Please pardon the cobwebs around here. Yeah, it’s been a couple of weeks, but I haven’t totally dropped off the face of the Internet! Just mostly. I launched into the rewrite of BLOOD OF WOLVES, then caught a bug (nothing major, but a few weeks more to suss out before it’s good and gone that taxed my energy levels greatly) and then the World Fantasy Convention happened in Toronto (North) last weekend. Hence unexpected radio silence. (Not that it’s a spam factory around here, but I digress.)
So me and the writing group bundled ourselves up and hurtled down the highway to the wilds of Richmond Hill — also known as Toronto as far as WFC’s marketing material was concerned and a sore point among many attendees. For some, it was a multi-train and bus affair getting from Toronto proper, while others bit the bullet and either carpooled to keep the taxi costs down or rented a car. Since we were coming from the north, it ended up shortening the trip for us some and once we were there we were there, venturing out only for dumplings (lamb, pork and mushroom, vegetarian) and a rowdy bar dinner (which for me was a terribly sexy rare sirloin, topped with blue cheese and crisp onions). Other than that, we remained in the Convention hotel, hitting in-house menu offerings or the ConSuite, which was well appointed with food, beverages and folk.
And the books. Holy crap, the books. We’re talking full-on, roll around in them on your bed books, so long as you don’t mind paper cuts. Each attendee gets a massive canvas bag filled with books supplied by attending publishers. And if there was something in your bag you already had or didn’t want, you were free to check out the book swap table and seek your fortune. When all was said and done, this first pic was my freebie pile. Particularly excited about Vaughn’s After the Golden Age and Wolfe’s Home Fires.
And then these were the books I bought. I hit the Prime booth pretty hard as you can see, nabbing a few Year’s Best and books by Bear and Valente. Tachyon Press, too. The Schroeder book was picked up at Bakka’s booth, one I am way too excite about. Shanghai Steampunk was a collection that had fellow VPXVer Amanda Clarke’s story, Qin Yun’s Mechanical Dragon and the Cricket Spies, so of course that went into the must-buy pile. (Didn’t hurt that her reading was absolutely awesome.) I’m probably most excited about the Tiptree Jr. collection. Having come to her indirectly through her biography, I’m dying to dig into her short fiction. Weirdly, most of the books I purchased tip towards short stories.
The convention itself was great but … something was missing and after a couple of days it hit me: the science fiction. Which I fully understand is a silly thing to complain about, it being a “fantasy” convention and all, but I wasn’t the only one. And when conversations naturally turned to science fiction, there was an apologetic tone to it. It was like tiptoeing around the divorce of a couple that you think really should have made it and it’s such a shame they didn’t, but we don’t want to exacerbate the situation for anyone so you put on a strained smile and avoid the topic altogether. For me, as a reader and a writer, you can’t separate fantasy from science fiction. Horror seems to get a free pass and it was there, that intersection between horror and fantasy, where the Con, for me, felt liveliest.
I also got to catch up with a few VPXVers from my class (hey Tucker and Amanda!) as well as meeting fellow grads from prior years, Julia and Heather and Sean to name a few, and one of the new crew, Casey, fresh from the Vineyard. There was an excitable Friday night dinner, though long tables — boo! Not able to talk to everyone as much as I’d liked.
Did make me homesick for a place where I only stayed a week. I think that the next big trip for me (not counting local Cons that run in-province) I’d really like to check out a retreat, like Paradise Lost or Taos Toolbox or Rainforest. I miss that complete immersion as well as the camaraderie. I’m looking ahead to 2013 to see what’s possible.
Meanwhile, I have a novel to rewrite. Work is progressing good, though stalled out in the few days before WFC. I should be hitting 20K sometime today or so, and I would like to have 60K on it by the end of the month. I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year, as my goals are different, but I will be hanging out at the local events, cause they are run by awesome people and have an addictive energy when everything starts clicking into place. I want to take the happy start to November thanks to WFC and keep it rolling all the way to the end of the month.
60K or bust!