As most of you know, I spent Memorial Day weekend in Orlando, Florida for the Oasis 21 science fiction convention, at which I was a special guest. I’m happy to say I had a really good time. Oasis was intimately-sized, and I tried to make myself available as much as possible just by hanging out, so I got the change to have a bunch of nice long conversations with a number of guests and fans, which is always neat. And I got to meet a whole bunch of fans and writers I’d not had a chance to meet before, which is a benefit of going to a convention in a part of the US I’d never been to before.
The organizers and staff of Oasis took excellent care of me the whole convention, although I would single out two particularly helpful fellows: First, Jay Eichelberger, who picked up me and my family from the airport and also dropped us off, and in the interim period also kept an eye on me just in case there was anything else I needed — like, for example, chocolates, which I did in fact need, for reasons that you had to be there to understand (Jay was also the only con staff member — indeed, the only person at Oasis save Guest of Honor David Gerrold — who actually saw either Krissy or Athena, since they were off at Disney/Universal/Atlantic Ocean the whole time). The other fellow was “Scruffy,” who presented me with a cooler of Coke Zero, which instantly made him a Hero of the Convention, as far as I was concerned.
I also got to spend time with Glennis LeBlanc, Mark Wingenfeld and Dan Foster, the booksellers at the convention, who suggested me as the convention’s special guest, and who were a heck of a lot of fun to hang out and gossip with. I’m glad they suggested me (and the suggestion was accepted).
Among the guests and fans, it was a kick to be able to spend some time with David Gerrold; he and I have crossed paths a few times before, most notably at the Heinlein convention, where we shared panels, but this was the first time I got to have some serious quality time with him; he’s a marvelous conversationalist and a generally excellent person. I also got some quality time with Deanna Hoak, who is my favorite copyeditor ever (no offense to the other excellent copyeditors who keep me from looking like an ass) and got to meet both Adam Troy-Castro and Gennita Low in the flesh for the first time. Gennita came up as a visitor to the con but I managed to dragoon her onto a panel I was on (about sex! Who-hoo!). She was excellent. Con organizers, take note.
I also want to take a moment to thank congoers Athena (a different one), Brian and Melinda for absconding with me and getting me out of the hotel for an hour, which was just the bit of decompression I needed, and also Christopher and Melissa for excellent conversation. And beyond them there were many excellent conversations with the con-goers, so many of whom seemed really pleased to see me. Which, you know, is what you want.
In all, a lovely time, and I’m glad I came. Thanks, Oasis, for having me.