A Richness of Firsts: Chicon 7, the Retrospective

Food & Fantasy panel audience – my first panel audience. Missing: excellent co-panelists James Bryant, Petrea Mitchell, Daio, and Mary Frances Zambreno. Included in photo: Classic Kelly Lagor photobomb

(with added booklist from the food & fantasy panel, see below)

The Short Version

When I deplaned in Philly on Monday night, I had this silly grin on my face, and I was still tweeting and messaging up a storm, as I’d been doing for the past five days in Chicago for Worldcon.  My family found it amusing, and a little annoying.  “You’re home now,” they said. “Con’s over.”

Except it’s not, not really.

This was my first Worldcon, and I had a few things on my schedule that I’d never done before – namely reading the opening of my new novel aloud to people who weren’t related to me, and talking on convention panels. Those went great.  Especially because my friends, old and new, were there, cheering me on – by photobombing my pics of my first panel audience, among other things (I see what you did, there, Kelly Lagor).

So, Worldcon was amazing. The Hugos, really fantastic.  John Scalzi did an excellent job as toastmaster, the awards are freaking gorgeous this year, and — wow, so excited for both the nominees AND the winners in all the categories. The thing that made Worldcon most amazing was the people – it was standing-room only in the panels, in the bar, in the lobby (and in the elevator-lines, but let’s not go there).  I got to talk to fans, filkers, and some of my favorite authors.  I got to sit at Jo Walton‘s feet, geeble at Charles Stross, meet the awesome Charlie Jane Anders, and run around collecting interview nods for Cooking the Books like a madwoman – all of which will be to your benefit, dear readers, in the coming months.

The Longer Version

Getting there was better, and easier, than I’d thought, though I was this close to taking the train to Chicago.  Others who flew were less lucky getting home, and I’m hoping everyone’s home by now.

Why did I say the con’s not over? Because things are still whirling around, and I’ve got some work to do this week, following up on a few things.  Plus, I think, the mark of a good con is that it’s never really over.  People will still be saying ‘remember at Chicon…,’ months from now – keeping it going.  I love that.

Acknowledgements & Fangirl Squee

‘Not-Sun Rise’ by Lionesse Elise

People: you are amazing. I’m not going to get everyone, so if I missed you, there’s a fancy comment section for you to note my mental failings.  First off, thank you to Oz Drummond for running an amazing writers’ workshop, and to Jack McDevitt, who was just the best person ever to work with. Our workshopees Erika Decker, Alex Kane, and Jo Rhett were great. Lawrence and Valerie Schoen made sure we ate well, and never lacked for great conversation. I got to meet the amazing DT Friedman, Scott Kennedy, Josh Vogt, and team Phiala, and to see my Cath (Cath Schaff-Stump), LaShawn Wanak, Bart, and Pat Scaramuza again. I talked to Paolo Bacigalupi and Saladin Ahmed, hung out briefly and/or at length with Joe and Gay Haldeman, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch, Gardner and Susan Dozois, Ellen Datlow, Eileen Gunn, Walter John Williams and Nancy Kress, was on a panel with Laura Anne Gilman and Tony Pi, and met my new bosses*, Lynne and Michael Thomas for the first time, then got to see Lynne and Bear and the entire SFSqueecast gang win a Hugo.  I caught up with Chuck Wendig in line for the Hugo Awards and he is as funny and dangerous as you might think. Nancy Fulda and I continued our tradition of passing each other in hallways. I said hi to E. Lily Yu who was busy being amazing, and Ken Liu, who claims to still be Hugo cackling. I saw Amy Sundberg for a little while and Lou Berger a lot because he was part of team keep-Fran-from-passing-out-before-her-reading. I met the fantastic Brit Mandelo and Julia Rios and Mur Lafferty, and talked to Gordon Van Gelder and James Patrick Kelly and got to see Sheila Williams’ Hugo up close. The awesome Bibliogirl and her boyfriend kept us laughing the entire weekend. And my roommate and partner in crime, Kelly Lagor – there aren’t enough words to say how much fun we had. She also read a mean introduction to the story coming out in the hobo-nickels anthology soon (we were a value added reading, just before the Hugos). I met Lionesse Elise for the first time, and have acquired a fine, fine shiny as proof.  And I chatted with Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, which is always a treat.

The fact that at any point in the con, well-known writers could be heard fan-squeeing over each other is part of what makes worldcon amazing. Scalzi said “We are all in this together,” and he’s right.

Oh, and the very talented Al Bogdan took a couple nice photos, including (shocker) one of me, talking.

This is apparently my resting LOUD face. Photo Credit: Al Bogdan, 2012

*new bosses? WHUT? Yep. I can hear the rumblings of machinery even now… which makes me a proud Apex Submissions Editor.  Looking forward to serving!

Food & Fantasy Booklist

Some Cooking the Books readers were at the Food & Fantasy Panel!  I’m so glad to have met you.  As promised, here are some of (please add your own, below!) the books and authors folks mentioned when I asked the audience to name their favorite foodie SF/F novels and stories:

  • Song of Ice and Fire – GRRM
  • Always Coming Home – Ursula LeGuin
  • Thud & Blunder – Poul Anderson
  • The Redwall series – Brian Jacques
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  • C.K. Cherryh
  • The Gallery of Regrettable Foods
  • The Mageworld Series – Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald
  • Rudyard Kipling’s “His Gift”
  • The Anatomy of Dinner
  • “How to Serve Man”
  • Oryx and Crake – Margaret Attwood (for the Chickie Nobs)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Calorie Men” (F&SF 2005) and The Windup Girl
  • Range of Ghosts – Elizabeth Bear
  • “Good Taste” – Isaac Asimov
  • And, last but certainly not least, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland – Diana Wynne Jones
  • (please use the comments section to add more! We’ll call it research.)
  • *the following are added from the comments – with thanks to those who contributed! Keep ’em coming, I’ll keep adding them:
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Sunshine – Robin McKinley
  • The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart


    • I will sing for your birthday anytime! (possibly not what you want in a gift, but it was fun.) And I’m looking forward to seeing you both again soon. Link is fixed. Whoops!

  1. From Patricia Wrede’s short story collection Book of Enchantments, the story Utensile Strength, about a cooking tournament. Followed by a recipe for chocolate cake.

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