Sunday, March 20, 2016

My First Con: Smashing Success

It seems strange that I've never been to a fannish gathering before. I've never considered myself a con person; I actually tend to shy away from listening to the creative types behind my favorite works.  I mostly blame Hollywood and Orson Scott Card for that.

But then Mike sent me this link, and Ann Leckie was giving a keynote at some thing in Cambridge, and Jo Walton was going to be there, too, and oh yes just everyone else on my Kindle thank you very much. So I talked Lily and Christian into coming with me to listen to Ann Leckie speak.

Which was delightful.  The whole thing was delightful.  Ann Leckie was delightful--she claimed it was her first speech, which I have a hard time believing because is it possible to win a Hugo and a Nebula and a bunch of other things without giving a speech (even if you discount thank you speeches)?  Also it was a good speech, about our cultural fear of AI and how it's a fear of the Other and therefore dangerous to keep around unexamined.  I wanted very, very badly to grab her and make her talk to me extensively afterward.

Then, after Lily and Christian went home, I went Jo Walton's reading, from the next book in the Just City series, Necessity, which will be out this summer.  After that, since there was nothing else going on, the crowd (about half of whom seemed to know each other) coaxed her into reading some of her poetry.  I'd never read any of that, and it was really lovely (Prospero's monologue to his daughter came very close to making me cry), but it also (like so many other things) started me thinking about Hamilton and the how much I love the use of formal structures in language (and how much trouble I have connecting with free verse, which I suppose is why I think of myself as not caring for poetry.  Separate blog post, really).

And after that, I got into the elevator with Jo Walton, and when I mentioned that I was walking to the bookstore where she was doing a signing, she walked with me, since she didn't quite know the way from the building we were in.  And we had a lovely chat, about first cons and blog posts and domestic fantasy, and she is a great lady and I was only a little too fawning, if I do say so myself.  When we got to the bookstore I got a copy of Lifelode, which I read years ago, but isn't available as an ebook and hasn't been in print in a while.  Now I have one, and it's autographed, so there.

After lunch (Darwin's, for the record, where I haven't been in years but oh, that Mt. Auburn sandwich is still delightful; I ate only sandwiches this weekend), I went back to the con for a panel on metaphysics, where I developed a pretty intense crush on Ada Palmer, whose first novel, Too Like the Lightning, I have from Netgalley and can't wait to read now. At the point where someone can explain to me how Renaissance philosophers wrestled with Homer in their attempts to understand whether Dante was divinely inspired, I need to subscribe to their newsletter. Pamela Dean spoke on that panel, too, and Jo Walton convinced me to buy her reissued ebook The Dubious Hills (which I have); also John Chu, author of the Hugo-winning story "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere." 

At this point, as much as I was enjoying this, I had a raging headache, so I headed home.  This was my big solo weekend, when the menfolk were visiting my in-laws, so I ate another sandwich (torta from Tenoch, if you're keeping track) and started writing this post and called Lily to tell her that she left too early, and chatted online with my fanfic friends, and kept rereading The Goblin Emperor, which is such a lovely book.  And I put next year's Vericon in my calendar, because these are the conversations I want to have, just me and writers and thinkers whom I admire greatly and a handful of other fans. 

This is living.

1 comment:

N said...

Hi! I'm one of the Con-Chairs of Vericon. Thanks so much for your lovely review of our con! It means a lot to us that you had a wonderful time and took the time to write about it. And it's great that you'll be back next year! (Just so you know, Vericon will be from March 16th-18th in 2017). I don't know if you mentioned The Goblin Emperor at the end of your review because Katherine Addison will be our Guest of Honor next year or if it was just coincidence, but if you have any desire to hear her speak and possibly meet her, you'll be able to do so!