Worldcon Friday afternoon and evening

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Gordon and I pulled Laura out of the panel she was attending, and Laura immediately got on the phone with Shana. Turns out Ella had, according to Dan the Dogwalker, a terrible ear infection, and that she yelped when her ear was touched. She had also, according to Shana, beshat the entire apartment a couple of times over. As Laura flipped back and forth between consulting with Shana and consulting with Dan and calling our vet back in New York, Paul Melko happened along with a group headed for lunch. Laura forced Gordon and me to join the lunch group and leave the dog-worrying to her.

(And it all worked out fine. Our friend Colin readily agreed to drive Ella and Shana into the city, and [info]steelbrassnwood picked them up again. Everyone involved has our immense thanks for helping take such good care of our dog while we were away.)

Our lunch group accreted more and more members as we rolled from the convention center to the Hilton restaurant. Along the way we ran into Cory Doctorow, who had been messaging me about having lunch Saturday. Cory had been scheduled to sign at the Asimov's/Analog at the same time I was the day before, but partway through had to rush off to take a call. We'd crossed paths a couple of times since and been unsuccessful arranging a time to hang out. This time, though, I confirmed in passing that Saturday lunch would work fine. Then I was dragged along by the gravitational well of the Friday lunch group.

I can't remember the names of everyone at our lunch table, but by the time we reached the Hilton there were over a dozen of us, and more people kept showing up, requiring chairs to be wedged in ever closer together. There was Paul Melko, Paolo and Anjula Bacigalupi, Craig Engler, Blake Charlton (whose upcoming novel Spellwright sounds utterly fascinating), Stephen Eley of Escape Pod, and many, many others whose names and faces I woefully find myself unable to shake out of medium-term memory.

Word came from Laura that Ella was safely off to the vet, and after lunch Gordon and I hit a panel on "Blogs & the Media" (featuring The Two Craigs: Engler and Newmark). It was one of the better panels I saw at the con. Gordon headed home after that, and I met Laura and headed over to my kaffeeklatsch in the "Spaceport Lounge" at the convention center.

The kaffeeklatsches (in one of the worst-planned aspects of the con) were held in a curtained-off area adjacent to the performance stage, which meant that the klatsch part had to compete with very loud music. Not only that, but there was no kaffee! However, there was a helpful con volunteer who said she could get me a free coffee from the food stand. I gave her a twenty and asked if she would get coffee for both me and my one signer-up, John Remy. (Actually, Brian Bieniowski and Laura were both there for the start of the kaffeeklatsch, but neither of them could stay long.) John and I had a marvelous conversation about SF, Mormonism, missionaries, writing, atheism, and the difficulties of leaving the church when you've raised your young children in it. He promised to send me a copy of his Sunstone fiction contest winner from a few years ago, "Ojichan's Funeral." (Which he did!)

Next, Laura and I met Craig Engler and Chris Cohen (of the Virginia Kidd Agency) in the lobby of the Marriott. I drank a Laphroaig more quickly than I wanted to, and we set out for the fabled Harper party at a "nearby" hotel. It was supposed to be a walk of three blocks, but it turned out to be more like three leagues. We were all intrepid East Coast walkers, but come on. Craig and I were manning our CrackBerrys like tricorders, trying to figure out where the hotel really was. On the way, we ran into Gordon Van Gelder coming the other way. He had tried to find the party but given up, convinced he was going the wrong way. We convinced him to come with us, and after maybe another fifteen minutes spied the hotel in the distance. We tried to cut through another hotel's parking lot, at my suggestion, but were stymied by an unbreachable fence. We did get there eventually, though.

At the party, marvelous SF writer and Harper publicist Jack Womack made us all take free books. We saw Geoff Landis and Mary Turzillo there, and Joe and Gay Haldeman, and again more people than I could name. Paul Melko arrived with his agent, Caitlin Blasdell, and then our fellow Blue Heaven alum Tim Pratt arrived with his wife Heather Shaw, who was a delight to meet and hang out with. Laura and I never moved far from the entrance to the party—our little group that accreted there was too fun and interesting to abandon. Scott Westerfeld happened past and regaled us with tales of lost-luggage woes.

Oh my, I'm getting exhausted just remembering that evening. From the party, Craig, Chris, Laura and I took a cab directly to the restaurant where Craig was hosting a dinner, Mr. Stox. Cory Doctorow and his friend game designer Raph Koster met us there. For some reason I was the only one man enough to brave the wine list, and the sommelier became very respectful when I (by guesswork and chance) ordered us a DuMol syrah. I sat by Raph, who is a very nice, smart, funny, and interesting fellow. We were soon joined by Gardner Dozois, Susan Casper, Nancy Kress, Ellen Datlow, and Pat Cadigan. Much merriment was had, and some naughtiness. The food was amazing, far and away the best meal we had on the trip. I ordered the halibut. I hope Laura will post her impressions of the meal.

After a cab trip back to the Hilton, we ran into Sheila Williams just taking her daughter Juliet (in her lovely princess costume) back to their hotel room. We hit the Dell Magazines party, where I was immediately hit in the back of the head by some manner of sweetmeat. Edelman, of course. Laura and I were, expectedly, bushed, and we didn't stay long. We did, however, grab a big piece of carrot cake to carry back to our room. That would be Laura's pre-run power meal the next morning.

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on September 2, 2006 10:20 AM.

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