I’m back from Philcon, and relatively unscathed by the return travel — unlike the flight in, my trip back was not appreciably delayed by weather and/or airline incompetence and/or mysterious creatures on the wing at 20,000 feet, so that’s all to the good. It’s nice to be back home, however; four days is enough time away from the family, I think.
I had a pretty good time at Philcon. Organizationally the con had some challenges this year — there was some confusion regarding a number of program items, mostly relating to when and where they were — but I thought the quality of the panels that I participated in or attended was pretty high (independent of my own involvement), and I got to see a number of folks who I had hoped to spend a bit of time with. Primary among them was Charlie Stross, who you see above having a rare moment when he was not programmed to the gills with panels or appearances or whatnot, because Charlie was the convention’s “Principal Speaker” — i.e., Guest of Honor. Charlie’s always a big ball of fun to hang with, because he’s always doing something interesting and is very enthusiastic about telling you about it. We should all be having as much fun. Also, as an aside, it’s interesting to be in a community of people whose most celebrated individuals can walk around in a “Spongebob Cthulhupants” T-shirt and no one thinks twice about it.
At this point I’m wary of doing the namedrop thing because I inevitably forget people who I had fun talking to (or remember them but totally space out on their names, which I hate), but some of the folks I hung with include the mentioned-in-a-previous-entry MaryAnn Johansen and Bonnie-Ann Black, the SF Editor Mafia, which includes John Joseph Adams, Doug Cohen and Chris Cevasco, agent Jenny Rappaport and her excellent boyfriend (whose name I’m blanking on at the moment but I think is Chris), Diane Turnshek, David Louis Edelman, Ellen Asher and Andrew Wheeler from SFBC, Nathan Lilly, Ernest Lilley, Bud Sparrowhawk, Neil Clarke and Joshua Palmatier. I saw and/or was on panels with and/or spoke at parties to lots of other obscenely fascinating folks, too, but as I mentioned before, my brain is Swiss cheese at the moment. I would note that the con folks were lovely to me as well, particularly Suzanne Rosin, Hugh Casey and Alex Jay Berman.
One interesting thing about Philcon was that the hotel it was at had a number of other very interesting organizations there over the course of the weekend as well. There was a large contingent of runners there for the Philadelphia Marathon, which was apparently on Sunday, there was a Mayoral fundraiser on Saturday, and there were not one but two major religious gatherings as well, one apparently for black women, and the other for the Knights of Columbus. For the latter of these, I saw a man in a cardinal get-up; it took me just a fraction of a second to remember he wasn’t in costume for the con. For the former, the singing and music just about drowned out one of the panels I was on; it was occasionally hard to concentrate on the subject of whether SF has swung to the political right when “Hallalujah!” was being bellowed in gospel tones a couple doors down. But aside from that, all the groups seem to have co-existed peacefully. Truly, a lesson for us all.
Naturally, since I was away from Athena for a couple of days, I had to get her something from the con; I decided on a cute little stuffed bunny, based on the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I think Athena liked it:
Honestly, my kid’s a riot.
In any event, Philcon: Good people and a fun time.