Dear Lord, where do I even begin?
To be fair, attending WorldCon, a.k.a. LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio, was not a life-changing experience. Becoming an author was, for sure, and the con was more part of that than anything else. (There are other experiences, by the way, that do rank much higher than becoming an author. Like becoming a husband and a father. Priorities, people!)
That said, my first WorldCon — my very first SF/F convention, in fact — was an excellent thing. If I were in a video game, there would’ve been an authorial “achievement unlocked” icon popping up over my head every five minutes. The SF/F community is supportive, welcoming, kind, funny…and can get its collective drink on like you wouldn’t believe.
First off…I have fans. I mean, sure, I can count ’em on fingers and toes, but they’re out there. I was told by folks how much they loved The Daedalus Incident and how much they’re looking forward to The Enceladus Crisis and the third yet-to-be-named book. One person tracked me down at a party for a signature. That’s incredibly awesome, and did my heart and soul much good. I hope my future books do right by you guys.
The authors I met for the first time were uniformly amazing and welcoming. Folks like Chuck Wendig, Kevin Hearne, David Liss, Alvaro Zinos-Amar, Matthew Johnson, San Sykes, Mur Lafferty (SHINY CAMPBELL WINNER), Django Wexler, Wesley Chu, Drew Carpyshyn, Brian McClellan, Josh Vogt, Scott Lynch, and so many others are really great people to hang with. (A special shout-out goes out to agency-mates Hugh Howey and Gail Carriger!) Folks I had met before, like Mary Robinette Kowal (SHINY HUGO WINNER), Steven Gould, John Scalzi (SHINY HUGO WINNER), Myke Cole and (again) so many others did not run screaming when I approached. It was most kind of them.
The Booksworn & Friends party crew deserves a special mention, because we’ve interacted a lot, but never met until this past weekend. Betsy Dornbusch, Courtney Schafer, John Hornor Jacobs, Zachary Jernigan, Emma Newman, Katy Stauber, Chester Hoster, Douglas Hulick, Stina Leicht and Martha Wells are all fabulous people. And the party…man. I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s just say I went on my first beer run in two decades because of these people. And people were willing to eat a bug to get my book. Wow.
I also got a chance to meet bloggers and podcasters with whom I had blogged and podcasted, but never met face to face. That includes John DiNardo and Patrick Hester of SFSignal (SHINY HUGO WINNERS), Shaun Duke and Jen Zink of Skiffy and Fanty, and Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review. Justin and Myke also threw a pretty epic party, along with Steve Drew of the r/fantasy Reddit…thing…. I’m gonna learn more about Reddit soon, promise.
Finally, I have to say it was fantastic hanging with friends and agency-mates Michael R. Underwood and (now New York Times bestselling author!) Jason M. Hough once more.
I promise, this isn’t a name-dropping thing. These are all excellent people who shared their time, wisdom (alleged and otherwise) and alcohol with a newbie. My regret is that I know I’m forgetting people, which pains me. Because again, these are really great folks. Thank you to all of those listed above, and to those I missed.
(Edit: For example, I scandalously omitted Chris Garcia, who is a whirling, hirsute ball of joy and cheer. On the bright side, he now has a whole paragraph of his own, and deservedly so.)
In addition, I want to give a shout-out to The Twig Book Store for hosting a great signing for a bunch of us last Saturday. And the folks who put together and staffed the SFWA suite and booth did an awesome job, too. Of course, the convention staff itself put together a great show.
Let’s see, what else…right, the parties. Man, can these people throw down! It reminded me of college. Just…wow. I had quite a bit of fun, but not too much. I’m getting too old and out-of-practice for it. Being an author at a WorldCon is pretty sweet, because there were very few times I had to buy my own drinks, or food for that matter. Definitely added to the shininess.
And finally, here are some of my favorite moments of the con:
- In my first panel, when I mentioned that The Daedalus Incident had been released just three weeks ago, the room burst into applause. I managed to keep it together, but it was a close thing.
- For the Drinks With Authors party (the one hosted by Steve, Myke and Justin), I signed a medieval helmet along with several dozen other authors. My signature is right next to George R.R. Martin’s. The helmet is being auction for charity.
- Yes, I met George briefly. No, I did not dare to tell him to get writing. Patience, people. It’s done when it’s done!
- The aforementioned fan who tracked me down, naturally. And the many others who showed support for my work. I signed many books this weekend, and it will never get old.
But the big one for me was meeting Harry Turtledove, the bestselling author who’s pretty much the guy in alternate history. And he’s also the nicest guy you can imagine. We chatted for a goodly time right on the show floor, and I gleaned a lot — so much so that I gave him the last copy of Daedalus I had on hand just to try to give him something in return. (Being the mensch he is, Harry offered to go buy it instead!) And he had me sign it. I mean…wow. Just a fantastic guy. It meant a lot. Thanks, Harry — I’m playing in the genre sandbox you helped create.
I’m going to have more thinky thoughts on WorldCon (hence the Part I), but for now, I’m just happy and exhausted and content. More later.
(Sorry for the lack of links on the above names and sites. There is too much, but they are all well worth the Googling.)