Sunday, March 18, 2007

ICFA 2007, Saturday 

Last post was a bit rushed at the end; I should have added that Geoff Ryman is an unusually expressive reader, conveying a wide range of emotions, accents, and ages. It was as much a performance as a reading.

Saturday morning I did a last round of the book rooms, making bids on a couple items in the silent auction, before wandering down to the pool for the annual Locus photo around the pool, an event that ended with several prominent attendees *in* the pool, fully dressed. Photos no doubt to appear in Locus, if they haven't already been blogged somewhere.

Lunch wasn't the sit-down buffet as usual, but a prixe-fix boxed lunch available outside a small ballroom, where Donald Morse explained the reason for the conference's move next year from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando. The line for lunch competed for space with a long line of people for an entirely separate event--an appearance by John Edwards. The psychic, not the Presidential candidate, it turned out...

Saturday the weather was perfect (after Friday's thunderstorms), sunny and mild, though warm enough in the sun that I finally changed into shorts to sit out by the pool a while. I checked out most of a panel on Melissa Scott, a writer I admit to never having read but should, then took a break to meet my partner, who was flying in my LA after returning from a business trip to Brussels earlier in the week.

More hanging out by the pool, then, and eventually we changed for the banquet and reception, the concluding event of the conference, where we sat at a table in a far corner with Russell Letson, Eleanor Arnason, and Edward James. The event began with Donald Morse's traditional reading of the menu, and a special "IAFA Fantastic Chef Award" to 'Chef Mike', who's been in charge of the restaurant at the hotel for the past 11 years. After dinner the program included a tribute to Brian Aldiss, who's been 'permanent guest of honor' for the past 20-some years, but for whom this conference will be his last. The awards presentations dragged somewhat, but were good-spirited and well-received -- those results already posted on Locus Online's homepage.

And then a dessert buffet, and more conviviality.

Today we are off for a couple days in Key West, before returning home to LA on Tuesday.
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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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