Quick thoughts on WFC 2015

Mon 9 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Buy this from Powell's!Holy bananas, that ended surprisingly well!

  • This is why I never write these things. There’s too much I’ll miss and that’s an hour I should have been napping after the weekend working working!
  • The book room was a huge, great well-lit space with tons of space for the crowds of eager readers ready to snap up hot hot books. Sadly said readers seemed to be seduced by Saratoga Springs’s lovely streets and great restaurants and mostly did not appear. Or they couldn’t get memberships or something. Darn it.
  • That said, Ninepin Press sold tons of copies of The Family Arcana from our table. People love Jed’s story-as-pack-of-cards.
  • Lovely restaurants: Karavalli (Indian, wow); Hattie’s (all the sides = dinner for this happy vegetarian); Four Seasons (very handy for a box lunch for still happy parent and child); Cantina (Mexican: can you sit 10 people with no reservation for Sunday lunch? No problem — nice, thank you!).
  • Out-of-con experiences: taking a 6-year-old to a con immediately changes everything. There are too many people, it’s chaotic, it’s an unfamiliar space — and, yes, that’s just me. But she made half a dozen books and met some friends so it was not all bad. And: hotel swimming pool, of course! Kid’s museum: high five for pre-arranged play dates! Another of course: the park. Hooray for finding the Triton’s pool and the statues of Pan, Dionysus, and the Maenads as well as leaves, man, leaves. You can do a lot with leaves and a bit of Greek mythology goes a long way.
  • Meanwhile: Gary K. Wolfe reviewed Mary Rickert’s new book You Have Never Been Here in the Chicago Tribune. All right!

The Three Ps:

  • Panels: they were epic! I suppose as I did not go to any, see out-of-con-experiences above, previously mentioned (and sometimes coldly abandoned) table in book room, and the theme was Epic Fantasy. There were some people I’d have loved to see on panels but I did not. C’est la vie.
  • People: it is great to see friends and meet people only known online or . . . once-were complete strangers. I had one meeting at the con with Ron Eckel of Cooke International who does a fab job of selling our books abroad (dammit, that reminds me I have a list of things I have to send him) and otherwise “relied” on happenstance, which worked out mostly ok but for everyone I did not actually see. Oops.
  • Parties: I got to two (er, I think), Kickstarter and Ellen Kushner et al’s Tremontaine, and they were both busy and well supplied, yay! The latter was such a happening that I ended up sitting on the floor outside chatting for a long, long while with many good people.

Also:

  • The art show was great! We got a tiny skull with crown papercut by Kathleen Jennings and a fantastic painting we’ve admired for years by Derek Ford.
  • I sneaked a galley of Sofia Samatar’s forthcoming novel The Winged Histories to one of the happiest people I know, Amal El-Mohtar. Yay!
  • Chatted with Jeffrey Ford and Christopher Rowe. Why pick those two out of the hundreds? Because we like to transmute art into commerce and 2016 will see Jeff’s new collection A Natural History of Hell coming out and 2017 will see Christopher’s debut collection for which you should put in an extra pair of socks because it will knock them right off you and fortunately he is a much better writer than me so his book is actually good while my blog posts are, well, here we are, it never will end, will it?

Happily:

  • The bust of H.P. Lovecraft is done and gone as the World Fantasy Award. Well done Gahan Wilson for making it in the first place and the board for making the decision. The world changes and we change with it and everyone I know is happy about this change.

Goofy story:

  • On Sunday we went out to lunch with friends rather than taking the kid to the banquet. At 1:30 or so I got a phone call from Gordon Van Gelder (one of the award administrators) who asked if we’d be at the award ceremony later as he was wondering if our kids could have another play date while the adults droned on about awards. I thought this was a great idea so we made a play date.
    Which made sure we were back at the hotel.
    In time for the awards ceremony.
    In which we received an award.
    Ha!
    I swear I am not usually this dense (um, honestly . . .) but since the kids had had such a good time on Friday I figured this was legit. Ha again! I’ve even been party to wrangling unknowing award winners in the past. If anything I thought, hey, maybe Kelly’s story . . . ? but I really thought, ooh, playdate = happy kid. Hats off to Gordon, nicely done.

And the awards!

Congratulations to all the winners — and the nominees — especially Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory at ChiZine whose work ethic and determination to push great, dark books into the world is unequaled. It was fantastic to see the collection award shared between Angela Slatter and Helen Marshall. I hate awards because it is silly that not everything gets the prize. I was happy to remember Kathleen Addison’s The Goblin Emperor had won the Locus Award and I cannot wait until Kai Ashante Wilson starts racking them up. I wish Life Achievement award winner Sherri S. Tepper had been there because some of her books blew me away and I’d have liked to thank her.

It is an honor to have been nominated and a surprise to win. I did not have a speech — not hubris, I just thought the jury would go for something else as these awards tend towards the darker side of fantasy and as ever it was a very strong category. But afterwards I realized how silly I was: the book had a decent chance: it is called Monstrous Affections, the stories are bleak, amazing, dark, scary, fantastic. Of course I think it should win all the awards (hello Mr. Nobel Prize, do you do YA anthologies? Have you read Alice Sola Kim’s story that ends the book? Dare you to read it all alone late at night . . .) but still. And. Also. Anyway.

Thanks to the writers and artists in the book — this award is obviously really all about their stories. Thanks to Deborah Noyes our editor at Candlewick Press as well as Nathan Pyritz the designer and everyone at Candlewick who have made working on this book (and Steampunk!) such a joy. Thanks also to cover artist Yuko Shimizu and as always to Kelly’s fabulous and steadfast agent Renée Zuckerbrot. We’re grateful to the judges for their hard work and to the readers everywhere who have allowed us to keep living the dream.