November 6th, 2006


World Fantasy 2006

Quite possibly one of the best conventions I've ever been to, despite it being colder in Texas than it was in New York City. I almost lost all my toiletries at JFK airport, having completely forgotten about the size restrictions -- helpful hint: You can keep all your stuff, no matter what size, if you check your bag instead of carrying it on -- but that nuisance aside, it was a great time all around. I'd give shout-outs to everyone I saw there, but I know I'd forget someone and it's boring for everyone else anyway, so I'll just say special thanks to leethomas and his partner John for putting me up at their swanky Austin apartment, and big yays to my near-constant convention companions Laird Barron, Chesya Burke, agamisu, mauricebroaddus, suricattus, darren_speegle, karenetaylor, and of course the whole Who Wants Cake gang. The hotel was perhaps the best laid-out of any convention hotel I've been in, with everything located around a large central atrium. The rooms seemed nice too.

I got to meet a ton of great people as well -- Hal Duncan! Stephen R. Donaldson! stephen_dedman! -- but special mention is in order for catsparx, whom I am now fully entranced by. I wish I could have taken her home with me and kept her in a spare room or something. There would never be a dull moment.

I was interviewed for an upcoming issue of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, which should be interesting. I think I'm the only horror author she interviewed, and she seemed to like my speech about the gray area that exists between all spec-fic genres and how horror is not the bastard child of fantasy so much as her twin sister (I extend this metaphor to the social commentary/satire wing of science fiction as well, and then somehow Jurassic Park got mixed in there -- you'll see if and when it runs).

Since the convention was in Austin, I just knew some Northern dingus was going to show up in a big cowboy hat, and of course it was Darrell Schweitzer. Though I have to admit his WFC outfits were a nice change from the usual Necon dashikis and safari hats. Speaking of outfits, I wore my Chizine t-shirt Saturday -- trying to represent, you know? -- and was bombarded by angry authors all lamenting how they haven't cracked the market yet. I told them if they bought me a drink I'd tell them the secret to getting accepted.

I didn't do much programming. I hit parttimedriver's and 14theditch's readings and the obligatory panel on horror, and that was it. The rest of the time I spent in the lobby bar and at the parties, which were the two places where all the action was anyway. And like all good conventions, it was over much too quickly. I left feeling physically depleted -- you don't get much sleep or sobriety at these things -- but creatively energized. When I got back, I made a list of all my upcoming projects, including a few I picked up or solidified at the convention, and was pleased to discover how excited I am about each of them.

I had too much fun in Austin and it's hard to get back into my usual routine now. Especially considering how much I want to write and how much time I have to spend managing the video store instead. In fact, the dichotomy of my life can be perfectly summed up by coming home to a delightful email praising Walk in Shadows and demanding to know when I'm going to write a novel, and then later having a small child point at me on the street and shout, "Video!"

This was my second World Fantasy, after the one in D.C. in 2003. Next year, it'll be held in upstate New York, so I'll definitely be going again. Maybe then I'll finally get to meet the sneaky scott_lynch, who I'm told was there but who constantly evaded me. And who will now most likely sneak up behind me at the next one and shout, "Video!"