Quick Denvention Updatery

The first two days of Denvention were the ones in which I was the most heavily programmed, with a numbers of panels plus a signing and reading, and I’m very happy to say that all of them went off very well. In particular I thought the reading was very good. As you may remember, I wasn’t actually scheduled for a reading, but my friend Mary Robinette Kowal offered to split her time with me, and we had a great deal of fun alternating reading short stories.

The highlight of the reading for me was when we joined forces and Mary read the first chapter of “The Sagan Diary,” which I wrote. In this picture (graciously sent to me by Tom Suter), you can see me watching Mary as she reads from the story. What you can’t see all that well is that I’ve tears running down my face. I can’t actually read TSD in public because I can’t through reading it without getting choked up; apparently I can’t get through it when Mary reads it without doing the same. She’s very excellent.

Today and tomorrow I’m very lightly programmed; today I have to attend the Sidewise Awards, at which I am a nominee for this story, and then tomorrow I have a kaffeklatsch and the Hugo awards ceremony. In case you’re wondering, I’m feeling rather relaxed about the last of these, in particular because I’ve spent quality time here at Denvention with most of my fellow nominees in my categories, and I like of them enough to be delighted for them if they win. It’s nice when it works out that way. But not being completely slammed for programming the next couple days means I have time to visit and hang out with friends and fans, which in the end is mostly what Worldcons are about: A massive gathering of the sf/f geek tribe.

Have a good Friday; I’ll check in with all y’all later.

30 Comments on “Quick Denvention Updatery”

  1. My author friend Lawrence Watt-Evans will at the kaffeklatsch aswell. You guys will have a blast.

  2. Just so you know, my wife hates you. Or more correctly, hates that you write such excellent books. I’ve been getting so engrossed in reading “The Last Colony” that I’ve been staying up till midnight reading. Which makes it almost impossible for her to get me up in the morning, and then I’m grumpy to boot. 3/4’s of the way through so only have another night or two to add to her misery.

  3. I’ve spent quality time here at Denvention with most of my fellow nominees in my categories, and I like of them enough to be delighted for them if they win.

    Yeah. There’ve already been multiple sightings of your ninja assassin team training near Denver. There’s actually a pool going on about how much time the Hugo winner (assuming he’s not you) will have to enjoy the award.

  4. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, cranky.

    MRK kicks ass in many glorious ways. I have to say her chapters from TSD have become my favorites, edging out even the velvet voice Cherie Priest.

    The gentle furrow on your brow speaks of tears. I bet hearing her read it in person is quite powerful.

  5. The thing Scalzi didn’t say was that at the end I had teared up, too. The Sagan Diary is quite possibly the most perfect love letter ever written.

  6. Yea, with The Sagan Diaries you really blew your facade of snarky blogger who wrote some military SF ’cause that’s what was on the shelf when you wandered by the bookstore one day and thought it would sell.

    It’s nigh literary.

    My wife who’s working on becoming a literary academic approves of the word “interstices” in the first chapter, as it’s one of her favorites.

    Did anyone record the reading by MRK? We’d all love to hear it!

  7. The Sagan Diaries were my first exposure to John’s book writin’s, so I knew he could write. It was lovely.

    There are recorded readings available here from a whiles ago, including MRK’s renditions of the Preface and Chapters One, Seven, and Eight. It’s not the same as the one at Denvention of course, but it will tide ye over.

    Personally I like best Elizabeth Bear’s reading of Chapter Two, which is also my favorite chapter in book or audio form.

    John, I love the picture. Your expression looks so soft. Of course there’s also the soft lighting in the picture to do that. Still though.

    Good luck to all the nominees!

  8. Lovely picture, John. Kudos to Tom Suter.

    I was sorry to have missed the reading AND the Liberals and Military Sci-Fi panel. It sounded fabulous. I had to earn my Friday off by working on Thursday, unfortunately. >:(

    Yesterday I had a completely geeked out moment meeting Elizabeth Moon. I’ll try not to be incoherent if I manage to meet you today. :)

  9. I very much enjoyed the readings. Your readings were the only ones i managed to get to unfortunately, but it was a definite con highlight for me. And now I have a huge urge to go find the audio version of The Sagan Diaries, and I’m generally not a fan of audiobooks

  10. Real men aren’t afraid to cry. TSD jerked more than a tear or two from me, as well. I feel, perhaps, that was the intention.

    You’re good at this wording thing. You thought of doing it for a living?

  11. I’m so sorry that this is off topic, but i just got into your novels, and I love the crap out of them! I’ll try to be on-topic next time.

  12. Not sure if you have time or are checking e-mail, but if I can buy you a drink at the con, I sent an e-mail to your address. Otherwise, have a great con.

  13. Thank you for the excellent kaffeeklatchness, John! I had an absolute blast. (I know you won’t see this until well after the Hugoness, but what the hey.) Sorry I didn’t manage to get my wits in order in time to (briefly) introduce you to my husband shortly thereafter (the nice man in the white shirt to whom you caught me most uncouthly griping on our way back to the hotel). Perhaps we will all meet up at the bar or consuite or whatnot and I can make up for the lack of introductions (and the gripiness). Over a game of Girl Genius: The Works, perhaps, or a confetti-throwing rematch. Or something.

  14. ytimynona – FLORIDA – I'm a big wannabe. Wannabe a truck driver, PotUS, scientist, writer, and teacher. Well, I already am a teacher. :-)
    Anny Mouse

    I echo the kudos… the photography is excellent!!!
    And thanks to Arachne Jericho for the link!!!!

  15. Congrats on the Fan Writer Hugo, John! and Congrats to Mary Robinette Kowal, as well. A most worthy addition to the list of Campbell Award winners!

  16. Congratulations, John, on the win. It was well deserved, especially considering your great features like The Big Idea.

    Congratulations also to MRK! Well deserved.

  17. On topic of WorldCon, but not of the reading.

    How many people did you get to autograph the naughty hamster book?

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