Thursday, July 12, 2007

ReaderCon Report

Okay, Catch-Up Post #1: Ode to the Domestic Shorthair Cat.

Just kidding.

Readercon, the Good: met cool people. David Edelman, author of Infoquake , and shared commiseratory we-didn't-win-the-Campbell beers. Jenny Rappaport, agent to a friend of mine who started out merely as a talented wannabe in search of advice — and whom I should have destroyed when I had the chance, because this Rappaport woman has now turned him into a serious rival with a lucrative three-book deal under his belt. (Dave Williams. Remember that name.) Ted Chiang, whom I only managed to talk to briefly at checkout, my copy of Stories of Your Life and Others locked away in a car whose keys were in the possession of someone who was avoiding me. (I was probably too effusive for coolness even so. In fact, I know I was. Stupid fucking Inner Fanboy.) George Mann, of Solaris (whom I also didn't get as much time with as I would have liked.) Laura-Ann Gellman.

Reignited old friendships, even though the Heinlein Ceremony bled off many of the usual suspects: Ursabelle (that's Ms . Elizabeth Bear to you, Mister), The Montreal Mafia (oh, all right: Glenn Grant, Yves Meynard, Christian Sauve, maybe Jean-Louis Trudel if my brain isn't fudging with memories of the previous year), Judy Klein-Dial (think a shorter Joni Mitchell, in a bookstore). David Hartwell's wife. (Actually, that doesn't sound quite right; would have been David Hartwell too, except there was a miscommunication over dinner plans so I only got to see him for a few minutes outside the bar. Kathryn spent time planted in the bar, which was much more conducive to quality time.) To name but a few.

Got interviewed by Locus for a couple of hours. Spent far too much on seafood in Boston. Gave a talk which, while it went over time, also went over well. Signed many books (I'm told the dealer's room sold out of Blindsight , but without knowing how many they'd stocked I don't know how good to feel about that). Had some really nice chats with some really nice fans, about everything from Jethro Tull to "Hard-Character sf" (whatever that is, although I'm told I'm a prime exemplar). Met some of the regulars here in fact, and none of 'em — not a one — bought me a beer. And I was proud of them, one and all, because haven't I told you time and again how maladaptive altruism is?

I met Charles aka Chang, who is I swear to God even taller than me. I met AsYouKnowBob, and we strangled each other on film. I would have met this Tim character, and he would perhaps have bought me a beer, but I got hustled away. To name but a few.

Readercon, the Bad: The fucking Marriot, and the naked avarice they display in charging $10US per day, per laptop , for internet access that every Motel-6 on the planet gives away for free. (I did, however, find an unsecured network with leaky access over at one corner of the building, and I announced it to all and sundry at an early panel so that as many as possible might cadge free bandwidth and deny those bastards their pound of flesh.) Marriot Security shutting down a room party consisting of twenty people eating carrot cake and quietly conversing — I mean, there wasn't even any music — because of "noise complaints". Panel topics not quite as edgy this year as they've been others (and while we're at it, Readercon's wussiness in not pushing the whole wireless issue with the Marriot— I mean, at the very least they could have set up a temporary wireless network outside the salons for the duration, even if they didn't want to tell the Marriot to take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut and move to some other more reasonable venue). And sadly, I didn't get a chance to meet as many folks as I would have liked to, and who were evidently there. Wasn't able to stay an extra night, which would have mitigated that somewhat.

Readercon, the Ambiguous: "Cuddlier"? "Canadianer"? "Reach of an orangutan"? "Swearier"? "Energy of a mongoose"? Do these terms really apply to me? I don't even think they're all even real words .

And how do you sign someone's uvula anyway?

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Anonymous Matt Jarpe said...

Peter, if I'd run into you earlier at the con I might have come up with a more substantial impression than how you might easily trounce me in a fight. Then again, if we'd downed a couple of pitchers at the bar and gotten into a heated argument about evading lysosomal degradation maybe I wouldn't have had to speculate.

I had the same fan-boy moment you did when I met Ted Chiang. He brings it out with his soft spoken humble demeanor.

July 12, 2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger Adam Lipkin said...

