WorldCon Montreal

My first Worldcon was a resounding success.  Due to a stroke of luck or misfortune, depending on your point of view, our hotel room was also on the same floor as the consuite and several of the parties, and within stumbling distance of the elevators.  This being at a con with some 5000 individuals spread across several hotels.  This meant that we were always paces away from coffee, cake, beer, chips, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and conversation.  That helped, as I sometimes went far too long without eating.

I have a thousand and one stories.  Like how I saw ten people enter a bathroom with Neil Gaiman and close the door.  Or how I saw several of my friends walk up on stage to accept Hugos.  Or how we drove home in a monsoon that threatened to sweep the car away.  But right now, still suffering from sleep withdrawal, it is all blending into a pleasurable ball of memory that I will slowly, over the next few days, try to digest.

I got to meet several wonderful people for the first time.  Like Keffy R.M. Kehrli, who made his second sale while at Worldcon (his first was in Sybil’s Garage) and will be appearing alongside a story of mine in next month’s Apex Magazine.  And the super-friendly Kevin J. Maroney, who was nominated alongside my friend Kris Dikeman for a Hugo for his work on NYRSF.  Kevin ushered myself and Mercurio D. Rivera to the Hugo Losers party, where I got to speak with Kij Johnson (of the famed “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss”) and John Kessel (“Pride and Prometheus”).  It was really exciting to be surrounded by such talent and, for the most part, not a drop of ego from anyone.  With few exceptions, even the all-stars were approachable.  One of the nice thing about conventions is getting to meet the people behind the work you have admired for so long.  I had spent many a winter-break down at my grandfather’s condo in Florida reading through Larry Niven novels.  Then, in a hotel party this past weekend, I shook his hand.  There are few words to really describe that feeling.

Also, some highlights: Jetse de Vries “Optimism” t-shirt (it’s a type of whiskey) and his explanation to us how he was “overly optimistic” about finishing his ham hock at dinner, and therefore had to take home a giant doggy bag.  How when Paul Berger’s alarm went off which sounded like a door bell, Mercurio, half-asleep, opened the door to our room and looked outside, before placing a do-not-disturb sign on the hinge.  And Non-Sequitur man, a strange person who ran around the con interjecting one word or sentence into people’s conversations and then running off again.

Plus, I got to see a little of Montreal too.  China town (or Region Chinois) and Le Olde City.  Walking around, Tom Crosshill opined that the reason waiters were so slow to serve us was perhaps, with our con badges, we were Le Geeks.

At some point when I wake up later today, I will post photos.

New Review of “Saving Diego”

Tangent Online posted a review of Interzone #221, which contains my short story “Saving Diego.”  They say:

“Told with cyberpunkish verve, ‘Saving Diego’ takes full advantage of its intergalactic setting to interlay themes of the vast and the unknowable alongside human-scaled concerns of addiction, friendship, and betrayal.”

They also have positive things to say about Paul Berger’s and Alaya Dawn Johnson’s stories, also in the issue.

You can see the entire review here.

Photos from Readercon

From Readercon 20 (2009)

Right now I’m still severely depleted from Readercon, so an in-depth review of my time there will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, here are some photos from the con.  It really was a wonderful time, and I think perhaps my favorite Readercon to date.  It was so great to see everyone and just be surrounded by such creativity.  I know I will be inspired for a long time to come.

The photos.

Circadian Wolves

I had set three alarms.  Two on my clock radio which I’ve had since college, and one on my iPhone.  Of course, I was up at before all of them.  It was 2:45 am, and I was on my way to Jim Freund’s radio show, “Hour of the Wolf.”  Still Friday night/early Saturday morning, the noise from the evening (I happen to live close to several bars) had just faded only an hour or two before.  I showered and swallowed a cup of coffee when normally I’d be delta-deep in REM sleep.

As soon as I stepped downstairs the car service I had reserved pulled up, and next thing I knew I was off, speeding out of Greenpoint towards the BQE.  I told the cabbie to listen to WBAI, 99.5 FM and he immediately tuned in to a reggae/talk politic show.  “Do you like science fiction and fantasy?” I asked.  “No, not really,” he said.  But he seemed more than happy to tune into the station and listen, I suppose because most of the folks he picked up at this quiet hour were either drunk or business folk worried about catching their flight.  How many had asked him what he liked?  Or perhaps he just wanted a good tip.

The caffeine kicked in as we sped along the BQE.  I felt high, superb.  It had been a long time since I was up this early, long before my circadian rhythm would have me, and as we sped over the Brooklyn Bridge, I glanced over at Manhattan, half-asleep, city lights dimmed for the night.  It felt magical, surreal, wonderful.

When I pulled up to the WBAI station, out pops Jim Freund from his car service.  With bagels.

We went upstairs and noshed and chatted and soon the rest of Altered Fluid showed up.  This time it was Rajan Khanna’s time to read on the air.  We shuffled into the studio, introduced ourselves to the listeners, and then Raj began “School Bus,” a story of a bus driver whose mother is dying from cancer and enrolls in an experimental drug program to get money to support her treatments.  But the drug, it seems, has unintended side-effects.  It was interesting, I recall as I write this, that in the car on the way to the studio, the talk-show host was talking about how prescription drugs often have side-effects which cause the same symptoms they are trying to cure.  Sometimes the universe just synchronizes that way.

Rajan has an excellent radio voice and did a superb job with his story.  (He’s recorded podcasts for Jeffrey Ford, among others.)  Then it was time for our critiques.  Eugene Myers, who was traveling, could not attend.  But thanks to the magic of Google Voice, Jim was able to play Eugene’s critique live on the air while we read a mostly accurate speech-to-text conversion of his voice.  Had we not prompted him, the casual listener might have thought he was present.

Overall, the morning went extremely well.  We even got to take several calls.  (Though, sadly, no trolls.)  Before we knew it, it was 7am, the show had ended, and the sun had risen over New York, and the East River, dark before, was now flooded with light.  All too fast, I thought.  All too fast.  Not to worry, though, I told myself.  We’d be back before long to do it again.  It’s become a regular thing.

For those interested, you can listen to a recording of the show here.  And you can see some of my photos from the show here.