The maze of the Town & Country Resort became rather charming after two or three days; lots of byways to explore, lots of private places to hang out; lots of gathering places to check out.
On Friday morning I attended the Locus Foundation Board Meeting, which discussed many urgent and/or timely topics, though none of which concerned me or the website directly, at least not right away.
The spread of the resort had its downside; the feeling of a certain lack of focus, some attendees complaining how hard it was to track down folk who they knew were there (just like a Worldcon!)
I attended quite a few panels: on evil characters; on The Odyssey; on the sea — the con’s theme was “Sailing the Seas of Imagination” — this panel’s premise being, is the sea to fantasy as space is to SF? With many fascinating pro and con perspectives from David Brin, Michael Cassutt, David D. Levine, Rachel Swirsky, and Courtney Schafer. The most attended was probably the Connie and Neil show, with Connie Willis and Neil Gaiman chatting before an audience of 500 and asking each other the questions that usually they do not tolerate being asked from fans — beginning with, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’.
Saturday: A Founders of Steampunk panel, with KW Jeter, Jim Blaylock, and Tim Powers, revealing their secrets, such as a comprehensive nonfiction guide to London by one Henry Mayhew that provided them all with grist for stories and novels, and the fact that, indirectly, Roger Elwood’s request for 10 novels about King Arthur throughout the ages triggered some of the earliest steampunk novels — of which, Jeter’s INFERNAL DEVICES and Blaylock’s HOMUNCULUS are still considered the two core texts.
Also: the requisite “Year in Fantasy” panel, with Jonathan Strahan, Ellen Datlow, Paula Guran, David G. Hartwell, and Jo Fletcher. THE HEROES; AMONG OTHERS; AKITA WITCH; THE SILENT LAND; [they were mixing late 2010 with early 2011 titles]; Tananarive Due, LIsa Goldstein, LOW TOWN; Steven Erikson; of course SNUFF and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS; collections by Beagle and Ryman and Powers and Kiernan and Lanagan and McHugh and Dozois; and they kept reading titles until the hour ended and the next panel’s participants pushed them out.
At the art show I bid — something I rarely do — on three works by a graphic artist named Carolyn Nicita and won two of them — the best piece having been outbid me by a member of the art show committee who’d been there to top mine as the bidding closed Saturday evening, while I was away at dinner…
The awards banquet today featured mediocre food but a relatively sparkling awards event, even though only one of the winners, and one of the lifetime achievement winners, was in attendance. Connie Willis was toastmaster, and spoke on the theme of asking con official David G. Hartwell what she should speak about and for how long — exploring various suggestions, continually returning to her fascination with the UK TV series Primeval and avoiding award show fails (like the very recent National Book Awards clusterfuck — her term), high seas Titanic anecdotes, and guest of honor revelations.. It went on far longer than her stated time-limit of 5-7 minutes, but of course no one minded; it was hilarious. I sat at a table with Scott Edelman, who recorded the whole thing and should be providing a link to a YouTube video shortly.
The weather was spectacular, sunny and in the low 80s F, with several comments about the poor folks back east or in Denver who were suffering snow.
The drive home was slower than the drive down on Thursday…