Friday (yes, it was a long day)
Melissa Auf der Maur joked, during her “Out of Our Minds” multimedia/rock show about being an opening act for Neil Gaiman’s presentation of Coraline, the movie. It was scheduled in the same room as OOOM, in the follow-on time slot. She was joking, but it was also clear that she, a genuine rock star, was being deferential to the literary genre rock star. Made her real.
Neil gave an informative and entertaining introduction to Coraline. He answered a handful of questions, with much more information than was queried for. Good stuff, although he did manage to, toward the end of a very long answer to a short question from a cute young girl, oh, probably 8 years old and I’m guessing she stopped paying attention to the answer by then, drop an F-bomb. Oh, yes, I do – couldn’t at first – remember the question: “Where’d you get the idea for Coraline?” And he told about Holly, his daughter, making up stories and him looking at the shops for Gothic horror for 5 year olds and having to write it himself. But he can’t remember about the buttons for eyes and would need a time/space machine for that and, long story not so long, spilled the beans to his earlier self to jot a note about the buttons idea, but “F----“, now it’s tainted.
They had technical difficulties with the blue-ray player and since I’d seen what I came for (Neil live), I exited.
9:00 AM “Stroll with the Stars” or “Promenade avec les étoiles”
A group met outside the convention center each morning to take a walk around part of Montreal , I only went to this on Saturday, in large part because Cory Doctorow was scheduled to walk. We met at the fountain at Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle on the west end of the center. A star of the table tennis world also happened to be at the walk, Larry Hodges. Larry is also a science fiction author; he’s had several short stories published and is nearing completion on his first novel. I mostly chatted with him on the walk. The weather was very pleasant and we mostly strolled through Montreal ’s Chinatown district. At the end I talked a bit with Cory and took his picture with Larry, and Larry took a picture of me and Cory and I took a picture of someone else and Cory and Larry did one of his party tricks with a ping pong ball, levitating the ball in a stream of his breath, although it was difficult in the outdoor breeze. I gave Cory and Larry each an NATTC club pin. Cory ended up wearing his all day. Cory gave Larry his “Strolling with the Stars” pin. I may send a photo in to the national table tennis magazine (for which Larry used to be the editor). I then walked with Cory to his next session: autograph signing.
10:00 AM Cory Doctorow Signing
(Alright Mr. Ben McT., Cory told me he’s not much into playing sports, but he might like to try his hands at house fly catching, so perhaps if there is such a league, and it seems like a sci-fi kind of thing, then he may have been signing with the premier fly catching league’s Jupiter United squad, I don’t know. Actually, it was autographing again). I walked into the signing area with him and got on the back of the short line that had already formed there, awaiting his appearance. He wore the NATTC pin while signing (he had a moderate line the whole hour, I checked back, and snapped a picture). I think he appreciated being asked to sign a printout of the first pages of Makers, his new novel currently being serialized pre-publication on tor.com. He also signed Little Brother for me.
Aside: “In what world is that considered dry?” I asked myself after washing my hands and being obliged to use the air dryer – no paper towels available. Even the “Blast” dryer with its high velocity air force (and 80 dB sound) after 20 seconds was still visibly, tactilely, if-not-quite-drippingly, wet. The “what world” part struck me as apropos, here at a sci-fi convention. Perhaps I’m easily amused at the moment.