I think the Noreascon people outdid themselves in terms of programming. This is the politic way of saying that there was so darned much of it that it would have taken me just as long to read the new Stephenson as it did to go through the program book weeping. The weeping is, of course, a direct result of the tantalizing things I didn't get to see. I personally think that, as Terry Pratchett was the guest of honour, they did the L-space maneuver and translated it into programming tracks.
This may get longish, but I'm also fighting the world's worst headache, and have not yet succumbed to con cruddlies, so it may be suprising in its brevity.
Thursday, andpuff and I were on a flight with two other people, Isaac Spindel (I'm spelling that wrong, I'm sure) and a woman whose name escapes me, although I did recognize her) -- but none of us were seated together. We caught a cab to the hotel together, spent a lot of time at the end figuring out how to divide 32.00 by four when it came to making change, and then got our room.
That done, the geographically challenged among us (me) headed out to registration, got my badge & the aforementioned program book, and then tried to find the location of my first convention item -- a signing. There was one slight problem: The autograph area wasn't actually on any of the convention maps at the end of the book, and asking various people resulted in answers of less than perfect accuracy. We did find the information booth, however (okay, andpuff and greenmtnboy18 did; the sign was clearly not meant to be seen by me, even though it was about 5 times my size and hanging from the ceiling in plain view, and did find the area.
Which meant that I missed tnh's Mary Sue panel. I really really wanted to go to that one, so if anyone else managed to, could you fill me in?
After that, I hooked up with trektone and we went off to Pandemonium, where a number of clients of agent Joshua Bilmes had been gathered to sign books. I'm not one of them <g>. I did, however, in the very recognizable compulsive behaviour of booksellers everywhere, straighten shelves. It's just a habit. I can kick it at any time.
The staff there were lovely, and the store was small, but it had a lot of stuff in it; I was impressed by the inventory per square footage; there was a single almost moment of awkwardness, which I recognize well, when the woman behind the counter saw me, recognized my writing name, and felt bad that there were no large piles of books for me to sign <wry g>. I told her to relax; that she had had no idea that I was going to be there, that there was normal shelf stock, and that, in fact, I work in a specialty SF store, and realize all of the above. She laughed, and we talked about the store for a while.
After that, dinner. I failed to be able to actually read the menu and ended up ordering enough food for, oh, ten (it was a rib place). Then we walked back from Cambridge to the hotel, which was made more interesting my trektone's map. Or rather, sense of direction. Something is scary in the universe when I'm the one who can figure out a map <wry g>.
I went to bed early because it was the first night of the convention. andpuff was already sleeping.
Friday should have started with breakfast. But. Well. It started with getting up too late for breakfast, and running to the green room instead. By this time, I could be relied on to find anything in the Hynes convention centre, more or less, so I didn't actually miss any panels, and wasn't even late for any of them. I think. More awake minds will have to vouch for the accuracy of these words.
The first panel was the Firefly panel. Ginjer Buchanan had actually seen the script, as she was part of an auction for the novelization rights (someone else got them, and she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which severely limited what she was willing to tell us. As in, she told us nothing <wry g>. The panel was in one of the small rooms, and we had to pull the table back three feet to accommodate a couple of rows of floor space, and people were actually sitting behind the table and out both open doors before it started. Yay Firefly! There was much firefly love. And afterwards, buttons and tattoos. You know, the painless kind.
Two hours later, the first panel I was supposed to moderate. This one, I was a bit nervous about: Archetypes in Fantasy; The Princess Alone. But Ellen Datlow seems to have turned into Diane Duane (who is always a fabulous speaker, and funny); Jo Walton was erudite, and Justine L. (this is me being too lazy to go and look up the name) also had a lot to say that was on topic and interesting. Poor Paul Witcover (who wrote the excellent Waking Beauty several years back) said perhaps one thing on the panel. A number of interesting points were raised by different people, but perhaps my favourite was Jo Walton's comment on the force of story, on the natural flow of it, and the way in which one has to build and work to change its course (except she said it better). Justine then spoke of a study in Australia, which featured the PAPER BAG PRINCESS by Robert Munsch. It's about a Princess in, well, a paper bag, who goes through all kinds of adventures, even defeating a dragon to rescue a prince -- who then sniffs his little nose because she doesn't look like a real princess. So she leaves him there.
The children, however, expected a different story, and they all felt it somehow ended in the wrong way. Across schools and ages.
I actually said very little. I tried to keep track of who put their hands up and in what order, and wish I had done what andpuff did on one of her panels -- give them numbers and tell them to remember them <wry g>. But things went well. I only really interfere as a moderator if I'm bored.
Then I had a kaffeklatch. Which, without the help of jediboadicea, I would never have found on time (see me and maps above). I met a couple of LJ users, zhaneel69 and another woman whose LJ name I don't actually remember :/. Out yourself, if you're reading <g>. Julie, who is one of the alpha workshop members I met at Confluence was also there -- I'm really looking forward to the day she's in print. Also, another woman I'd met at a convention workshop some years back. Can you tell I'm horrible with names? :/. I rambled. I do this frequently. This means I had fun, but I can't vouch for anyone else <g>.. Dan Bloch was there, and another person I know from the store, Shaun, and a couple of people who were there because of the books. I ate all the peanuts. No lunch.
Then I ran off to a panel that Tanya was on, with the GOH, Terry Pratchett, James Morrow and P.C. Hodgell, about the character of death. And Tanya, darn her, said something off-colour that took Terry about 30 seconds to get -- and then he broke out laughing and tilted backwards in his chair -- and for the life of me, I still don't get it. Sometimes having a mind that doesn't bend toward the double-entendre is a very frustrating thing.
I thought that I would then have a lot of time to talk and see things, but that lot of time was taken up by the very, very large art show. It was impressive, and Jody Lee had brought the framed original for RIVEN SHIELD, and I also got to see a couple of Donato's original paintings (I adore his work), as well as the Michael Whelan work that's always so damn impressive. I'm missing a ton of artists in this, but if I weren't, I would be writing for the same two and a half hours it took us to look at everything <g>.
Then off to dinner with Glenn Yeffeth of BenBella books, the publishing company responsible for SEVEN SEASONS OF BUFFY, TAKING THE RED PILL, and my Sundered reprints <g>. I'm not a foodie, if this weren't already obvious, but we had Vietnamese food a couple of blocks away from the convention centre, and then we came back and talked about the publishing industry; I even got to critique the design of several covers (he asked, honest -- and I was. Honest).
During which, to my surprise, my agent walked by. I said, "But you're not here." Which, all things considered, was less than factual, since he demonstrably was. He'd made a very late in the day decision to come, and I'd turned off my cell phone, so we met by accident, but ended up talking until 1:00 in the morning, after which I went to bed. A lot of general discussion about the state of the industry, from either of our perspectives, which is something -- in case it hasn't been obvious -- I enjoy. Because, you know, I get to be opinionated.
I was supposed to go to a room party for andpuff. It was over before I'd finished :/.