I was surprised to see so many events scheduled for the last day. I’d like to have stayed for the Dead Dog Party, but we had a train to catch. The Dead Dog Party is a traditional convention wrap-up event held in the hospitality suite (where you chit chat with people while drinking free soda and sometimes beer). Sluggish, tired and/or hungover convention goers do their best to consume any remaining food or drink. As you can see from the photo above, I got my rest on the train.
WorldCon locations are decided two years in advance. We’ll probably be able to make the 2013 convention in San Antonio, Texas. I’d like to go to the London 2014, but I don’t know if we’ll have enough money to travel overseas.
We could have registered for the next two conventions at the WorldCon administrator’s table in the dealer’s room. There were petitions by various groups to get your vote for the 2015 and 2016 locations of WorldCon. So far it looks like Washington (state) in 2015 and Kansas in 2016.
WorldCon administration also posts flyers and promotional materials for other conventions. Here are some of the others I looked at:
- Octopodicon – Steampunk themed convention
- Convention Who – Dr. Who convention
- Starbase Indy – Star Trek convention
- OryCon34 – Oregon science fiction convention
- Maneki Neko– Maneki Neko collector convention (Hah!). DeMarcus and I are probably going to try to make BaltiCon 2013 because that’s where all of our favorite authors are scheduled to be. It depends on whether or not St. Louis Public Schools take any snow days.
There are two major awards a science fiction author can win. The Nebula award is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and it’s a really big deal to win. The other is the Hugo Awards sponsored by the World Science Fiction Convention is also a really big deal. I don’t watch awards ceremonies (Boring!) and I was even less inclined to see one in person. I may have attended if had managed to read all the nominated works.
The surprise was Neil Gaiman flying in for the awards ceremony! If I thought I had a snowball’s chance in hell of meeting him, I would definitely have attended! If you don’t know who he is, Neil Gaiman is one of the greatest writers of his generation. The first thing I read by him was The Sandman comic book series. DeMarcus and I own all the graphic novels and most of the supplementary works. Blending ancient tales and settings into the modern world is seldom done well, but Gaiman is the absolute master of it.
A couple of his works have been made into movies and TV series with (in my opinion) mixed results (MirrorMask, Coraline, Stardust and Neverwhere). Gaiman writes beautiful prose describing people, settings, situations and the history behind them. Modern film relies so heavily on dialog to explain and move events that a lot of the magical artistry of his work is lost on film.
Books signings at conventions are great, but it can be a pain. If it’s a popular author, you can end up waiting for hours in line (I once waited an hour and a half for Ray Bradbury). Book sellers will for a fee, wait in line for you. Even if you change your mind later, they can still sell the autographed book later.
DeMarcus went that route for his Schlock Mercenary graphic novels. Not only did the author (Howard Tayler) autograph his books, but he drew a picture of a different character in the back of all eight books! DeMarcus always gets the little extras <jealous grumble>.
After the George RR Martin reading, DeMarcus went immediately back to the room while I made some last minute purchases from Offworld Designs (sellers of official Chicon7 merchandise). I went to drop off my stuff and found out I DeMarcus had run into one of our favorite authors, Mur Lafferty! Damn!
DeMarcus and I are huge fans of Mur Lafferty’s works, most of which have been broadcast for free and are available via PodioBooks.
I recommend the following titles:
Mur Lafferty is also chief editor of EscapePod, an excellent science fiction podcast. EscapePod has two sister podcasts. PseudoPod is for horror fiction and Podcastle is for fantasy. All three are free, but because they are a paying market, they do ask for donations to help pay the authors for their submissions. I currently donate to all three, once per month.
DeMarcus was hungover so we didn’t get up and moving until late. We finished breakfast around 11:00 am (thank you Hyatt for extending your breakfast hours), just in time to get to the George RR Martin reading. The video above shows the line as it was at around 11:15 am. There were fans from all over the globe there. By the time the reading started (1:30 pm), the line was three times as long.
The manuscript Martin read from was an unpublished supplementary work. It explored the lives of characters that until now, readers only knew of as important historical figures within the Game of Thrones universe. Basically you get to find out how some of the ancient conquerors came to be known as such badasses.
I was impressed by Martin’s reading. As anyone who listens to literary podcasts or audiobooks knows, not every author can read their own work. There was a “Read by the author!” promotional push in audiobooks a few years back, but it died out pretty quickly. Most publishing houses hire voice actors for their audio editions and literary podcasts generally have someone on their staff perform the readings. George RR Martin read for roughly an hour and twenty minutes straight. He finished to thunderous applause and then opened the floor to questions from the audience. As usual, some were insightful, a few were stupid and some were people begging to know more about other characters (the last book finished on a cliff hanger).
If you’ve read the books, you should know he confirmed that he would be returning to Ayra Stark’s character and let us know what happened to her!
Martin also advised us that while the hit HBO series Game of Thrones is based on his books and he is a consultant for the show, he doesn’t have control over storyline and couldn’t tell us anything about season 3.