Posted by: Mish | August 12, 2009

WorldCon and Beyond

I’m slowly debriefing and recuperating from WorldCon, a convention geared toward sci-fi. The biggest con I’ve been to had 2000 attendees, this one had about 4000, which I’ve been told is low. Regardless, brilliant brains abounded in Montreal’s Palais des Congrès and Delta Hotel. Writers, academics, and geeks, oh my! Summed up, it was five days of discussions and workshops and, of course, a blast and a half. I’ve a ton of notes, a pile of percolating thoughts, and a long list of recommended reading, much of which will get posted at some point when my batteries have recharged.

Talk Amongst Yourselves

How many geeks can we cram in?

There were several high points during the week. One of them was unexpectedly talking with someone I’d last seen in February. I didn’t know she was going to be there so it was a big surprise. My “quest” to get Ravens in the Library signed by three of its generous contributors was fulfilled. It’s such a special anthology, I couldn’t not. I was also just informed that Ravens is available for purchase until the last couple dozen copies fly away. A few of the discussions that really stuck out were New Media; Folklore, Sci-fi, and Fantasy; Gateway Drugs; Plotting Austerity; and Movements in Fantasy. I picked up some good tips during the Songwriting and Hone Your Performance workshops. I also tried my hands at spinning poi for the first time and think I need to make a set so I can practice. The Palais also opened up the 7th floor terrace so people could watch the fireworks. It was a spectacular view. Usually I avoid the fireworks downtown because of the crowd and traffic. Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog received a Hugo Award for Short Dramatic Presentation. Shiny! The con also gave me a reason to don my Browncoat for the first time. Usually it’s too hot to wear, but walking around an air conditioned building helped.

Physicists really need to work on teleportation. I’m already bemoaning that I won’t be able to attend next year’s traveling WorldCon in Melbourne, Australia. My consolation is possibly returning to Ohio’s MarCon and maybe going to GenCon in Indiana, where a friend who’s been trying to get me to go is currently. There’s also OryCon, FaerieCon, Hal-Con, FilkOntario… As Irene Radford titled a short story, it’s a con world afterall.

This week’s Monday Musing was:

Musing MondaysDo you have a favourite publishing house — one that puts out books that you constantly find yourself wanting to read? If so, who? And, what books have they published that you’ve loved?

Coincidentally, my favorite publishing company was present at WorldCon. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, DAW Books is fantastically awesome. Founded in 1971 by Donald and Elsie Wollheim, it is the first publisher to be devoted to sci-fi and fantasy and puts out quality work. Thanks to this privately owned company, “unknown” authors get a starting chance and my reading list continues to grow. DAW Books on my shelves include Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series, Irene Radford’s Merlin’s Descendants series, and Marion Zimmer Bradley Sword & Sorceress anthologies. I also have some of DAW’s anthologies, which make for a fantastic introduction to authors’ works. I recently lent a friend my torn and tattered copy of 1980 Annual World’s Best SF, which according to George R.R. Martin is “a blast from the past”. Their anthologies are gold mines and I’m still kicking myself for not getting the 1979 edition when I had the chance.

I picked up one of DAW’s samplers of books that were recently released or will be released in the fall. The only excerpt I had time to read so far (because I skipped ahead) was by Seanan McGuire. It’s been a long time since I’ve read about changelings because it tends to get repetitive, but I’m really looking forward to reading Rosemary and Rue in its entirety. It’s fresh, unique, comes out September first, and is Seanan’s first novel. Up until now she’s written short stories and a lot of songs, but more about her later. Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey and the Mermaid’s Madness by Jim C. Hines will be released in October. Already available in stores are John Marco’s Starfinder, Tanya Huff’s the Enchantment Emporium, and Julie E. Czerneda’s Rift in the Sky. I checked out DAW’s slide show of other books to be released, but didn’t stay long since it’s kind of hard to write in the dark. Besides, my Dread Pile o’Reads is truly teetering after this week.

Abridged con meme:

How many SF/F cons do you attend each year?
One or two, but would like to fit in more if possible.

Why do you attend cons?
The community, conversations, music, costumes, and the fun.

What is your favorite con?
The four I’ve been to are fantastic for different reasons.

Are you a fan or a pro?
I’m a fan who would like to travel the circuit professionally.

Okay, this post is long enough, but my brain’s been going in all directions. Welcome to my world. Do you like sci-fi or fantasy, why or why not? Are you a con-goer? What’s your fandom? What’s your favorite publishing company? How do you feel about autographs? And lastly, because I’m not the only one annoyed by this, what do you think of selling advanced reading copies on E-bay?

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