Now that my local Science Fiction and Fantasy convention has become an annual tradition, it's becoming harder and harder to divide my time between all the interesting panels and readings, and visiting with writerly friends old and new. ArmadilloCon has become something between a con and a reunion.
I am naturally pretty outgoing, and writing is a very solitary endeavor so a good con can be a real inspiration. I invariably end the weekend exhausted, but also energized -- ready to write ALL the things!
This year was an embarrassment of riches with two guests: Guest of Honor, Ted Chiang, a fascinating writer of deep and thoughtful stories; and Special Guest of Honor, Ian McDonald, who writes expansive novels set all over the world (India, Turkey, Brazil) and beyond (Mars).
Mario Acevedo came down from Denver to be the toastmaster. Funny and full of interesting stories, he was the right man for the job. He writes books about an ex solder who is now a vampire and a private detective. Here's his character's tagline: Felix Gomez went to Iraq a soldier. He came back a vampire. Nice! I don't usually read books with vampires in them, but his take has me interested.
The editor Guest of Honor was Jacob Weisman from Tachyon Publications. Of the books he had in the dealers' room, I already own quite a few (Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by Triptree, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipsream Anthology, The Dog Said Bow Wow by Swanwick). Still, I managed to find a couple to add to add to my library (a copy of Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip and The Madonna and the Starship by James Morrow).
This year I volunteered for the Writer's Workshop. It was fascinating to have a peek behind the curtain and see how Marshall Ryan Maresca and Stina Leicht pull this great workshop together. I'll definitely be back to help again next year.
I got to hang out with my local author buddies Patrice Sarath, K. G. Jewell, Nicky Drayden, and D. L. Young. I also met Cassandra Rose Clarke and picked up her YA book The Wizard's Promise. By the time I met Skyler White, my book buying budget was running low, so I decided to put The Incrementalists, which she co wrote with Stephen Brust, on my short list to acquire and read soon.
I heard Michelle Muenzler read a couple wonderful stories and Rachel Acks read her excellent They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain, soon to be available in Lightspeed's Women Destroy Science Fiction anthology.
This year's con was just the right mix of good friends and new faces.
I'm inspired and ready to tackle my very own novel!