Monthly Archives: August 2012

Chicon 7 Friday

Today’s late night report on Chicon 7 Day 2, because if I don’t do it tonight I won’t get to it–

More panel browsing today. The two I heard the most of were on short fiction and on ‘filling’ the magazines. The former I attended in part to put faces to names of people I’d never met – Rachel Swirsky, Mur Lafferty, and Niall Harrison. I did meet Niall briefly, and appreciated his comments about the site and the new awards site. The latter panel was an interesting discussion focusing largely on the differences between print ‘zines and e-zines, and the highlight of that event was meeting for the first time Rich Horton, long-time Locus magazine short fiction reviewer (who along with Gardner Dozois succeeded me in that role 11 year ago), whom I had never met before.

In between I listened to some of the John Scalzi reading, ducked into a panel that Jeffery Kooistra (another name I don’t have a face for) was supposed to be moderating but at which he didn’t show, and browsed the art show and dealers’ room (again), and chatted with Kirsten Gong-Wong and Russ Elliott. Didn’t see much that I liked in the art show, but I seldom do; the exception was the computer graphic work of Carolyn Nicita, of which I bought two small pieces last year at World Fantasy Con in San Diego…

My partner Yeong arrived today and he and his son James, who lives in Chicago (he’s a trader at the Chicago Exchange), took me out for a day-late birthday dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant, Prosecco. We made it back to the hotel in time for the Random House-hosted riverboat cruise party that embarked at 8pm. They had hors d’oeuvre and an open bar. We went inland, down the south branch of the Chicago River, turned around at a raisable railroad bridge that wasn’t raised, headed back through downtown and then out onto the lake, making a big oblong loop from north to south, giving us a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline. It was a three hour tour! On the boat I chatted with Liza and Gary Wolfe – both for the first time at the con; they lead much busier schedules than mine – Kirsten and husband Aaron, Beth Gwinn, Ellen Datlow, Robert Reed, Kay Kenyon, Karen Haber, Rob Sawyer, Connie Willis, and probably others I don’t recall; other luminaries, John Joseph Adams and Joe Haldeman and Robert Silverberg and George R.R. Martin, were also onboard. It cooled off nicely after a day of humid heat, though the Blue Moon was hidden behind a gauzy film of thin clouds.

We were back by 11. I briefly checked out the top party floor in the east tower, which included both the Tor party and something called ‘Barfleet’, which apparently featured adult entertainment, but the entire floor was crowded and hot. I made one circuit through the Tor party, seeing no one I knew, and exited the floor forthwith. On the way to the elevator to my room in the other tower I paused briefly to chat with a group including Jim Kelly and John Kessel and Lawrence Person and Rick Wilber and Jacob and Rina Weisman, as they floated anthology ideas. I told them something I heard today: a nongenre publisher thought that a story wasn’t SF unless it had a dinosaur in it. (Did Ellen tell that anecdote? Now I don’t remember.) They also floated an SF version of ‘Fifty Shades of..’ If these anthologies ever appear, you heard it here first.

The view from my window on the 28th floor is of the office building next door. Curious observation: since this morning, a floor and a half of that building, two or three floors below me, has emptied out. I guess the tenants vacated.

Chicon 7 Opening

Programming began at noon today, and I browsed various panels as I roamed the hallways of the two Hyatt towers finding out where everything was… Dealers’ room opened at noon. Art show opened at 2pm, but haven’t made it there yet.

Highlight of the day was the Opening Ceremonies, in which toastmaster John Scalzi moderated the event like a talk show host, sitting at a desk and introducing each guest of honor, who would take a seat in the armchair nearest the desk, while previous guests shifted down a spot. We had Erle Korshack, co-chairman of the first Chicon (the second Worldcon) way back in 1940; then Mike Resnick, the sister (whose first name I missed – Kathy?) of absent artist guest Rowenna Morrill, Jane Frank (art agent), Peggy Rae Sapienza (fan, who’s run the Nebula Award ceremonies the past two years), and Sy Liebergot (Apollo mission controller who was on duty when Apollo 13 happened). Everyone spoke well, and the audience was entertained.

Earlier I strolled through the dealers’ room, which is decent sized, and took a couple breaks to post today’s post and glance at email. Later I had an early dinner at Houlihan’s, right on the corner by the hotel, with a small group; we then strolled down to Millennium Park, since someone wanted to see the Bean — i.e. Cloud Gate — which I’d been to, so I led the way. And in the adjacent Jay Pritzker Pavilion a jazz festival was playing; we listened to that for a while.

Parties are presumably underway this evening, and after posting this I’ll check those out.

Chicon 7 arrival

Up at 5 this morning, flight out of LAX at 8, arrived Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive right about 3pm local time and checked in.

No programming today, just folks arriving. I’ve been to Chicons twice before — in 1991 and 2000 — though in each case I stayed at a satellite hotel. This is the first time I’m staying at the main hotel, the Hyatt Regency, which is split into two towers, east and west, and which as I recall is notorious for long lines at the elevators in the evenings when fans are roaming among parties. I’m on the 28th floor of the west tower, with a view of the offices in the building next door. Intermittent wifi reception (grr), or this would have been posted much earlier.

Finished the Jesse Bering book on the plane, and started (not completely coincidentally, since he’s a guest of honor here) John Scalzi’s new novel.

I’d bought a supporting membership in late July just to vote for the Hugos (Locus’ last chance, apparently), and only a week or so later decided to actually attend. So first thing today I upgraded my supporting to a full attending membership.

Saw a couple folks in passing in the lobby, including Scott Edelman, whose quest to visit all the continents on Earth is apparently now matched by his attempt to visit as many of the top restaurants on Earth — guided by (I think it’s) the list at In Chicago, this means Alinea, and later I saw Scott gathering in the lobby with Liza and Gary Wolfe and others for their exclusive reservation there.

Not seeing anyone else I knew, and the only dinner restaurant in the hotel closed for remodeling, I strolled down the street and ate dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s. This con my partner Yeong is flying in on Friday to see his son Jimmy, who lives in Chicago and who broke his leg skydiving 7 weeks ago; so I can count on hanging out with them Friday thru Sunday evenings. The one invitation I have during this con is (via Liza) to a Random House party on a cruise ship Friday evening, and I managed to get a ‘plus two’ invite approved. So the three of us will be doing that.

I can’t remember the last time a hotel room had a decent desk chair. They are all too low, compared to the desktop. No way to raise them, except by sitting on pillows.

Daily Updates

I’ve been posting daily to Facebook, for the past week or so; only coincidentally because I saw a comment to a post from Nancy Kress about how ‘kids these days’ don’t do blogs, they do Facebook.

Here is today’s Facebook post. If anyone reading this has any opinions about checking my blog vs reading my Facebook account, by all means let me know….

Today after lunch at my day job I spent six hours debugging update-diagram errors on the TESTCL TVAN module [which a senior designer had redlined and it was my job to integrate], 10 minutes fixing model-advisor warnings, and then sending the final diagram (via email rather than SVN, an shortcut allowed to accommodate today’s deadline) to the senior design staff in East Hartford for the latest BA build. Get it done before you go home, were the instructions; I worked about two hours over, a 10 hour day. Sounds like fun, huh? It is stressful, actually, since the way the tools work you never know how many bugs there are until you find and fix the last one… and that kept going on, hour after hour… But there is a certain satisfaction in finally, after all those hours, getting a clean report.

(I was a ‘senior’ designer way back in my SSME days, but on this project, after only a year, I’m still far from that.)

And now this evening, finishing up weekly bestsellers for the site.