Monday, June 30, 2008

ApolloCon 2008 - a Colorful Time

I'm back from ApolloCon, held this past June 27th to 29th at the DoubleTree Houston Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. It was my first stint as a Guest of Honor, and I wasn't disappointed. Certainly not by the friendliness and competence of the ApolloCon staff (hi Shai!) nor the quality of its other guests, nor the generosity of its attendees.

In short: Great weekend. Thanks to Katy Pace for picking me up and treating me to dinner, since Continental Airlines and stormy weather combined to make me miss the group GoH dinner Thursday night. Flight was delayed three hours, which was better than all those later flights that were canceled, sure, though ironically - having just come out of a period of heavy acquiring for Pyr, I had decided NOT to bring anything much to read! Just two short stories! (So I bought a Wired magazine, read it cover to cover, and am now feeling very plugged in.)

Speaking of being plugged in: Friday kicked off pre-con with a fascinating conversation with Fan GoH Anne K. G. Murphy, pictured here with my friend and frequent illustrator John Picacio. Anne is an utterly brilliant person and has some very interesting ideas both for convention promotions and for online fiction, and dialogging with her throughout the weekend was definitely one of my convention highlights.

Another highlight was dinner with Author Guest of Honor Allen Steele, courtesy of the very generous John Husisian, who saw us milling around the restaurant lost and offered to treat us both to the buffet. Thank you John H! Also got to spend some real time with John DeNardo of SFSignal (and a little time with JP as well). Both great guys, and John D, this is for you: "I'm up on the eleventh floor, and I'm watching the cruisers below..."

Also got to meet J.M. McDermott at my KaffeeKlatsch - author of Last Dragon and firmly convinced that Steampunk doesn't actually exist. Caught up with Chris Roberson (who thinks that it does and is even bigger than the rest of us know), Jayme Blaschke (fellow Green Arrow enthusiast), and Alexis Glynn Latner (pictured here signing copies of Hurricane Moon. Have you got your copy yet?).

I judged the masquerade contest Saturday night, along with Artist Guest of Honor and very funny man Brad Foster and artist Victory. The highlight here was actually Bradley Denton's opening band, though I am proud to have named the "Best Hagrid" Award, given to the, well, the Best Hagrid. What else?

It was wonderful as always to see Zane Melder of Edge Books. Zane always has the best selection (particularly of backlist), and I don't just say that because he's been so wonderfully supportive of Pyr and Yours Truly, though he has been wonderfully supportive of Pyr and Yours Truly. (He has impeccable taste in shirts too, btw.)

I hear the convention had 414 registered attendees come Saturday night, and I was surprised to see people buying day passes as late as 11am Sunday morning, so they must have done all right. For a relatively new, relatively small convention, it was very well run, very smooth, and I had a wonderful time. The staff at the Doubletree were also very friendly and helpful. The complimentary cookie was delicious, and signs proclaiming "We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee" should be made a requirement of all con hotels, on a par with "a good bar."

Thank you all! I am honored to have been there!


John D. said...

Thanks for the reminder, but now my heart's in the basement. On the bright side, my weekend was *not* at an all-time low! :)

Seriously, you were terrific as Editor Guest of honor. Your passion for books is quite contagious. I caught two people asking Zane for the Edelman books immediately after your presentation on Sunday.

Lou Anders said...

Yeah, Zane told me the same thing! I've got some guilt there though. You remember I gave out one copy of Infoquake and one of MultiReal at the end of the Pyr panel. One guy raised his hand, but I spotted him a nanosecond after two women raised theirs. They weren't seated together, so I figured they got them first. I told the one who got MultiReal, "You'll have to pick up the first book," to which she responded, "I'll just borrow it from her - we'll trade" (pointing to the other woman). If I'd know they were friends, I would have given one between them and given the other book to the poor guy who got left out! And probably snagged Zane another sale or two in the process. Oh well!