Home Again, Home Again. . . .

. . . back from Chicon, aka World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, maybe six hours at home as I start to compose this, skimming (deleting) email and reconciling with cave cat Wednesday.  But, ah, in Chicago — the first day was mostly finding my way around the convention hotel, a complex two-tower multifloor affair with some floors connected by escalators, some not but reachable by shifting to the other tower on one of two floors that had connecting passages (or running across the street at ground level), using an escalator there, then shifting back.  I always check out the specific rooms my events will be in too (one couldn’t be reached by escalator at all, but most conveniently by  back staircase — this was the room my reading would be in*).  It works, though.  I learned my way around quickly, then walked about five blocks to my hotel on the other side of the Chicago River to get checked in there, then back for a ham and/or roast beef sandwich dinner in the con suite (between that and the green room and the SFWA suite, I pretty well sandwiched and saladed my way through the whole convention — I was there on a tight budget — and my hat’s off to the convention staff for  providing plenty of substantial, good food).  And I even went to a panel on short stories, plus did a mini-reading at the DAILY SCIENCE FICTION first year print anthology celebration.

I make this brief.  Friday was Panel Day, that is panels for me, with three spaced across the day:  Vampires, Zombies, and Dark Fairy Tales (see August 7 for actual titles and descriptions) with me also as moderator for all three.  As I explained on Fairy Tales, the first two had been based on my suggestions to the Programming Committee and so I deserved to be moderator while the third was probably, by then, force of habit on the Committee’s part.  All three went well though, the six Vampire novel finalists as chosen by the Horror Writers Association jury last January being discussed in depth and just about filling up the panel’s time, with enough left over for a poll of the audience, then announcing which novel in fact had been chosen the Vampire Novel of the Century (answer:  Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND which, among other things, inspired the current zombie subgenre — see also April 2, et al.).  Zombies surprised me a little in that it was based on a panel I’d created some years back at World Fantasy Convention in which much of the discussion was on the original Haitian beliefs about zombies, whereas the panelists here spent most of their time on contemporary treatments (“the Zombie of Popular Culture”) as metaphor for current social concerns.  After all that, I also found time to listen to a half hour paper (in the scholarly track) on “Evil in Lovecraft and Tolkein.”  (I should add too that I was well impressed as a moderator by the panelists on all three of my Friday panels as being extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.  I think the audiences were pleased as well.)

Saturday began with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Sumptuous Breakfast and Business Meeting, after which Mary Turzillo and I chatted a bit, about the closest (other than poets who might have given individual readings) Worldcon came to having anything resembling poetry programming.  I also, for better or for worse, volunteered to be on a committee to be run by Catherynne Valente to recommend membership criteria for poets for SFWA, having been involved with that for HWA a few years ago as well as becoming an Active Member of SFWA on poetry credits many more years back before SFWA decided to disallow membership criteria for poets (and also having  been at the business meeting when the disallowance came about).  “Déjà vu all over again?”  I also attended panels (no longer having ones of my own) on “From Rockets to Rhetoric” and “Turn Up the Steam” (on Steampunk).  Saturday was also my day for an autograph session.

Sunday brought my 10 a.m. reading, a “Half Hour of Vampires” in which I read poetry followed by the story ”La Fatale” (see May 29), the latter to appear in the Winter issue of WHITE CAT MAGAZINE, to about a half dozen people (well, granted one had come early for the following session on screenwriting, but he sat through the story and said he enjoyed it).  I also attended panels on “Committing Series,” “Looking Forward to the Post Apocalyptic World,” and “Stalking the Elusive Story Idea” as well as spending time in the film room.

Then Monday it was the con suite for breakfast and on to the “L” for the ride to the airport (Blue Line to O’Hare) and . . . again to home.

Other activities during the con included watching the costume contest, meeting old friends (including my old college senior-year girlfriend, but all of us are old these days, aren’t we), but not attending the Hugos except for the dramatic ones, in which I had rather hoped the movie HUGO would get the Hugo (but it didn’t).

*Wonderfully named the Addams Room!

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