ConFusion was the first regional con I ever went to, not that many years ago (I didn’t start going to SF conventions until after I sold Old Man’s War, after all), and it continues to be one of my favorites: It’s well-run, has good guests and a varied and interesting selection of fans. Basically, a fun time all the way around. This year was, happily, much of the same.
The good news for me was that last year’s “tradition” of fans coming up and kissing the top of my skull seems to have died an ignominious death, which I appreciate; sure, it was amusing to be the subject of random cranial osculation one year, but having it happen two years running would be a bit much. The only person who planted a smacker was Chuck Firment (i.e., the Guest of Honor last year what started the whole craze anyway), and he can get away with it because he’s a friend of mine, and also (as I’ve already warned him, with a maniacal laugh) next year I’m planning my revenge upon him. Bwa ha ha ha hah! Heh. Anyway, scurrilous rumors you may have heard of mass head-kissings or me being subjected to a hallway cuddle pile of furries or whatever are all simply untrue. Untrue! And I’m going to keep saying it until I believe it.
I’m also happy to say that my programming went very well; I had three panels, all of which were lots of fun thanks to the participants. The first, on Saturday, was on unusual characters in science fiction, for which I was on a panel with Anne Harris and convention Guest of Honor Elizabeth Moon, both of whom are fascinating panelists; we talked about what it means to have be “unusual” in fiction (versus being unusual in real life), the problem of characters so alien that readers can’t relate, and other various issue of interest. Later that day I was on a panel on “Committing Trilogy” with Karl Schroeder, Steven Harper Piziks, Toby Buckell and Jim Frenkel. The discussion broadened slightly to include series as well as trilogies, and we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of writing trilogies and series, both from an artistic and commercial perspective (briefly, the upside is that people like series; the downside is that if they stop liking them, you’re in deep trouble).
On Sunday, Toby and I were slotted in with Elizabeth Moon to talk about what it’s like to become a fiction writer when you’ve been a journalist; I think initially none of us had a clue about how to discuss the particular topic, but once we got started I think it became a very interesting discussion indeed. So out of three panels, I had three good ones, which is a nice batting average to have. So here I tip my hat to ConFusion programming director Rikhei Harris — she did an excellent job, at least in programming me.
For me, however, conventions are mostly about the folks I get to see there, so spending a bit of time with people I already know and people I’ve newly met is lots of fun. On the “people I already know” front there were the aforementioned Karl and Toby (and their lovely respective spouses Janice and Emily), Dave Klecha and his group of excellent pals who I have filed in my mind as “The Klecha Clutch,” and the ConFusion con folk who include Rikhei, Jeff Beeler, Matt Arnold among many others.
Among the new folks I got to spend a bit of time with was PZ Myers, the famed science blogger and the convention’s Science Guest of Honor; he’s got a nicely dry sense of humor and is as interesting in real life as in his blog. I also got a few moment to spend with Bill Higgins, the Fan Guest of Honor, who was a lot of fun to chat with and who should avoid manhole covers from now on (long story). And I met Yanni Kuznia, who I noticed actually a couple of years ago at Penguicon because she and husband can hit a dance floor and cut a rug well enough to make the rest of us look like twitching monkeys. Turns out that in addition to being a fabulous dancer she’s also a hell of an interesting person; it’s always nice when it works out like that (she and her friends were there to promote their TV show InZer0, which has a MySpace page, of course). Among Whatever commenters I spent some time with Steve Buchheit and also saw Hugh57 at my panels. I saw and hung out with tons more people than this, of course, but it’s till early in the morning and my brain is like swiss cheese. So forgive me if I missed you in the shoutout.
I’ll be returning to ConFusion next year; I kind of have to, because I’ll be a guest of honor; specifically, I’ll be the Toastmaster. You should come; we’ll be having lots of fun.