We are back from P-Con and I have reached a degree of semi-functionality, so it is time to summarize the weekend.
It was fun. :)
There we go, then!
Laura Anne Gilman was over for the weekend, so we met up with her for dinner on Friday after spending the afternoon running, then being overwhelmed by, errands (except the part where I got to meet up with a fan from the States who was over for the week. That wasn’t overwhelming, it was really, really cool. I hope you guys made it home safely!). We brought the New Yorker out for pizza, which was a sort of silly thing to do, but it didn’t require much thinking on our parts, which was really the deciding factor. :) Dinner ingested, we toddled over to the Central Hotel, where the first of many hours was spent chatting at the Library Bar before the opening ceremonies. They were unexpectedly brief, and followed by a reading of Kim Newman’s radio play “Mildew Manor”, which was very, *very* funny and exceedingly well-received.
Saturday began with Laura Anne delivering a bag of Nestles’ chocolate chips unto us, so obviously nothing too dreadful could go wrong. The panels I attended (both as a panelist and an audience member) were great fun, with the first one I was on, “Writing Methods of the Experts” garnering a number of pretty funny “most useful critique” stories. Mine (as some of you know) was from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers‘ conference I went to years ago, where I’d finalled in their contest and one of the judges seized me and said–with genuinely heartfelt good intent–”Oh! Oh, you’re one of those people who comes up with a really good plot, and then drops cardboard characters in, aren’t you?”
I said, “swallows a gasp of horror and disappointment um, well, i didn’t think so…“–but it was by *God* the best critique I ever got. One of the other panelists said his “sharp intake of breath” critique was after having been told his 110K first novel needed revising, and adding 30,000 words to it, he got a one-line email from his agent: “George, just tell the fucking story.” (The book ended up 90,000 words.) So we had a fine time with that, and perhaps imparted some comments of use to our audience. :)
Guest of Honor Nick Harkaway proved utterly charming–quite Whovian, as Ted said–and did a very, very good reading from his novel THE GONE-AWAY WORLD, which I then promptly went and bought. It’s *incredibly* well-written, besides being funny and clever and interesting. The storytelling style is really very much that, a story *telling* style, and really, you have to be extremely good at your craft to make that work well, and he makes it work *very* well. So I’m enjoying that a lot, and I’m glad I bought it.
We stole Nick and Laura Anne and … well, they were the only guests we stole, everybody else was an attendee, so they were perhaps the stolen ones, away to the Temple Bar Food Market for lunch on Saturday. The food market is our favorite place to eat if we’re in Dublin of a Saturday, as there’s generally a wide variety of inexpensive food to choose from, and so we specifically wanted to show it off to Laura-Anne-the-visiting-New-Yorker, and Nick got pulled along in our wake. :) And since the weather all weekend was utterly gorgeous, that was a very *nice* way to show off a little bit of Dublin to the visitors. :)
Many of the panels were presented as sort of yes or no questions–ie, “Superheroes – limited to the graphic arena?”–but by and large the panelists dug into them and came up with questions and discussion points which we/they felt were actually the intent of the panel, so that was great fun. I had someone recognize me from my Twitter picture (you are slightly larger in real life, she said), and the lovely girl from New Zealand who was at last year’s con was back again and got the DEMON HUNTS manuscript in the charity auction. (I hope you like it, Mel!) We didn’t get much chance to talk, but it was nice to see her again. :)
It never fails to astonish me how a small friendly con like P-Con still never has enough hours in the day to really talk to everybody you want to. On the positive side, though, one of the attendees apparently said in happy astonishment to Peter, the gentleman running the convention, “Your guests are all so *nice*! And they’ll talk to *anybody*!” So perhaps even if there aren’t enough hours in the day, we manage to spread ourselves around enough anyway. :) (The hotel manager also evidently said what a lovely bunch of heavy-drinking, hungry, well-behaved eccentrics we all were, and that they were very glad to have us back again next year, thank you very much.)
We made it to the Dead Dog party for the first time ever. So did half the con. *laughs* There must’ve been thirty people there, at the peak. So I actually (finally!) got to meet Diane Duane, and Ted and I had a grand old time hanging out for a couple hours just chatting. (The party apparently lasted until about 8pm, which is quite the dead dog!)
And on a totally non-con-related note, Ted and I went to see Legion Monday morning. It was an incoherent Terminator (right down to the highway imagery) with wings, but the wings–which were the reason I went to see it–were quite good. Also, Paul Bettany is getting more and more attractive as he ages. Yum. Anyway, partway through the movie he has a passionate speech about why he hasn’t lost faith in humanity. When it ended Ted turned to me and said “He’s way, way too good for this script.” Which is utterly true, though to be fair, I thought the cast really did just about as good a job with what they had as they possibly could have.
Sarah ConnorCharlie was a little stiff and I thought Gabriel was badly cast, but really, given that the movie was a mess, they did the best they could. And I’m glad I went to see the wings. :)