We’ve been home for almost a week and the planet’s still kind of spinning. I’m going to press on and try to capture a bit of Loncon3, filling in with shiny photos when I can’t find the words.
Loncon3 Panels – Everything was packed! I mean rooms filled with people, people standing, people of all ages, people asking questions and coming up to talk after. It was so packed, we had to resort to parkour to get Scott Lynch to his very small, very remote reading room. This was very exciting. I’m still convinced that some of the convention rooms (especially those on the third floor, back hallway) moved around like staircases at Hogwarts. The Excel Center is a strange place — more on that later.
I had four panels, three of them on Friday:
- Feeding the Imagination with Shana Worthen, Aliette de Bodard, Gillian Polack, and Jo Walton was first. We had a great discussion about what kinds of food authors would try, and Gillian brought samples of Australian bush spices. And candy. We also discussed worldbuilding using food – aka writing the tip of the iceberg, while knowing the full details of how items got to the world of the story — and the importance of not making assumptions about what would be available and what wouldn’t. A Guardian reporter was apparently at the panel, as they mentioned my comment about Edmund from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe being an unreliable food narrator *in the same paragraph* as they talked about George Martin’s packed panels. Woo! Famous-adjacent! The whole article is filled with smart words, including those of authors Paul Cornell and Mary Anne Mohanraj — so don’t skim down to the 14th paragraph… or if you do, read back.
- Mining Magic with Liz de Jager, Deborah Christie, Erin Hunter, and Klaus Æ. Mogensen moderating was also great. The audience jumped in here, and there were a ton of great YA and Warriors fans there to talk to Erin Hunter. Klaus and Liz did an excellent job bringing the world perspective, and we got to talk about magic beyond the usual. Because some folks asked, among the books I mentioned were: Sister, Mine, by Nalo Hopkinson; Un Lun Dun, by China Miéville; The Dictionary of the Khazars, by Milorad Pavić; Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie.
- Hugo Short Fiction Shortlist Discussion – we (we being Brenda Clough, Carl Engle-Laird, Suzanne Palmer and me) were beautifully moderated on this panel by Duncan Lawie. Seriously, it was excellent work. We talked about all three categories on the Hugo 2014 slate, answering the question ‘could win, should win, will win,’ with — I believe — the winning answer in each category. Up for special discussion beyond the winners were Aliette de Bodard’s “The Waiting Stars” (The Other Half of the Sky, 2013, Candlemark & Gleam) and Cat Valente’s “Six Gun Snow White,” (Subterranean 2013). We were also asked what stories were not nominated that should have been. Among my suggestions for that question were, if I recall, “Anything by Yoon Ha Lee,” Gregory Frost’s “No Others Are Genuine,” (Asimov’s); James Kelly’s “Soulcatcher,” (Clarkesworld); Andy Stewart’s “Wormwood is Also a Star,” and Robert Reed’s “Katabaisis,” both from F&SF; Veronica Schanoes’ “Burning Girls,” (tor.com); and “86, 87, 88, 89,” by Genevieve Valentine (Clarkesworld).
… (And then oh thank goodness I got to eat dinner. Which was awesome and made even better because Chris Gerwel had come to the Hugo panel and was at dinner [along with David Levine, Kate Yule, Erin Black, Suzanne Palmer, and Anna Kopchik], able to assure me that it went well. Also we were eating in the deepest basement back room of a Chinese restaurant because there was a huge wedding going on upstairs – so far down that we were right next to the kitchen, could hear the staff playing mahjong.)
- Food Politics – another excellently moderated panel, this time by David G. Shaw, with Robin Hobb, Amanda Baker, me, and B. Diane Martin. This was more real-world and we covered urban farming, population, bugs, and so much more. I loved hearing Robin’s take on things from the perspective of her own small farm. Diane brought a great legal perspective. Amanda talked about veganism and the importance of food independence very informatively. And I threw a bunch of book titles at the audience, including Chuck Wendig’s Blightborn series, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and Cory Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema.
The Tiptree Auction in honor of Jeanne Gomoll
(blurry photos ahoy!)