FWIW, they ended up only charging us for one laptop per night, although the coverage and stability was crap.

That said, they put us on the party block when we'd specifically requested otherwise, which did not make us happy.

July 12, 2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger AR said...

And how do you sign someone's uvula anyway?


July 13, 2007 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I said it once and I'll say it again. Cuddlier, Swearier and Canadianer than I ever thought possible.

Truth be told I thought you would be some sputtering, raving lunatic who'd have taken a spork to the Hawaiian shirt bedecked throat of David Hartwell but I was wrong. It was a pleasure meeting you. I look forward to getting you drunk some time so I can see how you fight.


July 13, 2007 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Christian Sauve said...

maybe Jean-Louis Trudel if my brain isn't fudging with memories of the previous year

Certainly Jean-Louis Trudel, as he currently lives in Montreal... at least half the time. (I, on the other hand, am merely part of the Driving-Through-Montreal Mafia. It's an "associate member" kind of thing.)

July 13, 2007 9:43 PM  
Blogger cow_2001 said...

re:uvula: You open her up and scorch-sign it with a laser beam. I remember reading about someone who sued her surgeon because he signed on one of her inner reproductive organs. How did she found out? She watched the surgery's tape.

July 14, 2007 12:19 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Anonymous (aka Chuck "Chang" Terhune) confessed...

Truth be told I thought you would be some sputtering, raving lunatic who'd have taken a spork to the Hawaiian shirt bedecked throat of David Hartwell but I was wrong.

You know, I keep running into this. My ongoing discussions with agents have uncovered at least a couple who really like my work, but are wary of my rep for dissing my publisher. It doesn't seem to matter that every public grumble comes at the end of weeks, sometimes months of calm, reasoned, and ultimately fruitless negotiation. It doesn't matter that Tor readily admits they dropped the ball in such cases, even if they just don't feel like picking it up again. It doesn't even matter that I can't possibly take any of this personally, because Tor is so widely known for ball-dropping in the community at large — or that I have not, in fact, made public mention of any number of issues that continue to rankle.

All that matters, evidently, is that you're never supposed to talk about it in public, even when you've exhausted all other options. So I seem to have developed this rep.

I hope, tall and intimidating Anonymous, that you will spread the word: I am not a slavering diva with a chip on my shoulder and a collar hot enough to fry eggs. I am a reasonable and professional dude who only asks that people be treated fairly, and that corpii and corporations alike take responsibility for their actions.

So you see, I'm not so much "difficult" as "childishly naive". Why, I even dare to hope that this very comment won't be taken down in evidence as another outburst from Angry Man...

July 14, 2007 12:39 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

"I am not a slavering diva with a chip on my shoulder and a collar hot enough to fry eggs."

What you need to do is to have your lackeys do the thuggery while you remain aloof and untouched.

July 14, 2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

" I would have met this Tim character, and he would perhaps have bought me a beer, but I got hustled away."

If it was me you were referring to I was, alas, unable to get time off of work to head up to Boston (though I did try). However, I would have bought you a beer. Even if it is evolutionarily maladaptive. If it wasn't me you were referring to then...I'm dumb. :D

July 15, 2007 9:07 PM  
Blogger David Louis Edelman said...

It was damn good to meet you too, Peter. And don't give me this "commiserated about not winning the Campbell" crap, when you at least placed third. :-)

I too plunked down the $10 for WiFi. I did my best to hang out in the lobby and broadcast streaming hardcore porn at high volumes in front of all the innocent non-con-going guests.

July 16, 2007 12:19 AM  
Blogger Jenny Rappaport said...

Oooh, I like being known as "this Rappaport woman". =)

July 17, 2007 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I neglected to say was that you were not any of those things. And I really appreciate the effort you puyt into your wokr to get it out the way you think it should be, i.e. your vision. It gives me hope for whenever I should be so lucky as to get published, I will remember to put up my dukes for my story like you do.

I salute you. Truly!

- Chang

July 18, 2007 3:05 PM  
Anonymous <a href="">Phentermine</a> said...

Thanks for interesting article.

August 18, 2007 6:00 AM  

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