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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

a jumble of con memories

Let's see. I did lots of cool things in the last few days. I'll forget some of them, I'm sure. But in no particular order, things that I really enjoyed included,

Meals with old friends I don't see often enough, like Jack Dann (with Jonathan Strahan, who casually asked if he could have "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves of the Nameless House in the Night of Dread Desire" for the Haber-Strahan Year's Best Fantasy. You'll be glad to hear that after giving it my full consideration for an infinitesimally small amount of a millisecond, I said yes), and Colleen Doran (who is amazingly funny), John and Judith Clute and Elizabeth Hand (somehow John and I had a whole conversation without either of us ever mentioning Jack Benny, and Judith has agreed to write a guest entry on What To Do When You're Visiting London for this blog); and the mythical Jon Singer, Claudia Gonson and Chris Ewen (not to mention John M Ford and Elise Matheson, but I eat with them back home too). I got up early this morning to have breakfast with Harry Harrison, who I've known for over twenty years, and who says that all SF and fantasy writers are mad...

Sitting in the hotel bar with Nick Sagan, Michael and Nomi Burstein, with Rick Berry and Shawna McCarthy and Martha Soukup, learning cool bits of Judaica and looking at amazing Rick Berry images...

The Hugo Awards. I had a great time. I don't remember enjoying either of the other two Hugo Ceremonies I attended, because I was so nervous about being a nominee. I had no idea if I'd be a good MC or not, but wanted to see, and I loved doing it, and trying to make it work and be as comfortable as possible an experience for everyone involved. (When it came to the category I was a nominee in, I declined to hold the award, because I didn't want to glance down at the little plaque on the Hugo which says who won, before it was announced. It seemed the right way to do it.)

Briefing Phil Klass -- William Tenn -- before the Hugos on what he'd be doing. He's slightly deaf, and cheerfully curmudgeonly, and when I told him he would read the nominees for best novel, open the envelope and announce the winner, he said "Denounce the winner? Why would I do that?" and then he said "I will if you want me to, though." And I suspected that he might have done. He wrote some astonishing stories, of which the one that feels more and more relevant these days is one called THE LIBERATION OF EARTH. (I just googled it, but found only a Mumpsimus essay on it by Matthew Cheney, who I met at a hot, sweaty room-party and who was, unsuprisingly given his blog, both smart and nice.]

Leaving the con for half an afternoon to watch (and listen) as Claudia Gonson sang an astonishingly lovely scratch vocal track to a Chris Ewen melody I wrote words for, called "Unresolving (The Way We Used To)" � I sort of think of it as a 1950s Death Song, sung by the girl in the car crash several months after she's died. Until Claudia sang it, the only person who had sung it was me, and the nature of the melody is that I can't really sing it, as every now and again the tune nips up a couple of octaves to make sure you're paying attention. I'd hoped it worked, and was overjoyed to discover, listening to Claudia, that it did. Chris Ewen has two small black dogs he's convinced are chihuahuas, called Tesla and Edison ("Ah," I said, "they're AC/DC."). I think they look like miniature alien rottweilers, orange eyebrows and all. Also he has lenticular postcards all over his bathroom.

Reading the first chapter of ANANSI BOYS to about 500 people, who all laughed in the right places (ie pretty much anywhere) and who seemed to enjoy it. I learned a lot about the text by reading it aloud to a roomful of people (I learned enough that I plan to read a whole lot more of ANANSI BOYS aloud at the Fiddler's Green convention in November.)

The panel on Death (and on characters after Death) was really enjoyable. One of the last things in the convention, with Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis, Larry Niven, Uncle River, Scott Edelman, and an enormous and enthusiastic audience participating. (In my last 5 minutes at the con I ran into several old friends from all over the world I'd not seen in the previous 5 days.)

Coffee with Tor editor Beth Meacham this afternoon, which was just meant to be a quick hullo, and which turned into me agreeing (to both of our surprise) to coedit a book of someone else's stories; running into editor Betsy Wollheim and her husband Peter Stampfel in the elevator, and telling Peter that I owned his 1996 "Hello CD of the Month Club" CD, and how much I liked it, and him offering me more CDs...

Talking Fiddler's Green with Davey Snyder (but that's an entry that can wait a couple of days)...


And by the magic of computers, I'm now in New York for a day of meetings, and then a flight home, but in the meantime I should go to bed. So this post will simply stop, just like --
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