Saturday, November 04, 2006

Austin WFC Friday 

I slept in a bit and caught the 11 a.m. shuttle from my outlying hotel to the convention hotel, chatting with F Brett Cox along the way, then poked around the dealers room and art show for a while. The latter was larger than I'd thought at first glance yesterday; it surrounded the dealers area on two sides, not just one, and had excellent pieces, many NFS, by John Jude Palencar, Gregory Manchess, Mike Dringenberg, Chad Beatty, Gary Gianni, John Picacio, Charles Vess, and others. In the dealers room I bought a couple books (including Howard Waldrop's latest), got a few others gratis for listing on the site, and took 'sighting' notes on numerous others for listing on the site. After lunch from the Starbucks island in the lobby I attended a panel, "Fantasy Roundup: Should Reads of the Last Year", which like the similar panel at Worldcon consisted of expert readers naming their favorites of 2006 so far. Another long list, a few listed here:

Charles N. Brown: James Morrow's The Last Witchfinder; Paul Park's The Tourmaline; Tim Powers' Three Days to Never; Julie Phillips' Tiptree bio; M. Rickert's collection Map of Dreams

Ellen Datlow: Terry Dowling's collection Basic Black from Cemetery Dance; two Gene Wolfe stories; Margo Lanagan's Red Spikes;

Alan Beatts: David Keck's In the Eye of Heaven; Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch; Glen Cook's reprinted Dread Empire novels;

Susan Allison: Morrow's novel; the Tiptree award anthology; Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon and sequels; Ian MacLeod's House of Storms [a 2006 reprint of an earlier book, technically];

Jo Fletcher: Joe Hill's first novel Heart-Shaped Box, coming next year; Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora

...and other titles by Joe Abercrombie, Charles Stross, Maurice Sendak, Jeffrey Ford, Kat Richardson, Carrie Vaughn, Elizabeth Hand, China Miéville, and others.

Following the panel I chatted with an old college friend, Kenn Bates, whom I only ever see at conventions, then met HarperCollins editor Diana Gill for our semi-annual chat. (I'm grateful to HarperCollins for being by far the most frequent client for Locus Online homepage banner ads... which revenue supports the movie reviewers and other special contributors to the website.) We attended a Scotch tasting party thrown by Borderlands Books in San Francisco, whose proprietors Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman poured Macallan and Balvenie and Laphroig and a couple three I'd never heard of. I chatted with John Klima (about stocking libraries with SF) and Gavin Grant and Juliet Ulman and Ellen Klages (about her new novel).

After that I descended to the lobby to troll for a dinner date, hooking up with Ellen Datlow and a huge group of Clarion students for dinner at (as it turned out) the same nearby TexMex restaurant I'd eaten at the night before, Serrano's. At my end of the table I talked mostly with Leslie Howle, who'd seen an advance screening of The Fountain and was very enthusiastic about it, having interviewed Darren Aronofsky and offering to let me see it for the website. We'll see. The meal went long -- there were over 20 of us, with one over-worked waiter, and we didn't get food until an hour and half after we'd arrived...

Friday evenings at World Fantasy Con is the traditional mass autograph session, with virtually every writer in attendance situated along tables eager for fans to sign their books. There were sufficient nibblies and petit fours on tables outside the room so one could have noshed for the evening without actually having eaten dinner. I had two books to sign, and couldn't find either writer -- one of them, I knew, had gone off on the traditional power dinner held by agent Howard Morhaim, and didn't return until the autograph event was folding. I stood in the lobby outside chatting with Ted Chiang and later Scott Edelman and John O'Neill, about Lost and HP Lovecraft and other things. There was a Del Rey-sponsored party that I checked into briefly, before catching the shuttle back to my hotel, where I caught up on e-mail and started, though did not finish, this entry about Friday.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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