… I dreamed I was at Dragon*Con. And when I woke, I was.
My bodyguard and I flew into Atlanta on Thursday night, after adventures as harrowing, if more mundane, than those of the Black Gate zeppelin. On Friday AM we rolled out early to register.
I was going to describe how the pre-reg crowd wrapped like a writhing, world-girdling, cosplaying snake around the Sheraton Hotel, up and down sidewalks, through garages, past dumpsters stinking like peculiar cheeses in the warm Georgia sunshine. I was going to give a sense of how triumphant it felt to step across the threshold into the air-conditioned shadows of the hotel, to follow the red line painted on the floor until we reached the room where pre-registered members could pick up their badges… and the shock of entering that carpeted curtain lined cavern where billions of people were sauntering in zig-zag lines toward a row of desks approximately as distant as Mars. I was going to say that it was like some cinematic version of the afterlife, complete with unearthly beings doing unlikely things.
I was going to give you all these details, but since every human being (with some wonderfully borderline cases) was present, by actual count, there’s no need to go into all that: you were there, so you remember. Sadly, I missed my first panel while I was waiting there. It’s too bad, because I’d thought of 2 or 3 brilliant things to say at that panel, and now the world will never hear them.
After finally obtaining our badges, we refreshed ourselves with about a million calories of salmon and pasta and a gallon or two of cold drinks. Then we wandered over to the exhibit halls where I finally met my editors in one fell swoop. Actually, it was a disjointed series of swoops, but let’s not get over-precise. Lou Anders was manning the Pyr booth with great daring and skill, juggling boxes of Pyr
smaplers samplers like flaming battleaxes. John O’Neill was busy saving adventure fantasy at magazine lengths at the Black Gate booth. I managed to miss Howard Jones at the Black Gate booth, but I caught up with him at the Pyr panel where we talked (among other things) about his upcoming long-awaited Dabir and Asim novel and what Morlock would do in Vegas if he ever got there.
We encountered the shadow of no Old Ones under the mystic symbols 709/711, but I did talk for a while with fantasist, bookblogger and all-around good guy Bill Ward. I also received, from the hand of a trusted courier, a poem about Morlock’s encounter with the Last of the Were-hippos, an awesome outpouring of verbal music by the recklessly brilliant and sadly absent Claire Cooney. I’m not sure it’s canon, but I am sure that it swings, and I hope she’ll let the world see it.
I was back at the Pyr booth for signing later, where I met the gigantic and horrifying Sam Sykes, who, free from any sense of mercy, compelled people to take the free stuff. In compensation, he let them buy a book every once in a while. I actually did sign a few books while I was there. I’m back there at noon today (Sept 4), so if you (along with everyone in the world, except Claire, I guess) are at the con, do stop by. I’ll throw in some Latin for free. (Everything is Better with Latin™!) I’ll be at the Black Gate booth again around 2:00, where the same rules apply, barring intervention by the Old Ones.
I had a fanboy moment on the street where I spotted Mike Resnick and had to run up and tell him that I liked the Starship books. He looks just like his photos, you know. (I don’t, in case you ever see one. Any assertion to the contrary constitutes libel, or so my imaginary lawyer advises me.)
Other notable Pyr encounters included Jon Sprunk and the charming Jill Maxick. (Jon is charming too, just not in the same way.)
My bodyguard and I conned around the con for a while, drinking in the sights and stimulating the economy. The night finished up with dinner at Sear alongside Lou, Jon, Jill, Sam, Mike and Carol Resnick. Also notably present was the Pyr contest winner Lisa Iriarte, and her husband. I talked, all too briefly, with Lisa about a couple of shared enthusiasms, teaching and writing.
The rest of the time I listened to Mike and his gracious wife tells stories about cons past, watched Sam text, and ate what the menu persistently and maliciously described as a “simple fish”. It was a grouper with eggplant and some roast grilled veg and drizzled stuff and really it couldn’t have been more complicated without being in psychotherapy.
Then we went back to the hotel and crashed and I dreamed that I was at Dragon*Con. And when I woke, I was.