly on the other side of a room. (Hi, guys! Hope you had a good time!) What partly made up for that was the opportunity to meet new people, and some whose work I’ve enjoyed for years. Above is Rick Wilber, who volunteered with me to cover the SFWA table, fielding questions that came our way from members and non-members, alike. Doing so was a reaffirming experience, at least for me, as I was reminded all over again that SFWA membership is a meaningful thing if one goes by the looks of longing on the faces of some writers who have yet to qualify.
One highlight of the four days was the World Fantasy Awards banquet, where mistress of ceremonies Mary Robinette Kowal treated us to the sort of witty, incisive, and comforting speech that only she could give. Naturally, it was terrific to see Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Ellen Datlow receive well-deserved lifetime achievement awards. I also enjoyed a panel by one writer friend and a reading by another, both of whom had never been on a panel or done a reading before. They were well prepared, entertaining, and generally terrific.
A lovely tradition of World Fantasy Convention is that each attendee receives a hefty canvas goody bag of books. Mine came with titles by Cherie Priest, Scott Lynch, Nnedi Okorafor, Geoff Ryman, Joe Abercrombie, Jo Walton, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. So now the pleasant decision becomes which to read first.