Or as I like to think of it, Octocon 5, since it’s only the fifth one we’ve been to. :)
It was a lovely weekend with lovely people, which, I am glad to say, is the second year in a row I’ve felt Octocon has been a success. It was as low-key for me as a convention possibly can be, as I was very tired Saturday and actually sick with a head cold on Sunday (hi, I’m this year’s Patient Zero for Octoconcrud), but I do think a good time was had by all.
Young Indiana and I went over Friday evening to the pre-con gathering, and there we met the Guest of Honor, /GRRM, who admired Henry and was admired in return. That, sadly, was the only time I actually spoke with The Man Himself, but it was nice to shake his hand and say hello, anyway. We spent a couple hours hanging out, mostly with Kate and Ruth, while Young Indiana charmed random passers-by. Except the con co-chair, who was given one thorough examination and then shrieked at. Gareth, sadly, said, “Children do this with me.” :)
Saturday we got there a bit late (by about 30 minutes, because ah, the vagueries of a bus schedule), but that was okay, because the con started later even than that. This being not particularly unusual for an Irish con, we weren’t real worried about our timing. :) Young Indiana was descended upon by Michael and Leony Carroll, who did not know we’d had a baby. Leony’s first words were something to the effect of, “You’ve had a baby! And he looks just like his daddy!” as she scooped him up and admired how he and Michael shared a hairstyle. :) I scooted over to invite The Fabulous Lorraine to dinner,
The con was launched with all due honors, and I did something rash like went and got food during the first actual panel, because I had one at noon and would not be seeing food any time soon otherwise. The topic of my first panel was Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance, and apparently the dress code for the panelists was skirts and long boots, ’cause all three of us were wearing them. It got off to a good start with /Sarah Rees Brennan declaring that sexism was the difference between UF and PR, and this was clear because PR covers had hot bodied chicks with little clothing and tattoos and weaponry on them, and UF…didn’t. I laid down the Gauntlet of Total Disagreement, and off we went (although eventually we did realize part of the problem here was I was talking about American covers and she was talking about UK covers, so she may actually have been, y’know, kinda right, for this side of the pond…).
was challenged to keep quiet through the entirety of just one panel, and managed to do that in the UF v PR panel. My hat is off to her. :)
I missed the next panel, too, due to having to feed Young Indiana, whose father then absconded with him back to the house, where my magnificent parents sat on him the rest of the day, thus allowing us to go out to the previously-mentioned dinner. But before that…
There was a panel on Likeable Anti-Heroes which I crashed. John Vaughn (about whom I shall say more later) had apparently been left off the list of people who were supposed to be on the panel, and was being given guff for putting himself at the table, and objected wildly when I came up, cheerfully announced I was crashing the panel, sat down with everybody else, and was welcomed without catching any crap for it. :) The panel, though, was great fun, and really John summed it up best by simply saying, “Bastards are more fun!” We had a fairly wide-ranging discussion of what works and what doesn’t for an anti-hero, and how to pull one off so your audience doesn’t walk away from you, and how TV in particular sets up the anti-hero and then breaks all the rules (ie, Dexter’s “Even I wouldn’t kill a puppy.” Or a child, nevermind that, y’know, psychopaths don’t actually have an “even I wouldn’t” mindset, generally speaking).
I spent the next couple hours at GRRM’s reading/Q&A. The reading was very good, and I stayed despite the threat of spoilers (I haven’t read FEAST), and of course I did get spoiled on at least two character deaths. Still, I enjoyed it. Also, GRRM was pretty entertaining beforehand, explaining how he’d stayed up til 2:30 the night before because someone had “given him the blood of a red bull”, but boy was he paying for it now. And the Q&A was fairly terrific, with him going into some great detail about inspirations and character naming devices and, quite brilliantly, an explanation about his ruthless hand when it comes to killing off characters.
“Fear,” he said, “fear is important. None of us really think we’re going to die when we get on a roller coaster. That’s thrills, not fear, and it’s got its place. But it’s not at all the same kind of thing as when you’re walking home alone late at night in the dark and you suddenly think you hear someone behind you. I want to create something much more like *that* than the thrill of the thing. They say battle is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror, so I wanted to create that effect. I want readers to go in to every battle, every scene, afraid somebody they love isn’t going to make it out alive.”
He rather does succeed with that. :)
Approximately twenty people went to dinner with Lorraine and me. We saw each other once, from afar, and waved. :)
There is more, but Young Indiana is awake and Mr. Ted is home, so I shall write more anon.
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)