Monday, November 12, 2012

World Fantasy 2012: Day Three

I dragged myself out of bed Friday morning for two anticipated panels: Defining Urban Fantasy and YA Urban Fantasy. *Defining ______* panels are always  hit and miss. Sometimes you get a fascinating discussion about the origin of the genre, other times it's a panel of people disagreeing on what they're even there for. This year I discovered that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Defining Urban Fantasy: L-R S.M. Sterling, Tim Powers, Linda Poitevin, Ginjer Buchanan,
David B. Coe, Adria Laycraft
Tim Powers insisted that Urban Fantasy had to involve cell phones*, while editor Ginjer Buchanan pushed for a change of the name to Contemporary Fantasy because many Urban Fantasies aren't actually Urban (a point echoed by the presence of Adria Laycraft, editor of the Urban Greenman Anthology). This led David B. Coe (D.B. Jackson) to bring up the question "What is contemporary?" His Thief Taker series is set in Revolution-era America, but is arguably Urban Fantasy--it's also arguably Historical Fantasy, Alternate History and even Steampunk (though that's a stretch). He said that at Dragon Con, defining Thief Taker had been discussed so much that it was eventually decided that he'd invented Tri-Corner Punk. (David's point was echoed in Sunday's "The Road to Urban Fantasy" where Farah Mendelsohn made the point that in England, "contemporary" is defined as anything 1750 and later.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Epic AD&D

January 2012's ConFusion saw authors Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Myke Cole, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, Saladin Ahmed, Brent Weeks, Jay Lake, Jim C. Hines and Patrick Rothfuss around the D&D table playing the classic Keep on the Borderlands.

Yeah. It's like that.

Myke Cole has a particularly nostalgic and touching article about the event.

Like Myke, D&D shaped my life in ways I couldn't have imagined at the time. This year I even got to pass on my love of gaming to a new generation and I couldn't have been happier. Hats off to Myke and Saladin for sitting behind-the-screen for a table full of proven storytellers. No pressure, guys. You did a brilliant job.

More World Fantasy 2012 highlights to come...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

World Fantasy 2012: Day Two

Thursday started by recovering from Wednesday--that is, from the bar and the jetlag. I'm not sure exactly when Todd and I got out of the room but we checked into the Con, wandered the layout then decided to go for food. Though the convention is in the Sheraton, we're staying in the Best Western next door. Well, it's sort of next door. It's more like a bizarre duplex where you can't quite tell where one hotel ends and the other begins. Which is good, because it's cold and rainy and we have no desire to walk outside for any reason.
Charles Vess

In our quest for food we ran into Charles Vess, one of the only three artists I both adore and can actually name (the other two being my roommate, Todd, and Susan Seddon Boulet). Todd and Charles chatted while I reigned in my fanboy...I mean, controlled my desire to discuss my appreciation for his work, then we continued our quest. Charles mentioned that we could not only walk from the Best Western to the Sheraton without freezing, we could also walk underground to a food court in a mall next door. Unfortunately, we missed the turn and ended up outside anyway. That's when our hero, James Minz from Baen publishing, appeared in his magic (read: warm) chariot and a list of the best restaurants in the area. Our quest turned into a epic adventure to a liquor store, grocery store and excellent Thai food. Thank you, Jim.

James Minz
We got back to the con too late for the one panel I was interested in so we headed back to the room to relax. Mary hadn't arrived yet, and I was starting to get worried because she had a reading at 5, but she showed up around 4pm.

After Mary's reading, she and I headed up to the Con Suite (aka: Hospitality Suite), which is a wonderful and bizarre concept I discovered at last year's WFC. The Con Suite has food for con-goers from breakfast until 2am every day. Breakfast and lunch are standard cereals, coffee, oatmeal, cold cuts, veggies, etc. Dinner Thursday night was catered Chinese. Tonight (Friday) it's apparently Tex-Mex. Thursday night also featured local Canadian wines and beers, which is good because the hotel bar is outrageously expensive. It's one of the draws of a con like this for me--I pay for the admission, the hotel and the flight, but between the free books, food and alcohol, the admission is easily paid for.

Like with the bar, the Con Suite is a great place to meet new people. From dinner until 1am I spent time with new and established authors Wes Chu, Jessica Corra, Simon Larter, David Fortier, Garth Nix, Sarah Durst, Mary Robinette Kowal and too many others to name. Mary Kowal in particular killed us with a story about a marionette performance of Sleeping Beauty that went terrible, hilariously wrong.

To be continued...


Additional photos of WFC 2012 can be found here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

World Fantasy 2012: Day One

Last year I attended my first professional writers' conference. I had noticed author Sean Williams post that he'd bought a ticket to San Diego for World Fantasy. I'd heard of both World Fantasy and World Con, but didn't know much about them. I couldn't pass up the chance to attend a major conference in my own backyard, so I picked up a ticket in January for the con in October. Good thing I did, too, because with Neil Gaiman as guest of honor, it sold out quickly. It was--hands down--one of the best weekends of my life. It was like the names on my father's bookshelf had come to life. I not only met dozens of fascinating people--including my now dear friends John Perkins and Todd Lockwood--the theme had been Sailing the Seas of Imagination. Panels involved developing underwater cultures, monsters and conflicts, which enthralled my marine biologist to no end.