Friday at the Con got off to a bad start when Chase Masterson (Leeta, Deep Space Nine) missed her â€œMy Life as a Dabo Girlâ€ panel. Crestfallen Trekkers abandoned their faux-starships (see attached photo) and later were seen teetering on hotel window ledges. (Not to worry, I eventually stepped back off the ledge when Ms. Masterson arrived later in the day.)
I had a true â€œfanboyâ€ moment when I spotted acclaimed science fiction author Larry Niven in the hallway of the Hilton. Although I didnâ€™t know what Mr. Niven looked like, when I read his name on his badge, without even thinking, I stopped him and shook his hand. (If Iâ€™d had a second to think about it, I wouldâ€™ve been too intimidated to approach him.) I managed to stutter a few semi-coherent sentences about how much I enjoyed his sci-fi masterpieces, including Ringworld, The Mote in Godâ€™s Eye and Luciferâ€™s Hammer. His face turned a deep red and he nodded. As I started to walk away, he said, â€œThank you,â€ and shook my hand again. This was the highlight of the Con for me.
(From Left to Right: Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, and moderator David Silver) Later in the day, Mr. Niven and co-writer Jerry Pournelle engaged in a truly fascinating panel discussion in which they revealed how the legendary Robert Heinlein critiqued their manuscript of The Mote in Godâ€™s Eye and how his comments had vastly improved the classic novel. (Heinlein had sworn them to secrecy until his death.) Although not available to the public, they had with them copies of Heinleinâ€™s lengthy letters in which he urged them to cut the first 100 pages(!) of the novel and to change the title, which was then Motelight. (Heinlein warned that readers would mistakenly read it as Motel Light.) Niven and Pournelle followed his adviceâ€”resulting in a sci-fi masterpiece.
â€œThe Liarâ€™s Panel Clubâ€ in which the panelists answered typical Con questionsâ€”with wild, often hysterical, falsehoodsâ€”proved really entertaining. In this photo, mendacious Mark Bourne, deceptive Jay Lake and dishonest L. Pierce Duke tell brazen, bald-faced lies. For shame! (You mean, the next time the submissions editor visits the toilet I shouldnâ€™t slip my manuscript under the bathroom stall?)
The Northwest Passages Anthology Launch Party on Friday night turned out to be a blast. Authors mingled with editors and vagabond Con-folk, who wandered into the room for the door prizes. I signed my first autographs and had a chance to socialize with fellow contributors and super-nice anthology editor, Cris DiMarco. A good time was had by all.
My second big disappointment of the Con (after the Chase Masterson debacle) was when I learned that the adults-only Fantasy Fetish Fashion Show was open only to costumed participants. Dang! Unfortunately, Iâ€™d left my leather thong and manacles at home.
Well, the Con is over and I have the inevitable post-Con blues. No more cheesy horror flicks playing down the hall from my room (especially the hysterical Night of the Chupacabra, which seemed to run non-stop); no more interaction with like-minded writers and sci-fi fans. Back to the regular pressures and responsibilities of the real world. Yep, itâ€™s depressing. (Hmm, wonder if anyone from the AlteredFluid writing group is interested in catching a bad horror movieâ€¦?)