Monday, November 9, 2009

Convention Fever

I have plans to do some more writerly posts to follow up on some of the things that everyone else is talking about, but first I want to mention the two conventions that I've been to in the past two weeks.

First was the World Fantasy Convention, that was held over Halloween weekend (much to my girls' chagrin). I'd gone once before, about ten years ago, but that was a long time ago, and so much has changed since then that I'm discounting it and calling this my first World Fantasy. Chris Roberson had been building it up to me so much that I was expecting a combination of Valhalla and Disneyland. It wasn't quite that, since I spent a lot of time meeting new people, which can be very tiring for me, but it was a lot of fun. I got to spend time with Rani Graff, an editor from Israel, who is a fine fellow and always interesting to talk to. Also very much enjoyed spending time with Jess Nevins, who is way too knowledgeable about all of the things I wish I was knowledgeable about. Australian writer Liz Argall is always a lot of fun to talk to, though her obsession with the unique uses of gourds in Papua New Guinea is questionable. Jen Heddle, who's the editor of the upcoming anthology With Great Power..., featuring a number of Clockork types, was an absolute joy to talk to, as was Electric Velocipede editor John Klima.

And in his role as social hub and drinking companion, Roberson certainly excelled. He knows everyone there and they all know him, and so I could typically start a conversation with any stranger just by saying, "I'm a friend of Chris's," and their eyes would light up in recognition. His wife and partner Allison Baker was enormously encouraging and really seems to know her way around this thing.

All of these interactions were lovely, though I have to say the high point for me was when I got lost in downtown San Jose on Halloween night, wandering amongst huge crowds of people in costume, and found myself in a nearly deserted hookah bar discussin philosophy with a guy who (I'm pretty sure) was smoking something a little stronger than tobacco). All in all a wonderful (if tiring) occasion.

Next, the West Texas Comic-Con. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this one, since it's the first one they've done, and since it was in a small Texas city that I've never visited before, but I have to say that it was perhaps the best small regional con I've ever been to. Robert Mora from Star Comics spearheaded the thing, and he did a fantastic job. The guests were treated great, the fans came and stayed awhile and participated, and everything went off without a hitch. I probably signed more books in those eight hours than I have at any other convention--including some San Diego shows. Special thanks to Todd, Lance, and Ty for being such fine hosts, and to the guy who let me pose with the Cosmic Rod he handmade for his Jack Knight Starman costume. I'll definitely be back if they'll have me.

A great two weeks, but now it's really time I got back to work.


  1. I enjoyed the company of the folks you mentioned in the San Jose affair. And those that participated in an evening of mead, and others besides. A fine fest, all in all.

  2. Please come back to Lubbock :D I will have things for you to sign and might have a Cosmic Rod 2.0 muahaha!

  3. Had a great time at the West Texas show with you, Matt! Maybe we can get some Clockwork types to join us next time. They do have bars in Lubbock, Chris...

  4. Quite a delight indeed. I feel so lucky to have found such fine company to share my gourd love with.

    You've reminded me that some of my favorite musicians occasionally get together to form Totally Gourdgeous and play instruments made out of gourds (I find the violin particularly amazing). If you feel brave enough to experience Australian Gourds that are really best seen live you can here (with this one they actually start singing around 1.20)

  5. Thanks a lot for coming up this way. We'll make sure and let you know when we do it again.
    And don't forget to send me that book!