Tuesday, November 18, 2008

World Fantasy in Calgary

World Fantasy was great, over too quickly, and still exhausting. The con itself was in a perfect hotel. Chris Roberson held court in the lounge, and a steady supply of Aussies and Brits also helped keep things lively in the bar. I never really got to dig in there and join in the random, comical conversations that happen in the bar at a good con -- but that's how it always is for me. A little more work than fun. But the work is good, so...

Had dinner with Guy Gavriel Kay and Garth Nix, a couple of the nicest writers you could meet. Wandered around the city with Garth, Shaun Tan, and Jonathan Strahan, then again with Jen West & Ken Scholes after our interview -- which was a lot of fun by the way, and I hope to see it in the Feb or March issue. Dinner with Chris Schelling was a blast -- the restaurant was just over the top, and our waiter had no idea what to do with us.

Didn't get to hang with John Picacio enough. Or Lou and Chris and Allison. Did wander around happily with Daryl Gregory on Friday night. At least I think it was Friday. Oh yeah, Sarah Palin was in the bar; it was definitely Friday. In the way the certain topics repeat themselves during a convention, I ended up in separate but similar conversations with Marc Gascoigne, Lou Anders, John Silbersack, and Diana Gill about the value of SF that brings back the feelings of books we first read as young SF readers, but without the markers that chase off today's young readers (ie saving up boxtops to send away for the free spacesuit and other novel 50s conventions). I like complex SF as much as the next person, but we need some gateway books to get the new readers interested, and YA ain't gonna do it alone. I didn't get my books from the children's section when I was a kid...

Discussions on urban fantasy with Diana, Ginjer Buchanan, Ellen Datlow, Jennifer Heddle (who for some reason I had never hung out with before, but she's great), Beth Meacham, Liz Scheier, and others left me feeling better equipped for the urban fantasy issue I'm putting together for next year -- to look at what's out there, what's good, what's being confused with para-normal romance, etc.

We had a great interview with Graham Joyce, one of my favorite writers -- despite the fact that he doesn't write SF ;). He is a kick to to hang out with. Especially over some whisky. (No really, if you haven't read something by him go read something now. Anything. My favorites are The Facts of Life, The Limits of Enchantment, Smoking Poppy, The Tooth Fairy, Do the Creepy Thing, and I'm reading How to Make Friends With Demons right now.)

Calgary came with a couple of problems. The bone-dry air and the altitude (it's the "kilometer-high city" -- nothing too extraordinary but I do live at sea level) left me suffering from random headaches. And there was a noticeable smell there. One person told me it was from the cattle ranches outside of town. Someone else said the construction site down the block had hit a sewer line. Didn't really make a difference why, it just stank. Like poop. Inside the hotel. Unfortunate. Especially since I am olfactory enhanced in my secondigravidas state.

I made it back from the con to hit the ground running hard here at the mag. We're getting both the awards writeup and con report in this issue instead of breaking them up, which is a huge amount of work for the shortened Thanksgiving sched. But I just handed off the bulk of the work to production today, and it's gravy from here. Great to see you all there! (Thanks to Mzmelia who let me steal from her photos.)