Just returned from the World Fantasy Convention in Madison, WI, that Graham Joyce-styled mobile Brigadoon of like-minded friends meeting once a year to pick up where they left off. Highlights were meeting Pyr authors Charles Coleman Finlay and Michael Blumlein in the flesh, as well as artist Caniglia (who provided the excellent cover illustration for Michael's book). Also good to see copy editor extraordinaire Deanna Hoak, Jonathan Strahan, Toby Buckell, Greg Manchess, Irene Gallo, and a host of others. Most gratifying: seeing John Picacio win the award for Best Artist. Most surprising: finding out that Jay Caselberg is good with kids. Who knew? Pictured right is my son Arthur, who made his convention debut this weekend, seen enjoying himself in the company of authors Jess Nevins and Hal Duncan.
Ironic framing: the night before the convention, hanging out in Jonathan Strahan and Garth Nix's suite (thanks guys), discussing definitions of SF with Borderland's Alan Beatts, who floated the criteria that for a work to be SF an author had to be deliberately and consciously writing within the tradition, aware of the history of SF and part of the community, a definition which excludes works like Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife and Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. Then, the night after the convention, a final late-night conversation with Paolo Bacigalupi (or someone claiming to be Paolo Bacigalupi, hugs to Cheryl). Paolo, it turns out, reads only nonfiction and The New Yorker, and confessed that he had no idea who any of the writers he met during the con were. This did not stop him from writing the Hugo-nominated "The People of Sand and Slag." My own 2 cents: When Professor Roy Hinkley Jr. invents a flying plastic disc in his new university lab in Rescue from Gilligan's Island, it's still a frisbee, whether he knows it or not.