World Fantasy Con 2011 Roundup

By October 31, 2011Comms

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.

Author Myke Cole

Myke Cole is an American writer of history and fantasy who leverages a lifetime in military, law enforcement and intelligence service to take you to battlefields, real and imagined.

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