Friday, November 16, 2007

Saratoga AAR

WFC was fabulous, as always, though insanely busy, trying to track everyone down that I wanted to track down, and keep up with parties, and panels, and hob-nobbing, and all those other lovely con activities. The hotel was not so great--they seemed ill prepared for a thousand rabid writers and fans descending on them--in fact, it got so overwhelming at the bar, that they actually had to open up another bar in the lobby to handle the overflow. Though the hotel billed itself as a conference center, I'm guessing that conventions of dentists or accountants don't drink as much as writers do. Just a guess, there.

I was on one panel that was interesting, tho' through no fault of mine own: Tolkien as Horror Writer. The other experts had far more to say about Tolkien as Horror Writer than I did, but I hope I lent the appropriate moral support to their arguments just by nodding sagely as they talked. I was put on the panel at the last minute, as a courtesy, which worked out better for me than it did for the audience, I fear. Anyway, if I didn't hold the panel up, at least I didn't send it plummeting to the ground either, so all in all, a success.

I saw many people, all delightful, and none of whom I shall namecheck here, both to protect their innocence, and because I'm too darn lazy to look up all the lj/blogger ids. For me the whole point of WFC is to see people whom I otherwise would never see, and this year was no exception. I'm only sorry that I didn't see half as many people for twice as long as I would have liked.

Many parties, all of which blurred into one another, with the exception the party hosted outside the hotel by Orbit Publishing. It was a polished bash, with an open bar, and yummy canapes, and tho' I never did figure out who was there in the flesh representing the publisher, so as to thank them, I had a lovely time. I hate going to parties and not being able to thank the hosts directly--it feels so rude to eat and drink at someone else's expense and not at least say thanks, but these events are often so crazy that it's impossible to determine who to thank. So, a bit late, but hopefully better than never, Orbit Publishing--thanks for the great time!

I did not win the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella; that honour went to Jeff Ford, who richly deserved it, of course. I didn't expect to win, and was slightly relieved not to do so. In my humble opinion, my story was good, but it wasn't better than the others on the slate, and I will be the first to admit it. It was an honour just to be nominated. No, really, it's true. Hundreds of stories are published each year; to get singled out as being one of the best is fabulous, and more than I could have ever hoped for. I despaired of finishing that story--I never thought I'd do it--the first story I completed after Clarion, and it took me two years. So to have it recognized at all felt pretty darn good. And I can't ask for anything more.

Oh, and I should mention too that Sharyn November read the Best Acceptance Speech Ever as written by Diana Wynne Jones who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, but couldn't make it to the con. The combination of Madama Jones's words and Madama November's voice was amusing, and the speech itself was great. I hope it will be published somewhere because it's worth reading if you missed hearing it.

I only went to a two readings, both of them (weird coincidence) by men named Paul, both of whom I rank among my favorite writers, ever.

First: Paul Park, who read an astounding story about events that never happened, characters that never lived Aren't all stories about imaginary events and characters? Oh, I didn't say they were imaginary--only that they never happened, never lived. It's not the same thing, at all. Every time I read or listen to something that Sieur Park has written, I am astounded. Where does he get his ideas? How does he think of this stuff? His work is always revelatory, and I always find myself thinking about his stories for a long time afterward. If you haven't read Celestis or Soldiers of Paradise, you should.

Second: Paul Witcover, who read from his current in-process novel, which is about clockwork, and the Devil, and evil cats. Paul's last book, Tumbling After, was set a psychological drama with fantastic elements, a sort of Gaslight with Gaming. The current work is more traditional fantasy, but definitely is going to get the full Witcover treatment. I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing, so he'd better keep working on it (hint hint.)

What is with these Pauls that they all seem to have such astounding twisty-turny minds? I grow suspicious and wary...

I ended WFC on a low note with an attack of the Saratoga Tum, which had earlier felled others both greater and wiser than me. Still, what is joy without sorrow--the bitter makes the sweet all the sweeter.

Next year, Calgary, brr.

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