On Friday morning I packed up and joined Rae Carson and C.C. Finlay for the five hour drive to Chicago so I could spend the weekend with writers, readers, editors, and various fans who all gathered at Chicon 7, this year’s worldcon.
I didn’t advertise much that I would be there. And I also withdrew from panels and events. This is the first trip that I paid for out of my own pocket for in a long time, and when I looked at what I enjoyed the most, it’s that water-cooler time with other writers that I was looking for. I also wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to travel up there and for how long, so I didn’t want to commit to things and then have to cancel them and disappoint people. Or add to chaos.
In fact, once people realized I was coming, I kept refusing any requests to meet, go off-site for meals, and so on, so that I could preserve my strength and stamina. I have worked hard to get stronger, walk further, and lose weight to help my heart, so I look a lot more trim than I used to. But I still tire easily and mask it well. So I decided to insist on remaining in the hotel and floating around on my own terms and schedule.
And I’m glad I did. I had a wonderful Worldcon. I arrived sometime Friday early evening. I had to leave somewhat early, on Sunday, but it was a blast to meander around with my badge tucked away and run into friends, make new friends, and surprise a lot of people that didn’t know I was coming (in fact I had three experiences where I had long conversations with people who read my books and enjoyed them and didn’t know who I was until someone introduced me or they asked my name and then got a sudden freaked out squee, which was fun)!
In fact, Matt Forbeck’s stunned expression at a late Friday party when he saw me and realized I was there was the highlight of my entire con. Right after that, I got this picture with him and writer and longtime twitter pal Chuck Wendig:
One of the other few things I agreed to was to accept Karen Lord’s Parallax award from the Carl Brandon Society for her novel Redemption in Indigo. It was awfully nice of Karen to ask me to do this, and I adore that book, so it was great to read a snippet of it for the audience on Karen’s behalf. The Carl Brandon folks were fantastic, and it was nice to meet many of them in person for the first time.
I’m crap at remembering things, and names. There is something of a haze already on the parade of conversations, but I had a great deal of fun meeting new friends and catching up to old friends. In fact, I really did my best to not constantly flit around to catch new conversations, but stay in place and just float as needed. And as a result, it was very cool.
At the dealer room, John Teehan asked me to swing by and see the newly printed copies of the print version of my collection Nascence:
Al Bogdan took this picture of me and Rob Sawyer catching up briefly at the Tor Party.
Lastly, I met one of my long time readers Joey Shoji again. I was waiting for my ride back to Ohio, and almost ready to leave the con. I remember Joey (and will always) as being one of the first readers to show up at a signing of mine with all my books (at the time it was 4 anthologies with my stories in them) and have me sign everything. He had Arctic Rising with him, and I signed it.
And then Joey handed me a gift, and walked off. And I wanted to thank him here, because I didn’t do nearly a good enough job and was totally caught off guard by what he’d given me, which was my favorite scotch, Glenrothes:
It’s perfect, because the smaller bottles are great. I currently can only tolerate a small tasting amount of scotch and go through it very slowly, even if I still enjoy it. And I’ve never found Glenrothes any older than 1996 around here. So this sampler is quite a treat for me.
That was just an amazing, surprising note to end on. Thank you, Joey.
And thank you to everyone I met, both new friends and old, while there.