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The Rotundo World Tour

2017

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Lincoln, NE
April 28-30

MileHiCon 49
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October 27-29

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Archive for August, 2009

Daydreaming of Hollywood

Every time I think about the fact that I’m leaving for Hollywood tomorrow, this comes to mind:

(Behind the cut, 'cause it's not safe for work:)

WorldCon Report, Day 6: So Long, and Thanks for the Chocolate Mousse

Wrath of the Scheduling Gods, part III: I had a reading at 9:00 a.m. on Monday.

Let me say that again: 9:00 a.m. On Monday.

If there’s a worse time slot for a panel, I defy you to name it. Last day of the con, with many people going home, and those who remain worn out from the long weekend. Yeah. Perfect. Fear the scheduling gods.

That said, there was a decent turnout, certainly better than I had expected–which is to say, the room wasn’t empty.

I shared my reading slot with Michael Skeet and Richard Chwedyk, who both read excerpts from longer works. I went last, and had about 15 minutes, at best. The good news was that I had chosen my material wisely, opting for "Fuel," which was just short enough. And it seemed to go over well, garnering reactions in the right spots and a generous round of applause at the end.

Who knew that the Monday 9:00 a.m. crowd could be so enthusiastic?

That was my last official programming item for the con, but I stopped at a panel on spirituality and writing. This wouldn’t normally be my thing, but John Pitts was on it, and we had hung out a fair amount over the weekend. Everyone ended up doing a little writing exercise, using Tarot cards to kick-start the creative process. Was kinda cool, actually.

The afternoon was one of many partings. The last day of a con is always sad for me: the party’s almost over, and we all have to go back to the (vastly overrated) Real World soon. How unutterably depressing. I went to the George R.R. Martin reading (a huge fan of his books, me), and that helped relieve the sting a bit. I ran into fellow Codexian Tom Crosshill outside of closing ceremonies, and together we went on a little walking tour of Old Quebec before he had to catch a cab. It was the most I got to see of the city, as is usual with WorldCons. I got in a few good pix along the way.

I figured I would be in for an early night. I was tired, and I had to get up pretty early the next morning. I should have known better.

At the Dead Dog party, I ran into Paolo Bacigalupi again; talk about coming full circle. After a pleasant chat with Scott Edelman, a group of us headed toward the Intercontinental to rendezvous with Liz Gorensky, Rob Bland, John Joseph Adams, Amelia Beamer, and raft of others whose names I didn’t catch. They had a hankering for chocolate mousse, and had heard tell of a place nearby where the chocolate mousse was to die for, or something like that. So off we went into the streets of Montreal in search of it, lateness of the hour be damned. Unfortunately, all we had was an address, not a name. After a few blocks, it became increasingly clear that the address existed only in a GPS. The Real World stubbornly persisted in not having it. See what I mean by overrated?

Undaunted, we pressed on. It became a quest.  Chocolate mousse is, after all, chocolate mousse.

Liz forged ahead, and eventually came across a pizza place that promised to serve the desired dessert. Their chocolate mousse was actually chocolate cake with mousse filling. And ain’t that just like a quest? When you finally obtain what you were searching for, you discover that it’s not quite what you thought it would be. Anyway, we declared the quest achieved, and sat to enjoy our hard-won prize.

It was the last great adventure of WorldCon 2009, at least for me. I headed back to the hotel and went to bed. A cab whisked me to the airport the next morning, and by late afternoon Tuesday, I was home.

And as I come to the end of this little travelogue, I realize that I’ve left out a bunch of stuff, omitted many names. If I’ve neglected to mention you in these ramblings, I apologize. There was just that much going on.

Anyway, that was my WorldCon. Next year’s is in Melbourne. Oh, how I would love to be there. If I can work out the funding, it’ll happen. Until then, au revoir.

WorldCon Report, Day 5: Rotundo Gets a Hugo! (And Loses It Just As Quickly)

Once again, I had to drag myself out of bed after a late night for an early breakfast, this time with Jay Lake and John Pitts. Jay has a much better head for marketing than I do, and I needed some marketing advice, and this breakfast was the only time he was available. His schedule made mine look positively relaxed by comparison.

The three of us had a good conversation about the realities of the current marketplace. Guess what? It’s tough out there. In spite of which, I came away from breakfast feeling a bit better about my current situation, if for no other reason than I had a better sense of the landscape. Difficult, yes, but not impassable. So thanks, Jay and John.

Jay also invited us to join him for his lunch with Weird Tales editor Ann VanderMeer, which I thought was awfully sporting of him. Jay’s significant other, author Shannon Page, also attended, and the five of us had an enjoyable chat, in spite of the fact that the Intercontinental was still serving breakfast, not lunch. Ann called it "elevenses," and that was good enough for me.

The rest of my afternoon was wide open, so I forced myself to go back to the hotel and do some actual writing. Oooh . . . being all productive and professional at a con. What a concept.

I made it back to the Palais des congres in time for the Baen Books presentation, ably handled by Baen editor Jim Minz, after which I had a quick bite to eat with some Codexian friends. Then it was time for the Hugos.

Once again, we formed a Codexian posse, so that we could cheer loudly for our peeps–Campbell nominees Aliette de Bodard and Tony Pi, and Hugo nominee Mary Robinette Kowal. None of them won, sadly, but it was cool to see Ann VanderMeer and Stephen Segal get the Best Semiprozine Hugo, a bit of an upset.

Wrath of the Scheduling Gods, part II: I had a panel after the Hugo ceremony. Yes, really. This was the "Young Turks" panel, which struck me as endlessly amusing, as I am neither particularly young nor particularly Turkish. Even so, and despite the unfavorable time slot, Colin Harvey, Leah Bobet, Chandra Rooney, and I had a pretty decent turnout, and an enjoyable discussion. Write and submit, gang. And never give up. That’s really all there is to it.

Then it was (finally) party time. Baen threw a nice soiree, with a generous assortment of good beer. I exchanged some pleasantries with Jim Minz, who then, upon noticing I was from Omaha, informed me that the Cornhuskers suck. For the edification of Wisconsin fan Minz, I noted that former coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez used to play for Nebraska. I’m just sayin’. (I didn’t even mention the inherent lameness of the Big Ten. That would have been too easy.)

All in good fun, all in good fun.

As I departed the Baen party, I came across Ann VanderMeer and Stephen Segal, so I got the opportunity to congratulate them on their Hugo win. And as we were chatting, Steven Silver approached, carrying the Hugo he had accepted on behalf of Pixar for WALL-E. Turns out that for a mere $5.00 donation to the fan fund (TAFF, DUFF, or CUFF, I disremember which), one could actually hold that Hugo.

Hey, a bargain’s a bargain.


(Photo by Ann VanderMeer. Thanks again, Ann!)


It was a gorgeous Hugo, BTW. That granite base was heavy.

Then I gave it back–if by "gave it back," you mean "forced them to call in five burly guys to pry it from my desperate grip." The bruises are starting to fade now, but I did think the brass knuckles were bit of overkill.

Next time, I’m gonna make a run for it.

Tune in tomorrow for our thrilling conclusion: Reading, Tarot writing, and the Quest for Chocolate Mousse.