Worldcon Thursday

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Laura and I got up reasonably early Thursday. We were just sitting down at our table in the Marriott restaurant when something hit me in the back of the head. I looked down. A sugar packet lay on the floor at my feet. I looked around. Scott Edelman, Hurler of Sweets™, looking innocent, was sitting at a table in a nearby section a couple of feet higher than ours, behind a low wall. We went to the wall and said hello. Scott introduced us to his tablemate, Robert Silverberg, and we proceeded to have a pleasant little conversation over the wall with the tops of Scott's and I-Can't-Quite-Bring-Myself-to-Call-Him-Bob's heads. Eyes, but no mouths. And me mostly tongue-tied, being a Silverberg worshipper. (Who isn't?)

Before they left the restaurant, Scott and "Bob" (okay, I'll call him that) stopped by our table and we were able to have a conversation with their entire heads. "Bob" told us how he grew his goatee in 1957 after seeing a priest sporting one at Christmas mass. (Why he went to Christmas mass as a Jew was hinted at but left tantalizingly unexplained.) He told us he had worn his ever since. The goatee will turn 50 next year. Then we all took pictures of one another. (Laura took the one of Scott and Bob.)

While Laura ran some errands, I went to a panel Bob was on, "Creating Believable Aliens." I slipped out a little early to get to the dealers room for my scheduled hour autographing (and hopefully helping to sell a subscription or two) at the Asimov's/Analog table. On the way I ran into Brenda Cooper and Toby Buckell, two of my Blue Heaven bandmates. Then I stopped at a nearby table where John Kessel and Jim Kelly were signing copies of their slipstream anthology, Feeling Very Strange. I said hello, bought a copy, and had them personalize it. John Kessel wrote: Handsome, smart. I hate you.

I didn't sign many autographs at the Asimov's/Analog table, but a couple I did were memorable. One fellow had not only a copy of the April/May 2006 Asimov's but also one of my most obscure little publications, "Celestial Mechanics" in the March 1996 F&SF. (Not that the magazine is obscure, but that story sure is.) Also, a very nice fellow named John Remy stopped by and introduced himself as a podcast listener, an aspiring SF writer, a returned missionary, and a recovering Mormon. Laura had been out distributing little William Shunn postcards around the con, and John had me sign the back of one for his wife Jana, with whom he produces a podcast called "An Atheist's Prayer." He promised to attend my kaffeeklatsch the next day.

Otherwise, it was just fun to hang out at the table with Sheila Williams, [info]asphalteden, and Trevor Quachri. John Kessel dropped by to chat for a couple minutes more, and I promised to head over to his reading at the Hilton after I was done at the table.

Head over to Hilton I did, though I was waylaid en route by Scott Edelman, who was chatting with a group that included the funny, articulate, and fearless Ben Rosenbaum, someone I'd heard many stories about at Blue Heaven but never met. Next I got lost in the Hilton and never did find my way to the Kessel reading, though I tried. (Sorry, John!)

For lunch I headed back to the Dell table and tagged along to the Marriott Starbuck's with Brian and Trevor. There we discovered the amenities of what is surely the best Starbuck's in the world: one with a refrigerator containing beer, wine, and Ben & Jerry's. All but the Ben & Jerry's was consumed along with our lunch.

As Laura was lounging by the pool, I went off in search of programming. Almost by accident I stumbled into a screening of the Special Edition of Free Enterprise, a film I had seen at least twice already, and got caught up all over again.

The rest of the afternoon is a bit of a blur—working backward, I'm sure this must be when I first ran into [info]paulmelko at the con, though it's hard now to remember the order of things—but Laura and I changed into clothes that we hoped were both appearing-on-a-panel and going-to-Disneyland appropriate. At 5:30 I moderated a panel called "Adapting Science Fiction and Fantasy for the Stage," which demonstrated that perhaps two panels on SF theater at one convention was one too many. Two of the panelists didn't even bother showing up, and still the number of audience members (including Laura, who had to come) equalled the number of panelists, at least until two more people showed up and sat in the back very late in the hour.

Promptly at 6:30 it was straight back to the Marriott lobby where we met Brian and Trevor, hopped in the car, and headed to Disneyland for four hours of hilarity. As Brian has noted, we rode pretty much everything we had hope to ride, and we even managed to walk onto the Haunted Mansion right at the end of the evening, getting on in the last group. I look forward to seeing Brian's photos from the Happiest Place on Earth, especially the ones in line at Space Mountain, because apparently Laura and I didn't take any ourselves. D'oh! Anyway, Disneyland was probably the highlight of a great con.

After Disneyland, we ended up at an In-N-Out Burger in Fullerton, where we taught those Dell guys how to order animal-style, since we were now old pros at it. Laura and I split one order this time, though, hoping for a little more Out than In.

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on September 1, 2006 6:50 AM.

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