I rode up on Friday with Judith Berman and Michael Swanwick. We got stuck in traffic close to Boston, and ended up arriving at the hotel five minutes before my first panel, "Axes of Identity," which I was moderating. Amazingly, in that five minutes I was able to check into the hotel (Judith took my suitcase), check in at registration (all hail the Registration Volunteers!), and get to the panel before it started. Vandana Singh had also been caught in traffic and just barely made it, so I wasn't alone in that.
I find it really hard to report on panels I participated in, even more so when I moderate, so hopefully there are some writeups out there, or soon to appear. I think it was really great. All of the panelists--Vandana Singh, Kestrell Verlager, N.K. Jemisin, and Andrea Hairston--were exceptional and had great things to say. Vandana's analogy of a person's identities to quantum physics particularly stuck with me. She said it better, but it was something like this--in our normal state, we have many identities, but for testing purposes, we get reduced to one in particular.
I was also set to moderate a panel on YA that evening, but I begged YA author and experienced moderator Steve Berman to take it for me, so I had time to eat, change out of my shorts and sandals from the trip, unpack, etc.. before my last panel of the night, "Bookaholics Anonymous," which I hadn't realized I was moderating. That one was fun, and I met Rob Shearman, a nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award, which he won later in the weekend. I didn't realize until Sunday that he had written for Dr. Who.
I always look forward to the "Meet the ProSE" party, but this year it began 30-45 minutes after it was listed on the schedule, and I was just too weary, plus I had a heavy day of programming on Saturday. I traded off some of my stickers on my way to go sleep. Mine was "I think you have a sea urchin shoved in a delicate place," she said.
Saturday morning, Judith and I got up early and went to the gym and worked out. I am so proud of myself. Also, I felt pretty good afterwards, until I learned there was a thirty-minute wait for a table at breakfast, I was absolutely ravenous from working out, and I had a two panels in a row in about an hour. Cranky surliness ensued. Luckily, the Tiptree bakesale was already in operation. I greeted kate_nepveu, I hope I greeted her, before buying a giant delicious blueberry muffin and devouring it like Cookie Monster devours cookies. Miraculously, after that my mood was sunny rather than surly. I had enough time to get some coffee in the green room before the Nalo Hopkinson panel.
I hadn't been able to re-read all of her work before the convention because I'd packed away her first two novels and had no idea what box they were in. But I'd read The New Moon's Arms recently--menopause fantasy!!!--and went over The Salt Roads and the short stories in Skin Folk. Gary Wolfe, the moderator, made someone fetch Nalo, so we got to embarrass her profoundly by being total fans. After that, I moderated the fanfiction panel, which I am told went pretty well. I think there were some folks making notes to write reports. Afterwards, a folklorist in the audience mentioned to me that she'd encountered fanfic from the 1950s in an archive--typed stories about Country & Western singers. I asked her to email Erin Kissane, an academic on the panel, so hopefully there will be more information about that soon.
I had an hour for lunch and limited places to obtain food. The bar, though somewhat overwhelmed, managed to get me out of there in 45 minutes, so I could rush over to my discussion group on WWI, which I had proposed, called "Great War Geeks Unite." I'd expected five or six people to show up, with whom I could chat about research and such. In fact about a dozen of the program participants showed up to lead the discussion, and there was a goodly amount of audience as well. I'd intended the thing to be informal, but that was difficult with the number of people we had, so we ended up just talking about how and why we'd become interested in the period, with a few side forays here and there. It was great fun, and I intend to pitch something about WWI next year, with a more focused topic.
After that was my Kaffeeklatsch, which ended up being mostly me and one of the Great War Geeks chatting about our research. I had a cup of tea.
Went off to Korean barbecue that evening with Judith, gwynnega, barbarienne, swimtech, and others, attended Kirk Poland, and had a drink with gwynnega.
Sunday was an early, bleary breakfast with grahamsleight followed by my reading of two Theodore Sturgeon stories as part of a convention-long celebration. The final volume of his complete work has recently been released, so celebration is totally warranted! I really wanted to attend some of the other readings, but was too closely scheduled. I had a brief but lovely chat with Noel Sturgeon and her son, and then rushed off to my last panel.
I wasn't moderating! And...I'm not sure they really needed me, what with Chip Delany, Barry Malzberg, and John Crowley. But I participated as best I could, grabbed lunch, and got ready to go.
As usual at Readercon, that took longer than it should have, with continued glimpsing of people you didn't see earlier, or didn't get to talk to, etc.. I even met a reviewer for RT, too briefly--maybe I will see her at RWA. Then we were on the road home.
I had a great time, but it's good to be home.