Monday, November 5, 2007

Top 10 Great Things About World Fantasy Con 2007

World Fantasy Con was head-spinningly awesome. More writers and topics and editors and all-around delightful people than you could shake a wizard's wand at. I could go on to a hundred or more by being specific, but I'll just tease you with the top 10 great things about World Fantasy Con 2007:

10. Picking up a copy of Nick Mamatas’s Move Under Ground and then starting to set it back on the shelf, only to discover the author was standing behind me. I bought it, and he signed it. Nick remembered that I submitted “God of Chickens” to him without me having to prompt him, which I thought was pretty cool of him. Nick’s a neat guy to talk to.

9. The constant “Holy shit, Walter Jon Williams/ Charles Vess/ Kim Newman/ Lynn Abbey/ Tim Powers” moments as Walter Jon Williams/ Charles Vess/ Kim Newman/ Lynn Abbey/ Tim Powers and literally dozens of other familiar names walked by. It was extraordinarily difficult not to geek out at the parade of fantastic authors who have influenced, entertained and exhilarated me of the years, and I did not succeed every time. They were without exception polite, which cannot have been easy. I will try very hard to restrain my enthusiasm at the next convention, but at the same time, I want these people to know that their work is absolutely marvelous. I must find some balance.

8. William Jones. The man himself–he who bought my first story. We had a long conversation (long enough that the bookseller we were standing in front of shooed us away) about the publication process, what’s going on with Chaosium and Elder Signs Press, why short stories are a good thing, and what’s up next for us both. Awesome guy, and a very important conversation for me.

7. ST Joshi is a stunningly personable man. Those who have only read his commentaries simply cannot understand what an warm and delightful conversationalist he is.

6. The stories. When authors get together, they trade stories about writing and publishing. Like the one about the guy who got a rejection letter and posted a huge rant about it on his blog. A publisher who wanted to give him a three-book deal, looked him up, saw the rant, and decided he might be too difficult to work with. Note to self, be more polite when posting to blog.

5. F. Paul Wilson and Tom Monteleone’s stories. These guys are the veterans of the book trade, and they have a million and one stories, all of the fascinating. Any ending you can imagine to something that starts off with “So Peter Straub, Stephen King and I went out to find the sleeziest strip club in Ottowa” falls short of the actual story. I’m sorry, but it’s simply the truth.

4. Learning that Elizabeth Bear used to play in my CoC campaign! Yes, that Elizabeth Bear.

3. Gary Frank. The thing to do at a convention is to follow Gary around, because he goes some extremely interesting places. And while he does so, he talks a lot of sense about marketing yourself, convention etiquette, and generally how to work conventions to your advantage. Gary’s an old hand at cons, so his advice is useful and practical.

2. Wilum Pugmire. Wilum is so supportive and kind to this fledgling writer. He gave me at least two significant opportunities I would not have thought to take advantage of myself, and we indulged in some highly entertaining conversation. There's no one like Wilum. We've been corresponding for a year, and it was simply a joy to finally meet him.

1. Reading this from “Summation 2006: Horror Anthologies” by Ellen Datlow (p. lii-liii), in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, 2007: "Arkham Tales, edited by William Jones (Chaosium), is, according to the editor’s introduction, the first anthology in which '. . . each story . . . is realized in Chaosium’s adaptation of the cosmic horror sub-genre.' In other words, if I understand correctly, each story is inspired directly by an actual aspect of the ‘Call of Cthulhu’ role-playing game published by Chaosium Press. Despite this, the stories do stand alone, and some do some nice riffs on the mythos, including those of C. J. Henderson, Brian M. Sammons, and John Goodrich.”


Elizabeth Bear said...

And hey, you're in Vermont now! I guess neither of us survived the Southwest....


John Goodrich said...

Spent nine years in San Francisco, which was a lot better than Las Cruces, NM. I don't like to generalize about the Southwest, since I like Santa Fe, but I can't think of many worse places to go than las Cruces.

Very happy to be back in Vermont.


William Jones said...

Good to see you made it back safely. It's always a surprise to meet someone at these conventions -- even the one's you've met before.

John Goodrich said...

A definite pleasure to meet you, William, and congrats on the Honorable Mention! Looking forward to your Rudolph Pearson collection.

Ray M. Solberg said...

Catching up slowly...This seems like it was an amazing experience! And how cool when you meet people you know...and they are people you know!