Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back to Fencon

You might think with my crappy experience at the latest Turkey City, things sound pretty negative - but actually things have been going pretty good. Maybe that's why I was so PO'd at the workshop; it was first real bad experience I'd had recently.
Fencon the week before went great. This was the third year for the con; and the folks really seem to have gotten things together. They were nice enough to put me on five panels - three on Saturday and two on Sunday. I couldn't attend any panels on Friday because of having to work - high school football and all that. My first panel was Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Space Elevator.
I drove in from East Texas and got there with ten minutes to spare. I was kinda surprised a guy with no science background was made moderator but in retrospect it makes perfect sense, because I was able to concentrate on keeping the panel running along and didn't have a lot to interject myself.
The panel was very well attended, also. The room was packed.
I had a reading at 2:00 p.m. I flipped a coin with K.D. Wentworth to see who'd go first, She won, so I followed by reading the story that I've sold to the Amazon shorts program, "The Silver Dollar Saucer".
This was the first con I've ever been to where I noticed a number of people greeting me by name and shaking my hand. I've got to a lot where I essentially knew no one and was pretty lonely. I guess going to these things regularly is beginning to get me recognized.
I went to dinner with some of the folks from the Baen's Universe crew, and when i got back to the hotel I was buttonholed by a fellow who writes for the IROSF. He said he was thinking aboit doing a series of stories about new writers and wanted me to be one of his subjects. He said he thought of me because (and here he said "I hope you don't take this the wrong way") I'm older than most of the newbies. I wasn't offended at all, I said; it's been obvious to me for some time I was a late bloomer as an s-f writer. I've been a journalist for 30 years, and I only took up writing s-f in middle age. I told him I'll help him any way I can.
The Fencon hospitality suite was one of the better ones I've seen, interms of the quantity and variety of offerings.
I was able to visit with Lee Martindale on Sunday. The last time I saw her, on the Sunday of Conestoga, she was green and grumpy because of a cosmic migraine. For better or worse, I never get migraines, but apparently they really suck. I actually told her her complexion was different from the time I last saw her. She was back to pink after that horrid sea green.
I've heard a lot of people talking about going to World Fantasy Con, and I thought to ask her for her opinion of whether it would be worth it for me - at this stage of my career and considering the distance and money. She summed up in two words: "Not yet." Which was exactly what I had been thinking. Ah, that's wisdom.
Overall, it was very enjoyable. The first year Fencon was held, I could only attend on Sunday. Last year I was able to attend, but I wasn't a panelist. This year they were nice enough to invite me as a guest.
Both Fencon and ConDFW seem to be doing well. Guess who Fencon has for its GOH in 2007? Connie Willis.
ConDFW is having Harry Turtledove as GOH. Since I'm not going to World Fantasy Con (btw, another reason not to attend World Fantasy Con - my company does not allow vacation time in November or December) Fencon next February will probably be my next con.
After this stretch of traveling out of town three weeks in a row, I am enjoying the break. I wish things had gone better at Turkey City, but I think the fact it was fiasco may help it in the long run. One of the participants told me via email he felt I was perfectly justified in letting people know how I felt, and also that the feedback I had received was worthless.
The chairman has already indicated he is turning over the hosting of the next one to another member. (There's actually going to be one Oct. 14 called by Bruce Sterling himself, but we're looking beyond that.) Howard Waldrop, who founded the workshop in the 1970s with George Proctor, apparently is coming out with a Papal Bull on what needs to be done, but it's taking a while to getr to members - since Howard doesn't use the internet. He had to send it to somone to email.

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