Quick Note on Confluence

My experience with Confluence this weekend can be summed up thusly: What a lovely convention. It was well-run, the people who ran it were excellent and kept me well-stocked with Coke Zero, the attendees were very cool and seemed happy to see me, my co-panelists were all smart and engaged, and overall I had just a fine time. One highlight was spending a little time with the teens of the Alpha writing workshop, who were all very smart and didn’t in fact stab me for the Teen Writing Advice article; another highlight (for me, at least), was just after the con, when my friend Sari Gruber, whom I had not seen in real life for quite some time, dropped by so we could catch up. The nice thing about old friends is how little the passing of time actually matters.

So, again: Just a lovely time. Thank you, Pittsburgh, it was grand. I’ll be back.

22 Comments on “Quick Note on Confluence”

  1. John, I’m very glad the Alpha group was to your liking. I sort of wish there were more like them around.

    @Captain: Definitely no stabbitys. Not even when John let me see that beauty of a pocket-knife.

    T’was a good con.

  2. John, I’m concerned about the Coke Zero. As a fan, it’s in my best interest to have you healthy so you can write many more books. I know you’re trying to decrease your Buddha belly, so maybe, just maybe (don’t kill me for suggesting this) you should also decrease your Coke Zero. Even though the whole thing is that, yeah, it’s zero calories. All that high fructose corn syrup can’t be good for you. I’m just sayin’.

  3. Patrick M:

    You know how clique-ish the SF community is. You stab one Hugo-winning author and editors refuse to read your stuff forever. It’s like wearing white after Labor Day in East Hampton. Also, Scalzi would snark them unmercifully if he survived. And you know how bad that gets.

  4. Ever since an unfortunate incident in ’89 when Harlan Ellison hosted a panel called “None Of You Are Man Enough To Stab Me,” distributed pen knives at the door, and spent the first fifteen minutes mocking both science fiction AND Steelers fans while periodically spraying the audience with an ammonia-filled Super Soaker, I’m afraid that Confluence has had a zero tolerance policy with regard to stabbings.

    It makes the con less lively than in the old days, but it DOES help attract better guests.

  5. @allium: Exactly. Which made mocking Steelers fans back then the moral equivalent of taunting cancer patients.

    (Seriously, Grandma did not appreciate those wig and vomiting jokes. Lesson learned.)

  6. I’m glad they were smart and didn’t stab you, John. Of all the four possible combinations of smart/stupid and stab/¬stab, that’s the best one!

    Hmm. I’m not sure which of smart+stab and stupid+¬stab is worse, come to think of it…it would depend how long you had to work with them. Given that it was probably a two-hour session, being stabbed is likely worse than working with stupid students. With a day-long workshop, it’d get iffy.

    But that’s all moot, because you got the best of both! Congratulations.

  7. But no In’N’Out runners, so I’ll continue to feel all smug as a Californian. :P

  8. I’m so glad you enjoyed the conference! It is my hope that you are hopelessly hooked and become a regular guest! In addition, there are some really interesting places in Pittsburgh that your wife and daughter might enjoy if they choose to accompany you at some future date. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory, and National Aviary are all unique experiences.

  9. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the con. But I notice you didn’t mention the $3x panel–of course you don’t make mention of any other specific panel so there is that. ;) Maybe next year?
    Everyone I spoke to had nothing to say but wonderful things about your GOH speech.
    Thank you so much for being a part of Confluence 2009!
    Karen Yun-Lutz
    Program Co-Chair

  10. Pittsburgh is indeed a wonderful place to have a convention. Glad to hear you had a good time! :>

  11. Dear John; Your GOH speech was indeed a treat. The Pittsburgh con has had some monumentally dreadful GOH speeches…Connie Willis _read_ us a chapter from one of her books…although I am sure the illiterati among us found it fascinating, everyone else found it sleep-inducing…I forget who last year’s GOH was, but whoever he was, he and his agent sat side by side on the platform and _mumbled_ to each other as a GOH address…yes, you may be thinking you would not have to be GREAT to be better than these two wretched examples, but consider the happy laughter, smiles and applause you gleaned, that is proof that your talk was greatly enjoyed by all.
    Best wishes,
    — Jean

  12. “The nice thing about old friends is how little the passing of time actually matters”

    Nice line. How true.

  13. adelheid @ 15 —

    Don’t forget the Pittsburgh Zoo and Kennywood Park, two of our favorite things to do when we’re in that part of the world.

    Seriously, the Pittsburgh Zoo is a treasure, and I say that as somebody who lives within two hours of both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

    And Kennywood is unique.

  14. @20 Nick — I also didn’t mention the Carnegie Science Center, famous Monongahela Incline and Grandview Overlook or the Andy Warhol Museum. I thought mentioning all the gems in one comment would be overwhelming. ;-) We want John Scalzi (and possibly family) to keep coming back for more!

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