World Fantasy Con 2011 Roundup


I’m starting to notice a trend in these blog posts. I do some­thing really awe­some that I’ve never gotten to do as a pro before, and then I go on and on about how great it was.

This is another one of those, so I’m going to keep it brief.

For those of you who don’t know, WFC is a very … uh … non-fannish con. It con­sists mostly of writers, edi­tors, agents, pub­lishers, artists and other industry insiders hanging around the bar and talking about the full range of nerd topics. Some­where in the midst of it, deals get made. I spoke on a panel on mar­itime bat­tles in fan­tasy lit­er­a­ture and got to sup­port friends Eddie Schneider (VP at the agency that rep­re­sents me) and Peter V. Brett during their own talks. Nick Stohlman, who did the AWESOME illus­tra­tion for this web­site (and who I can’t stop thinking of as *my* illus­trator), even put in an appearance.

So, great con. You’ve heard this line from me before — my first as a pro, it felt so unspeak­ably good to stand among these giants as a col­league, blah blah blah. But there are a couple of things I want to point out:

- I was really struck by the inter­na­tional flavor of the con. At one point, I found myself having drinks with the senior edi­tors of French, British and Dutch fan­tasy pub­lishers. The Internet has given pub­lishing plenty to think about, but it is also having a shrinking effect on com­mu­nity bound­aries. You know how I groove on the family feeling I get when I hang with genre nerds. To be feeling that with people from other coun­tries is … well … sub­lime (many thanks to Stephane Marsane for putting up with my atro­cious French, and for being nice enough to say that he could under­stand me).

- I attend all formal func­tions in a min­imum of ser­vice dress blue. I believe strongly in reminding the com­mu­nity that we have a cit­izen mil­i­tary in this country, that we are you

Neil Gaiman sports a reg­u­la­tion USCG com­pany grade officer’s com­bi­na­tion cover

and you are us. Seeing folks in uni­form is an impor­tant part of that. No sooner had the World Fan­tasy Awards been handed out than my cover was filched from under my arm and wound up adorning a host of lumi­naries from Pat Roth­fuss to Neil Gaiman to Ginjer Buchannan to the World Fan­tasy Award itself. At first I was a little, uh, con­cerned about the dis­po­si­tion of mil­i­tary accou­trement in my cus­tody, but once I’d calmed down a bit,  I real­ized that I was get­ting exactly what I wanted: People were dip­ping their toe in the mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence, trying on a piece of a uni­form and feeling a con­nec­tion to the ser­vice. And I was helping with that. So … mis­sion accom­plished, eh?

- And the crowning, poignant moment of the con­ven­tion. I man­aged to catch Peter S. Beagle during a quiet moment, shake his hand and let him know how much his work meant to me. For those of you who don’t know, the man wrote The Last Uni­corn, which is one of the absolute sem­inal works in the genre. Beagle can (as much as anyone can) be said to be one of the grand­fa­thers of modern fantasy.

He was kind and gra­cious when I approached him. I shook his hand and stum­bled over

with Peter S. Beagle

my words for a bit, trying to find the best way to tell him how sig­nif­i­cant his impact on my life had been. Finally, I set­tled on “you kind of made me.”

I think it’s accu­rate enough. And now that I sit here and think about all the industry types I just spent the past weekend hanging with, and all the genre nerd friends of mine now wel­coming me home on Twitter, I’m real­izing that you all did.

And that you con­tinue to. Thanks for that.

  • David J. Fortier

    Sounds like a nerd-a-holic geek­fest. Awe­some. Glad you had a great time.

  • http://twitter.com/SheckyX Shecky X

    Sounds like you had an absolute blast. Good; you deserved it.