November 22nd, 2006

Con Report

So I went to Philcon this past weekend.  It had its good points, but overall I wasn't too thrilled with it.  Nothing personal to the gamers out there, but this particular con seemed to be geared more toward them.  The literary side of thing, which is my preference, was treated like an afterthought.  Moderators were often not aware they were moderating panels until they arrived.  Contradictory information was listed as to where various panels were taking place, often leaving people late or in the dark.  There was absolutely no organization concerning author readings and signings.  Everything was thrown together at the last minute, which treats the authors like second-rate citizens.  Also, on Saturday night the hotel closed the bar at 7 p.m.  Considering how many industry types like to drink or hang out the bar during cons, well, that's just plain unnacceptable.

Still, the con wasn't a total loss.  Some of the editorial panels were really cool.  I had a chance to hear several editors talk for the first time, including Gardner Dozois, Sheila Williams, George Scithers, and Andy Wheeler (and others, although their names are escaping me).  Also heard Michael Swanwick & Charlie Stross at a couple of panels, and this was very cool.  I also spoke with one important editor who told me it would be okay to resubmit to his magzine after I recently scored a near-miss (or to put it in his words: "Oh, that one came close.")  So I got my schmoozing in this weekend.  Also, one of the nice things about having editors for friends is that they don't get annoyed when you run your ideas by them about a rewrite for the magazine I'll be resubmitting to.  So over lunch I brainstormed with the Slush God & Chris Cevasco (part of my con crew this weekend, along with Amy Tibbetts) about what I had in mind for my revisions, and they helped me tweak it accordingly.  Also spent time talking shop with my agent, Jenny Rappaport, and caught up with some writer friends, including Barbara Campbell, Larry Taylor, David Louis Edelman, and Lawrence Schoen.  And let's not forget that I tried my first authentic Philly Cheese Steak.  Fantastic!

All that said, I don't think I'll be attending Philcon next year.  But I'll definitely be returning to the SFWA Reception next year.  The place was packed with pros, and it was an absolute blast.  I went last year and had fun, but this year was even better, probably because I know more people in the industry now.  I was running into people all night.  The night started out with dinner in the city, featuring lots of people from Philcon and a few other notables, including Elaine Isaak & Tobias Buckell, and the lovely Jae Brim.  From there it was networking and catching up with acquaintances old and new all night.  I left around 11 p.m. although I really wanted to stay.  But I knew I'd be a zombie at work the next day so I did what I had to.  Alas.  There were so many damn people there, and I just can't begin to list them all, but it was great talking with all of you! (Oh, and I'll add that I got to meet Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy, which was pretty damn cool).

And that's it.  No more cons for me this year, but I'll be back on the circuit next year . . .quite possibly in ways I haven't been before.  And on that note of mystery . . .Happy Thanksgiving!