I got back from Readercon last night still high from the experience. It really is a great convention, filled as it is with interesting, knowledgeable people participating in extensive, in-depth, and widely diverse programming. But the people are what make or break any convention, and it was wonderful catching up with friends I don’t see very often and hanging out with the ChiZine Publications gang. I wish I saw these folks more than once or twice a year.
The “At School with Peter Straub” panel went magnificently. As leader, I printed up a quick bibliography cheat-sheet of Straub’s novels, collections, and poetry books for the panelists to refer to, either to get their juices flowing about which of Straub’s works influenced them most, or as a safety feature for anyone who, like me, tends to blank on titles right in the middle of sentences. I also came up with a list of questions to fill the hour, but it turned out I didn’t need most of them. The conversation flowed freely and neatly. Peter and Susan Straub actually showed up and sat right in the front row. He just beamed at us the whole time. I was delighted that he was so delighted, and in the end it just may have been the best panel experience I’ve ever had. (I also kept as a souvenir the table tent that read, “Nicholas Kaufmann, Leader,” because come on.)
The “What Writers Want” panel was a lot of fun, too. We all seemed to agree that ultimately what writers want is to be remembered and appreciated long after we’re gone. I made John Crowley laugh, too, so that’s good enough for me.
The ChiZine Publications group reading was well attended, and managed to fit snugly within its hour, despite there being eight readers. I was psyched to learn that Michael Marano has joined the ChiZine Publications family. More on that as news develops, but I’m very, very happy about it. Dawn Song was a remarkable novel.
My own solo reading went pretty well, too. It was during the dinner hour on Saturday, so I didn’t expect many people. About ten showed up. I didn’t personally know five of them, so I take that as a win. (Of course, I think two of them just wanted an air-conditioned room to relax and knit in, but still.) People seemed to like the chapter of Not Dead Yet I read from. It gives me hope that the publishers who are currently sitting on it will, too. When they eventually come back to work after Labor Day, I mean.
In other news, I rediscovered how much I like Dewar’s on the rocks; I took a picture with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Scott Edelman so he could feel like he was there (I’ll post it soon); I enjoyed meeting several people I only knew previously through Twitter, LiveJournal, and Google+; I signed copies of Chasing the Dragon for a few people (and an old copy of Walk In Shadows for one fellow!); we got to eat at Legal Sea Foods in the Burlington Mall on Saturday; and Alexa completed her collection of pressed pennies from the Burlington Mall Rainforest Cafe!