I really do. When I first used to go to them, I found them a little more intimidating, because I didn't know anyone. I knew the names of some of the editors, but I was much less willing to just approach and bother them. But I also had time to spend hours on panels that looked interesting, and in the dealer's room and the art show and at the masquerade and the hugos, etc. I know that some people do still find them intimidating, but that's part of the nature of any large group: when you first enter it, you don't know much. A lot of the people I met in the early years in ones and twos are now people I see regularly, stop, say hello to, chat with (if I'm not running madly to a panel), so it's now a little like coming home. Where home is full of thousands of people.
This accretion of familiarity is the product of a decade or two. Some of the people I talk to now, I met on panels years ago; some used to live in Toronto; some I see at my readings or autographings, etc. The first time I was at a Worldcon and unpublished, I didn't go with the intent to do business, although I did go and listen to agents and editors speak. I don't really go with the intent to do business now, as most of the stuff I sell is done through my agent, and not at convention. But if you went and found it all overwhelming, it's just a first step. Take several more, and you'll find it a much different place.
Okay, I had only one panel on Saturday, so this should have been the relaxing go to panels day. But it started with breakfast (and me complaining about breakfast -- I'm a tad grumpy in the morning, and honest, the coffee was so cold there were no convection currents and the cream just kind of sat there at the bottom), and breakfast segued into a very interesting discussion about writing with sleigh, which I could have continued for, oh, hours. Except that I was meeting a friend for lunch. I had a wonderful lunch at Carole's Cheesecake something-or-other, but the menu was about as short as one of my stories <g>. jediboadicea is always good company, and we hung out together until I had to run off to meet Cory & Peter in the dealer's room. Note to self: Do not wear lots of white if you are going to have pictures taken.
Then off to the panel for Saturday, which was Alien Genres. This was peopled by Tanya Huff, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Sue Krinard and Elizabeth Caldwell (?), and I was in theory moderating. But I'd talked to everyone but Elizabeth before the panel, and all of us had a reaction that could best be summed up as "huh?". That, and Elizabeth had fallen and injured her knees, and was wheel-chair bound -- and the platform on which the panelist table(s) were erected was about two and a half feet off the ground, with stairs on one end. Yes, that's stairs. We ended up pushing the table back so we could sit on the platform and pull the mikes down. Mostly, although I'd suggested it, this was done by people in the audience, so, thank you all.
In spite of the fact that our reaction was "huh", some very good points were brought up, vis a vis genre and story in general. Tanya pointed out that for biologists like Julie Czerneda, function follows form; Teresa pointed out that we would have to assume that aliens even had language, and also that they had a pressing need for story, which is our way of attempting to understand ourselves (yes, she said it better. Why do you ask?). I think I said that story was not unlike religion, and that it also required an alien culture that suffered from imperfect communication and the desperate need for causality. We did also poke a teeny bit of fun at the topic, my bad.
Sylvia Sotomayer, one of Putnam/Penguin's former sales reps, was in the audience, and we went out for coffee after that. I got to see pictures of her trip to Costa Rica (I think -- see above re: geography), and just generally catch up. I like her a lot. I was almost late for dinner. Dinner was the DAW dinner.
I had to bite my tongue through most of it, as one woman began to discuss politics. At one point, sleigh, who was seated way at the other end of a very long table asked andpuff if I were annoyed because I didn't care for American politics; she replied that I didn't care for stupidity, and that I was wearing my really didn't care for stupidity look. But as part of the discussion involved American patriotism, and I'm not American and didn't want to turn the discussion into global anti-americanism (i.e. me disagreeing), I felt it was more socially appropriate to Shut Up. Which was difficult. Yay me. This was unfortunate, as I was sitting beside the person who was now shouting, and Jody Lee, who was perfectly well-behaved. Jody's not the loudest person, and I kept losing half of her sentences to the shouting, and eventually gave up and got down and just wandered around the table talking to other people. Restaurant -- Radius -- was great, though.
After dinner, we all retired back to the DAW suite to talk. This year, we did not end up talking about thong underwear. No, don't ask <g>. And then back to bed, at least for me.
Okay, Sunday, having had the debacle of breakfast at the Sheraton, we went to the Marriott instead, which was much, much better, and which meant less complaining from me. About breakfast. I then ran off to meet with my editor so we could discuss HOUSE WAR and what she thought of the 400+ pages I'd sent her. She'd read enough that we could talk about it, but had had to tear herself away from reading Tanya's new novel (I wouldn't have, but hey, it's not my job <g>). It was a good conversation, and we had enough time to meander about many things; industry things, book things, house things, before she had to go to her next meeting and I had to try to figure out where I was going to be reading.
Oh, and yay to the program ops people -- because I forgot to pack what I was supposed to be reading, and had they not given me access to both internet & a printer, I wouldn't have been reading much. Or I'd've been reading poetry, since I had that on the handheld, and nothing else. I unfortunately frittered away much time ranting about factual inaccuracy in 'political' discussions -- say, about 7 minutes. This is out of 30. So it left me 23, which meant I got half way through the first chapter of House War before I was turfed out of the room <wry g>.
That was at 3:30, and I spent some time just chatting to people before I ran off to meet with someone else. That was a book discussion as well, and that was fun, but I think I was getting just a touch tired; I showed up for Tanya's reading and people asked me if I were sleep-walking. Which was fair, as I sort of was. But Tanya's reading was packed, and although she did read one of her darker stories ever, it was still funny in a very black way. It was also the right length. One of these days, I'll either learn something from her, or kill her <g>. Gave up on dinner, and made my last meeting of the convention, which was for fun, and was interesting because it was mostly industry stuff.
Then I spent a lot of time in the bar not drinking because I ran into Duane Wilkins, another bookseller, and also met Jim Minz of Tor and Sean McMullen (who I didn't know was Australian) and a number of other people as well. Jim Minz was funny, and had the great good taste to pick up the Stephen Erikson novels for the US market, which meant he already had a certain cache for me <g>. When they kicked us out of the bar -- which was sort of impressive because there were four or five obvious security guards waiting to do just that -- I crawled back up to my room because I was dead, dead tired.
I went to sleep. I woke up early. I missed breakfast and made it to the airport, even. And now, I'm home and feeling somewhat under the weather, so I'm closing up and going to bed. Writing tomorrow, with more publishing-business oriented news at that time.