This year, to honor Jeanne Gomoll, Loncon3 asked me to help coordinate an event. Because of travel complications and shipping costs, we decided on a special Tiptree Auction where donors would give autographed recipes – the donors included Aliette de Bodard, Michael Swanwick and Marianne Porter, Ellen Klages, Ellen Datlow, Seannan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch (see photo), Nancy Kress, Kelly Eskridge and Nicola Griffith, and Nalo Hopkinson. We also auctioned off actual Tiptree jam and Tiptree t-shirts, as well as two Tiptree Cookbooks edited by Jeanne. The auctioneers – Elizabeth Bear (assisted by Scott Lynch), Andy Duncan, and surprise auctioneer Pat Murphy, were wonderful and hilarious. And the auction volunteers, including Ellen Klages (who was indespensible and helped get many, many recipes), Spike, Shana Worthen, Marianne Porter, and Sylvia Spruck-Wrigley, kept the wheels on the cart. I cannot thank everyone enough. The event was a success, from what I’ve been told, generating nearly Ł250 ($470) for the Tiptrees.
I have to say that the interstitials are often my favorite parts of a con – the hallways and escalators where conversations start, the eating places and -this time especially- the fan village. Sitting down for coffee/lunch and conversation and talking with* Ann Leckie, Delia Sherman, Michael Swanwick, Andy Duncan, Liz Bourke, Amy Sundberg, Wes Chu, Brett Cox, David Levine, Kate Yule, Julia Rios, Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, Ian MacDonald, R. Cargill, Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Neil Clarke, Heather Urbanski, Mishell Baker, Aliette de Bodard & family, Nene Ormes, Justin Landon, Sarah Pinborough, Erin Underwood, Joe Monti, the wonderful Gollancz crew, the fabulous Tor UK team, and so many more were highlights of my con. So were walking the Wide Expanse of the Excel Centre and through the strange warehouse with Max Gladstone and Stephanie Neely, Ann Leckie, Keffy Kehrli, Joe and Gay Haldeman, David Hartwell and family, Frances KR, Chris Gerwell, Mike Underwood, Paul Weimer, Siobhan Caroll, Francesca Myman, Adam Christopher, Shaun Duke, (thanks to Wes Chu) the absolutely fabulous Booksmugglers, Emily The Slayer, Mur Lafferty, Abi Sutherland, Kate Eliot, Carl Engle-Laird, Delia Sherman & Ellen Kushner, PNH & TNH, Jo Walton, Amal El Mohtar, Jonathan Strahan, Sheryl and Gary, Rick Wilson (though I missed breakfast with him!), Alisa Krasnostein, Elise Mattheson, Foz Meadows, Tom Easton, JW Alden, Vylar Kaftan, Robert Silverberg, and Kate Eliot. And then Victoria Schwab and I managed to be in the same place at the same time which was !!! SO Very Good.
So very happy to see friends new and old wherever we found ourselves.
As seems to happen delightfully often, the first person I saw at the con was my friend John Chu. He kept me company in line, and then came back and found me later too. Thanks John! He was one of the last I saw as well – for breakfast the day after the Hugos. One of which he won… go read his speech. It’s excellent.
Max Gladstone and I managed to make navigating the hallways to a party into a MUD game, and we did a brief investigation of the enormous blank space at the center of an otherwise packed convention. Here’s the vid.
*There are a ton of folks I am forgetting, new and old. I’m standing by, ready to make amends.
Kaffeeklasch! Friends new and old also showed up at my first Kaffeeklasch (photo above) ! We had an excellent conversation about the New Weird, publishing, my upcoming novel, short stories, flash, slush, and what everyone was up to. I had so much fun talking with everyone -Paul Weimer, Adam Christopher, Judy Newton, JW Alden, Pauline Wooley, Frances KR, Felicia, Diana, and everyone – thank you all for coming.
And there were a few adventures abroad as well… first an outing to the Fan Museum in Greenwich…
… Wherein Julia Rios, Moss Collum, Mary Robinette Kowall and I adventured out to Greenwich on Saturday to visit the Fan Museum. It was unavailable for tea, so after, we took ourselves to the Rose & Crown, which proved amenable. Loved this outing and the conversations that followed so very much.
(… Riding the DLR around and around to get to my next event, NSM. I quite like the tube. Overland rail? So not my friend.)
Dinner with my fabulous Tor editor Miriam Weinberg and our families. OMG this was so good. We discussed many things, including a little about the books… Very exciting! Nope, I can’t tell you what we talked about… not yet.
Tagging along to more dinner with Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear to watch the Hugos via Twitter, which evolved into a very complex game of cards with Lynch, Bear, Sara Pinborough, Cargill, Myke Cole, and many, many others. oi.
And lastly, there was this amazing YA panel, From the Horse’s Mouth, which featured *actual YA readers* talking about what they liked to read.
I’m totally biased about this panel, so I’m going to let Erin Underwood, editor of Futuredaze and Futuredaze 2, speak for me. (This panel was SO GOOD.)
To sum up…
Loved every minute of Loncon3. Am missing it incredibly now.