Denvention - Friday

Jeri and I just dragged ourselves back from Denvention.
We got there late because we were a) chatting about writing and b) laughing our butts off reading the comments for Jim Wright's post inviting people to tell him why he's a jerk. Check in went very smoothly and so we went to the second half of a panel about scifi and questioning social norms. It was pretty much your standard scifi panel, with some very cogent discussion on how avant garde scifi is or isn't and how it contributes to the progress of ideas. Then we met up with Tania and went to a nearly 100% comedic panel including writing greats such as Connie Willis (who was adorable, funny, and smart as a whip), Greg Bear, and Jay Lake. The comedy part was the fact that there was no set discussion theme, they answered questions (sometimes wacky questions) from the audience.
After that, we went to a hotel restaurant (way high priced, we could have done better, but were too lazy) and chatted with Tania, her friend Lance, and Janiece and her Smart Man. We had a great time talking, and I had the (overpriced, but good) buffet so I could eat at whatever pace I felt like. We forgot to get photographic evidence -- of the meeting or the food.
In the afternoon, we wandered around the merchandizing area and looked at books, clever Tshirts, and jewelry. I tried on a corset. It wasn't too uncomfortable (though I didn't try to sit down) and was made well with some lovely brocades. Unfortunately, it was also $400. We left just in time to make it to a reading by Elizabeth Moon, except that it had been moved to a different room, far away. By the time we got there, we were late, of course, but were there in time to appreciate her reading an unpublished short story. She then took questions and she talked about her next book (in the Paksenarrion world!) and what the experience was like to write The Speed of Dark. I didn't have any books for her to sign, but I did go up and act like a completely geeky fan, saying "thank you for writing" and "your writing inspires me to do the same." I wish I had been more coherent, but I was a little unnerved, not by meeting her, but by my reaction to meeting her. It was odd.
Afterwards, we went back to the overpriced hotel bar and met Janiece and her Smart Man for drinks. We had a great time talking to them. I really enjoy their company. This was documented, and a picture can be found on Jeri's blog. They had to leave since Boogey, their dog, needed to be let out, fed, etc. but Jeri and I went back in for the Masquarade. That was essentially the costume competition. It ranged from merely well-designed gowns to whole productions including multiple costumed characters and singing and dancing. I particularly liked the velociraptors, the Elizabethan Faerie King and Queen, and the Chairman of the Borg (Frank Sinatra singing as if he were a Borg drone). Wil McCarthy did a brave job of MCing the process. That was about 1 1/2 hours long, so we just got home. Or rather, we had just gotten home when I started this post, but now it's much later.

Ooh, and now I'm eating yummy chocolates brought all the way from Seattle. Thank you to my houseguest, Jeri! [cue Homeresque gargle... chocolate!]


Nathan said...

I'm so jealous. It sounds like you guys are all having a great time and I wish I was there too.

On the subject of meeting folks you admire and having nothing intelligent to say...but saying it anyway:

When I was about 12 years old, my Grandfather won some award for something I can't remember. There was a big dinner thrown for the event. For some reason, Jack Benny put in an appearance and did a combination performance/congratulations riff. When it was done, my mother said I should go introduce myself...the dinner was for my Grandfather, so, somehow, I was entitled.

I walked up to Jack Benny, thrust out my hand manfully and said, "I'm my Grandfathers Grandson." Yeah, I've been an idiot for a long time.

Anyway, I'm still jealous of the time you guys are having. I'm going to have to go to one of these things.

Anne C. said...

I love Jack Benny. During one phase of my search for things to entertain me while working, I found a site that streams old radio programs. Twice a week they'd do comedy programs and often it would include an episode of the Jack Benny show. He was such a classic.

Jim Wright said...

nathan's not the only jealous one around here - but he is the only one who embarrassed himself in front of Jack Benny...


belsum said...

Chairman of the Borg. *snort*

Were you unnerved by your reaction to Ms. Moon because you weren't expecting to be star struck? You definitely don't seem like the star fucker type to me.

Sounds like it was a lot of fun! My TWoP friend was on the panel with the Doctor Who writer (she writes a chick lit/fantasy series that I haven't read yet) and it sounds like the whole thing was just a blast for everyone.

Mummy Grabill said...

So glad you had a good time! I had a lot of fun looking over Jeri, Tania, and Janiece's blogs to hear their takes on the whole thing as well. Sounds like it was a blast!

Anonymous said...

Looking at your reading widget on the right - is "The Emancipated Person" written by your mother the SF fan?

How very cool to get to read your mom's book. :) We'll be going to see HER at a panel discussion.

Anne C. said...

Yes, it is, but it's not sci-fi. She's one of those readers of fiction who's got no aspirations to write it (though I'm sure she'd do an excellent job).

Anne C. said...

Were you unnerved by your reaction to Ms. Moon because you weren't expecting to be star struck?

That's exactly it, bel. Why get bent out of shape by talking to another perfectly normal human being? I'm usually pretty self-possessed, and to unexpectedly become a blathering fan-girl was weird.

Anonymous said...

Hit this while surfing around reading Denvention reports. A few responses:

Re: meeting people whose work you admire. A while back, at a con, I was chatting with a then midlist fantasy writer friend when someone came up and basically did to him what you did to Ms. Moon. He chatted with the guy for a bit, and then he and I resumed our conversation while strolling.

I commented on what'd happened, and he expressed sympathy, saying that fans wanted to say something interesting when meeting someone whose work they'd enjoyed or admired, but would freeze up.

At that moment, we ran into Poul Anderson, one of my friend's favorite writers from childhood who he'd never previously met. He started blathering and gibbering at him, with a side look at me to say "Yes, I know, I'm acting just like one of my fans to me, but it's POUL ANDERSON!!!!".

Moral is that anyone you'd gibber at on meeting has someone(s) they'd do the same thing at should they ever meet.

As for Takei and Frakes, well, George was a guest at last year's Worldcon in Yokohama (where I had the odd experience of being schooled by him in Spanish), but, as you noticed, Worldcon is more about the literary aspects of SF.

It's also the case that Worldcon is completely run by volunteers, and everyone, except for the guests of honor and some local topic experts who otherwise wouldn't attend (scientists and the like), pays for their membership. Actors tend to show up at cons where they've been paid a several thousands of dollars appearance fee, which Worldcon doesn't do. They also show up at San Diego Comic-Con (125,000 attendance) because studios have decided it's worth bringing in big guns to promote upcoming or current tv shows and movies there due to its size. So the studios bring them in for, usually, a single in and out panel and limited autographing session where they don't actually interact with folk other than during the Q&A and autographing.

Anne C. said...

Hey, thanks for dropping by, Tom to give us a little insight on how Worldcon operates. The paid vs. not paid difference makes a lot of sense and explains the particularly non-commercial feel of the con.

(And it's good to know that famous people geek out too. :)