Sunday, November 20, 2016

Secondsies: WFC 2016 Part Two

My second helping of World Fantasy Convention 2016 started at the very reasonable hour of eleven o'clock in the morning, plenty of time for me to have purchased a bottle of grapefruit juice at the convenience store just off the hotel atrium to go with my leftover cinnamon and raisin bagel.

First up was "Keeping YA Weird" with Fran Wilde, Ellen Klages, Rani Graff and possibly Alan Smale -- members of some panels did not quite line up with the printed program due to last minute conflicts and what-not and my notes didn't always cover the differences. My apologies. Here "The Lie Tree" by Frances Hardinge was highly recommended by Fran Wilde, who's opinion I quickly came to respect. Also recommended was "Harrison Squared" by Daryl Gregory along with better known (to me at least) works like Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" and Neil Gaiman's "Coraline". Any kind of a precise definition of the "Weird" genre continued to elude me.

Next I went to Jerome Stueart's bizarre reading of a portion of his "Lemmings in the Third Year" short story, it's about some lemmings doing a scientific study of an owl in their territory and their fatalistic-come-suicidal ethology/ethnography. He left us hanging off a cliff. But I bought his book, so once I'm done savoring the suspense, I'll finish the story.

I had lunch and then attended Fran Wilde's presentation on human self-powered winged flight. A surprising number of people killed or crippled themselves in this pursuit over the centuries, though one or two had some degree of success only to get shunned by their rulers. I'm also looking forward to reading her fantasy novel that includes this subject, "Updraft".

I listened to the Guest of Honor talk by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. He has written a lot of books. I haven't read any of them and I'm not yet in a rush to do so, though he is obviously quite popular it just doesn't seem quite my cup of noodles.

I attended an author reading by Ellen Kushner and a panel on "A Golden Age of Contemporary Asian Fantasy" wherein all the panelists were of Asian decent but none published in an Asian language or had even lived all that long in an Asian country. Panelists included Brenda Clough, Amal El Mohtar, and Mimi Mondal. I took no notes, though the discussion was interesting if not particularly memorable.

The "Mass Signing" rounded out the day. Dozens of authors set up in the ballroom and signed (and sold) their books. Larry Hodges signed "Campaign 2100" for me and we decided that we could most definitely defeat any other duo at the convention in a doubles table tennis match. (Larry is a national champion and I am a state champion in the sport, and between us we know most of the players at that level and none of them are this involved in fantasy genre books.) Later he signed "The Spirit of Pong" for me. I also chatted here a bit with David Boop about "weird" and short stories and bought an anthology, "The Weird South" from him that contains one of his stories. I'm enjoying all the stories in the book quite a lot. L.E. Modesitt signed two of his books that had been included as part of the convention package for me, "Imager" and "The Magic of Recluce".

Heavy hors d'oeuvres were served in the lobby outside the ballroom which made a lovely dinner for me, especially when topped off by a brownie from the dessert table and a cup of hot chocolate in lieu of coffee. I don't drink coffee, but the rich, warm beverage hit the spot and I trundled off to my room.

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