Toronto Recap

So, how did my trip to Toronto go? Quick recap:

1. The Friends of the Merril Collection offered to pay for a plane ticket, but I ended up driving because I had other travel coming up which might have dovetailed with the Toronto trip but the dates weren’t confirmed until last Wednesday, by which time the cost of a plane ticket from Dayton to Toronto was $1,500. Which seemed excessive. So I got in the car instead. It’s not a short trip — 435 miles and close to eight hours — but it wasn’t as bad as all that, since Southern Ontario in late April is pretty. That said, driving to Toronto and back with only a day between is a lot of driving, and I’m not hugely in a rush to do it again. Next time: taking a plane.

2. Friday I spent most of the day in the company of Chris Szego of Bakka-Phoenix Books, who was a lovely hostess and who walked me all through Toronto with sightseeing. We walked for several miles, which was the most exercise I’ve gotten in a while, alas, and my body was more than happy to inform me of it once we has stopped long enough for my leg muscles to seize up. I ended up taking some aspirin before I went to bed. Chris of course should not be blamed for my sloth coming back to kick my ass, and as noted it really was a fine time seeing more of Toronto than I have before.

3. After all the sight-seeing we did end up at Bakka-Phoenix, where I filmed an interview with Space, the Canadian science fiction television channel, and got a chance to catch up with Michelle Sagara West and Leah Bobet, who were excellent company. Bakka-Phoenix is one of my favorite book stores on the North American continent, and is jam-packed with the books of many of my writer friends, so getting a chance to hang out there for a bit was a Very Good Thing.

4. We got to the Merril Collection a little bit early, in order to let the folks there give me a tour of their stacks. For those of you who don’t know what the Merril Collection is, it’s one of the most comprehensive collections of science fiction literature (if not in fact the most comprehensive collection) in the world. The reference stacks there are climate and humidity controlled and feature a genuinely staggering amount of science fiction, fantasy and horror, including rare first editions, author manuscripts, and science fiction pulp magazines going back to the 1920s. In short, a true Geek Mecca, and one of those places every geek should visit before they die (because visiting it after you die will not do as much for you).

5. I am deeply relieved to say that my talk was well attended (we had people standing in the back — sorry, folks), and what you missed by not being there was me reading the first two chapters of Fuzzy Nation — its global debut, in point of fact — followed by roughly an hour of general blather, because I do try to give value for my appearance fee, and then the ritual defacing of books with my signature. I think it all went pretty well, but I’m not the one to ask about that. But if nothing else I had fun. Afterward Chris, Leah, Michelle and I went for a post-blatheration drink accompanied by Lesley Livingston, the fabulous YA author who as it happens was one of the very first people I met in this whole wacky science fiction/fantasy community, because we hung out at Torcon 3, which was my very first ever science fiction convention. It was really cool to be able to catch up with her.

6. The only downside to any of this is that my netbook took this opportunity to die on me — fortunately after I used it for my reading, but even so. I suspect it’s my fault for not making sure it was entirely shut down before stuffing it into my travel bag after the reading and then walking all over Toronto with it, but no matter what it makes me a little sad. It was a good little netbook. Of course, now I’m in the clear to buy an iPad if I want to, which is something Krissy noted to me when I announced the demise of the netbook. I think she may suspect I intentionally killed the little dude. For the record, I would totally not ever do such a thing. Totally not ever, man.

To sum up: Toronto is a wonderful city full of wonderful people (mostly Canadian!) who treated me very well while I was there. I had a grand time and look forward to visiting again. Thanks for  having me, and especially thanks for coming out and seeing me while I was there. I look forward to coming back some time, sooner rather than later.


Merril Update; More Travel

My little netbook seems to have kicked it, so this update is from the iPod and will be brief. In short the Merril talk went well, I think, and the people were lovely and fun to be with. Now I’m totally wiped out, in a good way, and plan to lose consciousness in very short order. In the morning I’ll be off to home and will update again when I get there with more details. But for the moment: Thanks, Toronto. I had tons of fun.

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