Monday, July 12, 2010

ReaderCON - Wrap up and Day Three

I write this monday after the taxis have been paid, the luggage has been collected and most all have jetted or driven back the their respective Bat-caves.

I might just be a little depressed about that. More commentary after the Day Three synopsis.

Day Three

I have been to many conferences in my life and career as a technology executive and consultant. ReaderCON was my first real exposure to the professional writing community at large. Especially writers, editors, agents etc. in the genres I'm most interested in.

By Sunday I was physically and emotionally drain like I'd never been before at the myriad of technical conferences I've attended.

So, coffee in had I dragged myself through the lobby of the Burlington Marriott and made a beeline to my first panel I wanted a front seat and to sip my coffee in peace for a few moments. I checked the Twitter updates and commentary from the night before (Some really funny stuff from the 24th Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose competition which Yves Meynard won) and prepared myself for what I thought was going to be a very sad panel.

Absent Friends - Wolfe, Van Gelder, Schweitzer, Morrow (Kathy), and Clute. Lead by David G. Hartwell.

John Clute had prepared a list of ReaderCON favorites, attendees and people in the business who had passed on in the last year. What I expected was a somber view of lives and accomplishments. I really should have known better. Late children's author (and child abuser) William Mayne was discussed as was his fractured legacy. Artist Frank Frazetta, Editor Knox Burger, ReaderCON favorite and publisher Charles Brown and many, many more. The panel shared memories and personal stories. There was as much laughing as there were tears.

The Writing of Olaf Stapledon - Keller, Kessel, Sleight, and Swanger. Moderated by Walter H Hunt.

Olaf Stapleton was this years 'Memorial Guest of Honor.' Although having passed away in 1950, he's won awards as recent as nine years ago (The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award). Along with his non-fiction philosophical works (A Modern Theory of Ethics is one) he is probably one of only two SF writers who influenced the field for his time (The other being H. G. Wells). Many of his works were discussed as was his influence. And I have to say I was glad Odd John was brought up as it is a fantastic super-man type story.

Kaffeeklatsche with James Morrow

Me & Jim

By now you've probably guessed that I'm a HUGE Jim Morrow fan. I've been reading his work since 1985 (starting with Is This the Way the World Ends published that year). And a dear friend of mine (Sean Develin) introduced us at Sean's wedding years ago. I met Jim and his wife Kathy while wearing a kilt. What could be more awesome then that?

I chatted with both Jim and Kathy through out the conference, trying not to take up too much of there time. After all--they were working.

We discussed my book and his upcoming project, which he expanded on during the kaffeeklatche. A few of us gathered to chat about the new project, and we ended up discussing Teleological points, Darwin (and Wilson), and why a perfectly good victorian ghost story now had to include 'steampunk' elements in it at the request of the editor.

Jim's brilliant and engaging...and we all had a great discussion that spilled into the hallway when the allotted time was up.

I spent the rest of the shortened day saying goodbye to new friends and listening to readings (Blake Charlton, Mary Robinette Kowel, and Charles Stross).

The Wrap Up

This is the part were I tell you what I learned and provide other tid-bits of info not quite in the main program. Never fear, fellow ReaderCONians, I will not divulge the 'Not So Secret' Secret Parties nor shall I venture to guess which marriages broke up this year!

However I will talk about a few things not included in this and the previous two postings. First off, one of the guests of honor for ReaderCON 21 was Nalo Hopkinson. Never a more witty, charming and all-around brilliant person have I meet. I attended a few of her panels, and spoke with her--albeit briefly as her time was at a premium. I've read, to great enjoyment, Skin Folk and So Long Been Dreaming. I've especially been studying her work as I've been developing a Jamaican character for later in my series and her books and short stories are a wealth of information for that culture. She also studied the works of Jim Morrow, so a total win in my book!!

I met a lot of people in the writing business. There wasn't a single person who didn't want to chat or (if they were running to a panel) wouldn't make time to meet me later for coffee. I could make an entire blog entry just listing names of everyone I met, spoke with, laughed with etc. But let me send out a general 'Thank you' to all of them, and I'm sure e-mails will fly about in the near future.

And last, and most important for my goal of becoming a published author, I LEARNED. So I'll be taking many techniques and thoughts back the The Prodigal's Foole and see if I can make it even better.

Bring on ReaderCON 22!


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