Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Channeling Harlan Ellison at WFC in Austin TX

Okay, so what I meant to say was that I ran in Gordon Van Gelder in the restroom and ended up talking with him for a while, despite convention con wisdom that you don’t try to engage editors and agents and such in conversation in the restroom. What I actually said, however – in an elevator stuffed to overflowing with 150 people, was, “Hey, I know I’m not supposed to, but I grabbed Gordon Van Gelder in the restroom…”

The crowd in the elevator went silent and they all took a half-step backward.

And this was but one moment in what was undeniably the best, the most fun convention I have ever attended.

Mary Robinette Kowal, art director for the wonderful small press magazine, Shimmer, (and a professional puppeteer working in Iceland (how cool is that?)) had a side-splitting story about a marionette show gone wrong that we couldn’t get enough of. We dragged her around the con and made her tell it to everyone we could pin down. It doesn’t translate to print nearly as well, though, so you’ll have to grab her yourself at a con and get her to tell it.

The staff of Shimmer (Mary (who also performed the audio bonus for the second issue of IGMS) and editor-in-chief Beth Wodzinski) threw a fantastic pirate party to promote their upcoming pirate-themed issue (guest edited by John Joseph Adams – book reviewer for IGMS (in addition to work he does for that other mag)). And agent Lori Perkins threw a great party for Jennie Rae Rappaport, who writes an amine column for IGMS. So it was an IGMS con, whether folks knew it or not.

I also met Carol Pinchefsky, who I didn’t know was at WFC until an author at the pirate party told me she had just been interviewed by someone who wrote for IGMS – “a Carol Pinch-somebody” according to that author (who had had a little too much of an Icelandic schnapps Mary brought called “Black Death”).

I met a few new folks (new to me anyway), ranging from authors like Julie Wright and Katie Murphy (who writes under C.E. Murphy) to some up-and-comers with a lot of promise like Peter S. Beagle and Joe Lansdale. I also had some interesting conversation with Jay Lake, who said my wardrobe selection was subtler than his “the same way that a car wreck was subtler than a train wreck.” Jay's analogy went on to include explosions and flying cows and such. You know, the usual.

Friends Alethea Kontis and Eric James Stone, who I hung with at DragonCon (okay, tagged along with – they are so much cooler than I’ll ever hope to be), were kind enough to allow me to do so again. And Rick Fischer, who lives not far from me in Greensboro, NC, never missed a chance to tell my “grabbed-Gordon Van Gelder” story.

I got to meet Gavin Grant and Kelly Link, who do the Year’s Best Fantasy for St. Martin’s, Patrick Swenson of Fairwood Press and Tale Bones magazine, and James Van Pelt. I picked up one of Jim’s short story collections (The Last of The O-Forms) on the recommendation of the aforementioned Eric James Stone and have been thoroughly enjoying that. I also bought Ken Scholes new novella, Last Flight of the Goddess (another Fairwood Press title) and am looking forward to reading that. Ken and his lovely wife Jen were a real pleasure, and if you ever meet Ken, be sure to ask him to perform some of his magic tricks; they are spectacular.

All in all, it was by far the most fun I have ever had at a convention. My only regret was not getting out to see more of Austin TX; a group of us had plans to go to a blues club called Antones, but we had to cancel that at the last minute and everyone was quite disappointed. I’m sure there were panels and other things of great import going on, but you’ll have to check somebody else’s con report for info on that. This is already getting to be a lengthy entry and I promised a long time ago that I would never become one of those people who posts twenty page con reports.


Jay Lake said...

Dude, it's a select brotherhood of wardrobe to which we belong. And it was very good to meet you.

Ada Milenkovic Brown said...

You grabbed Gordon van G in the restroom? Well, I shot him with a pistol last year.

A water pistol. The rest of the Clarion West class was supposed to ambush him as well, but everyone else chickened out, because he was an editor.

Mary Robinette Kowal said...

It was great meeting you, Edmund. You neglected to mention your part in my Sleeping Beauty story as you stood on chairs or other impromptu marionette bridges to manipulate me.

Maria said...

Great post! You didn't go on too long and you didn't post fuzzy phone pictures. :>)

Edmund R. Schubert said...

Jay and Mary, the pleasure was mine - and a great pleasue it was.

Ada, Next year we'll meet at WFC and you and I can ambush Gordon together.

Oliver Dale said...

Good stuff, man. My jealous abounds.

Alethea said...

Your post wasn't too long.
It was only this big. ;)

My stomach still hurts from laughing so much. And I already miss you guys like crazy.

Brad Beaulieu said...

You're right, I seem to recall Rick repeating the elevator story a few times. And he had a distinct childish glee while telling it to me.

Ada Milenkovic Brown said...

Thanks, Ed, I'll look forward to ambushing Gordon. I do regret the pistol incident . . . because it was the wimpiest water pistol you ever saw, and my kids have five supersoakers between them, and I didn't have any of them with me.

And I look also forward to seeing your choreography for the marionette story.

Hel said...

God. I have to go to more cons.

Edmund R. Schubert said...

Yes you do.

Jim Van Pelt said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book!