Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

World Con Report

This past weekend was LoneStarCon 3, the 71s World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio, Texas. I love San Antonio, which I've only visited once (for John Picacio's wedding) and have been wanting a good excuse to visit again.

Sam Sykes at the Pyr Presents Panel
I got in on Thursday, having bumped into Scott Lynch on the plane, and arrived in time to have lunch, register, wander around, and still make my Literary Beer by 5pm. And by the way, Literary Beers are a great idea and starting cons with them even better. Then it was off for a (long) walk down the Riverwalk to Acenar. I dined here years ago and am so glad to say it was everything I remembered. As far from the convention center as it was, it was odd when Scott Lynch was seated at the next table five minutes after I arrived. (Was he following me?) Then I spent the night in the Marriott Rivercenter bar with many, many friends until very late.

Tower of the Americas
Picacio wins 2 Chesleys

Friday began with a panel on the relationship between writers and editors, then the Pyr Books Presents panel, and then a panel on New Trends in Sword & Sorcery. Afterwards I hit the opening of the Penguin Random House Party atop the Tower of the Americas, where I caught up with Melinda Snodgrass, but had to leave early to present the first category at the Chesley Awards, where it was my privilege to see John Picacio win twice, once for the cover of Brenda Cooper's The Creative Fire,which I art directed.

Saturday began with an hour long Stroll With the Stars along the Riverwalk, followed by an art portfolio review, then a lunch with Liza Trombi of Locus. In the afternoon, I did my ScriptTips presentation, the talk I have been giving for several years now about how to use my preferred method of screenwriting as a tool for novel outlining. The room was packed, the response was phenomenal, and quite a few people had some very nice things to say about it afterwards.
Writers of the Future

That evening I went out to dinner with John Picacio, his assistant Tara, George R R Martin, his wife Paris, his two assistants and one of their boyfriends (who turned out to be from my hometown). George wanted authentic barbeque, so we hired a van and drove an hour to Lockhart for the Kreuz Market and Barbeque. Unfortunately, when we got there, they were out of everything but beef shoulder and some sausage. All the pork and chicken was long gone, and as I don't eat red meat -- well, I dined on sauerkraut, mac and cheese, and white bread. But I had a lovely conversation with everyone, especially Paris McBride, and the company made up for the lack of edible (for Lou) food. Afterwards, John, Tara, and I made the tail end of the "Drinks with Authors" event at Ernie's Bar, and then I sat up until 3am with some smart young writers who were Writers of the Future winners.
Looking good for Hugos:
Anders, Tayler, Cornell and Picacio

Sunday I had a photo shoot with Locus magazine, a panel on Using Art Briefs, a "Who Painted That?" panel, and drinks with the JABberwocky Literary Agency. And then, the Hugos!
Hartwell and Picacio

Paul Cornell did an amazing job as Toastmaster, bringing a real dignity to the event that I wish every Hugo ceremony had. He was just the right amount of funny vs sincere, and even the slight politicizing went towards making the event feel like what it should be -- the Oscars of science fiction. Also, at one point during the ceremony, they had a tribute to all of the people in science-fiction or important to science-fiction that we had lost in the last year. They played music and showed all the names. This range from famous writers like Iain M. Banks to people like film critic Roger Ebert who has written for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and was an outspoken fan of written science fiction as well. I was very gratified to see the founder of my parent company, Dr. Paul Kurtz, listed on the screen.

Consolation d20 Lollipop
The highlight of the Hugos, of course, was watching my friend John Picacio win for the second time. Then it was the Hugo Losers Party (where I broke out the amazing d20 lollipop that Sara Felix brought for me!) and spent some time commiserating with Toni Weisskopf and hanging with John Picacio. 

I really enjoyed hanging with Saladin Ahmed, Paolo Bacigalupi, Myke Cole, John DeNardo, Irene Gallo, Dave Gross, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mur Lafferty, Scott Lynch, John Picacio,  John Scalzi, Sam Sykes, Howard Tayler, Liza Trombi, Vincent Villafranca, Sandra Wickham, and many, many others. Even so, there were friends present like Jess Nevins and Michael Rowley that I didn't even see. I saw Michael Swanwick once from a distance and never got close enough to say hello. I could have used another week just to hang with people.
Airport Viking

Still, this was a fairly low-key World Con for me. I had a LOT of programming and a lot of meetings, and I fought to carve out space for my friends and family, but it wasn't as high energy as running a DragonCon booth, or as stressful as some convention programming can be. This weekend had a different energy. In fact, my highlight was different from any other year. It was taking my son to meet Steve Jackson and spending an hour with him creating a branching track in Jackson's big Steampunk Chaos machine. My boy is a Munchin fan and meeting Jackson was a thrill for him, and the big marble maze was pretty incredible. If I could relive one moment from the entire con again, that would be the one. A close second would be another dinner with my family at Acenar.