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World Fantasy 2008: Part II

A big part of these conventions are the parties. Because World Fantasy is a professional con there are few but advertised parties and launches. SF Canada put on a party on Friday night, which I oversaw and I’m pleased to say that we never ran out of alcohol and that I had to actually return some. I could have ordered more of some things and less of others. We’ll know for the next one but it was definitely a success with over two hundred people passing through the suite.

Other parties included book launches for authors by RedJack press, Tor books, Borderlands, and others that I can’t recall. Because we weren’t leaving until Monday we attended the dead dog Sunday party which had a fair number of people and drinks. The parties were good, noisy and lasted until the room closed around 2 am.

The other place to meet people was in the bar, as always. I met Jetse De Vries, former editor with Interzone, a noticeable man for his long wavy hair, tallness and great rolling, Dutch accent. He was talking about the Netherlands for World Fantasy in 2016 as it would be the 500th birthday of Hieronymus Bosch. It’s a ways off so who knows. I also met Jenny Blackford from Australia, one of the awards judges for next year, and we discussed Greek mythos.

I met Mark Kelly of Locus, recognizing his name before I linked it with his reviews, Bob Brown, an antiquarian bookseller in Seattle, writers Mark Rich and Liz Bourke, and artist Mike Dringenberg. I met many SF Canada members in person including Leslie Carmichael, Claire Earmer, Lorna Toolis, Richard Bartrop, Dom Benoit, Den Valdron, Carolyn Clink, Celu Amberstone, Candas Jane Dorsey, Marcelle Dube, Dave Duncan, Matt Hughes, Alison Sinclair, Cath Jackal, Marie Jakober, Ed Willett.

Publishers that I met in the flesh included Virginia O’Dine and Dominic Macquire of Bundoran Press (Prince George), Gwen Gades of Dragon Moon, Karl and Stephanie Johanson of Neo-Opsis, Jacob Wiseman of Tachyon Press, Diane Walton of OnSpec, Champagne Books, Flash Me Online. I said hello again to Patrick Swenson of Talebones, Brian Hades of Edge, Peter Halasz sponsoring the Sunburst Awards auction, Brit Graham Joyce, Karen Abrahamson, Chris Lotts, Janine Cross, Rhea Rose, Linda DeMeulemeester, Eileen and Pat Kernaghan, Derryl Murphy, Nina Munteanu, Rob Sawyer, Darrell Schweitzer, John Douglas, David Hartwell, Bruce Taylor, Nancy Kilpatrick, Leslie Howle (of Clarion administration) and a few others. There were so many people and conversations that I don’t remember everyone but it’s a good place to meet people and talk about art and writing.

World Fantasy special guests included David Morrell, dark fiction and thriller writer and creator of Rambo, Patricia McKillip, who sold her first novel at the age of 23, Todd Lockwood with a lovely body of artwork, Barbara Hambly with an impressive number of books, Tom Doherty, publisher of Tor and other ventures and Tad Williams as emcee. During the presentation of the World Fantasy awards he gave a very funny speech about the beginning of fantasy writing, with such things as it all starting in the US and William Shakingspear made an indent. He claimed that Canadian writers were really just geographically confused Canadians and that no one knows if Charles de Lint is real but that his footprints have been found deep in the forests.

Tad’s history of fantasy began in the times of cave men and came forward to present day. I do hope this speech will be printed somewhere as it was extremely well done and had people laughing. The awards presentation happened on Sunday. My friend Kij Johnson was up again for a short story but she did not win. Ellen Datlow, who did win, has nine World Fantasy awards. A bunch of us joked about her forming her own Easter Island. Following is the list of winners at the convention:

Life Achievement: Leo and Diane Dillon; Patricia McKillip

Novel: “Ysabel” by Guy Gavriel Kay (Viking Canada/Penguin Roc).
Novella: “Illyria” by Elizabeth Hand (PS Publishing).
Short Story: “Singing of Mount Abora” by Theodora Goss (Logorrhea, Bantam Spectra).
Anthology: “Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural” edited by Ellen Datlow, Editor (Tor).
Collection: “Tiny Deaths” by Robert Shearman (Comma Press).

Artist: Edward Miller
Special Award—Professional: Peter Crowther for PS Publishing
Special Award—Non-professional: Midori Snyder and Terri Windling for Endicott Studios Website

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Things to Know About Traveling

Here are my posts (originally on blogspot) about my trip to Ireland last fall. One of my most popular posts on this site is the two-part “Stones of Ireland.” I decided people searching those out might enjoy my other posts on Ireland. The first four were what I managed in two weeks while traveling. After that I’ll post the entries with pictures. This was first posted 9/27/07

Well we made it. Just slept like the dead in Dublin and we’re off to a slow start.

Backing up, it was a bit of a whirlwind beginning. My friend Lorna picked me up around 7 and my flight was leaving at 10:10 pm. Plenty of time, right? Well originally this flight had been leaving at that time and going straight to Glasgow, but along the way Air Transat changed it to Vancouver, via Calgary onto Glasgow. I looked at all the changes when my sister first sent them and thought the only change was Calgary, after initialing thinking they had shortened our flight by a day.

So here we are at the airport and there is hardly anyone there. I naively said, geez they say get here three hours early and there’s no lineup. We walk up to the counter and I tell them the flight. They say no it’s gone already. But then these guys (more airport security than the ticket people) say they don’t work that counter; go over to the Air Transat counter. We do and the woman says it’s too late, it’s gone, it leaves at 8:00!

At this point my stupidity is dawning on me. I misread numerous times 20:10 at 10:10. I know the 24 hour clock but my brain had been stuck on the previous time. This woman calls upstairs as I’m breaking into a sweat (literally) and finds that they can get me on the plane but not my suitcase because the plane is packed. I’m going, what can I do and she says nothing because it’s a charter flight and only goes out once a week with not agreement with the other airlines.

But somehow, bless their hearts, a guy comes down, checks my baggage, almost forgetst to give me the boarding pass and then I have to take my luggage to the xray machine. The guy there jokes that I have to wait a half hour. Then I speed through security, luckily without any additional searches and jump on the golf cart they have waiting, lacing up my boots as we go, thanking them profusely. I got on the plane but if we had been 5 minutes later I would have been hooped and my sister would have thought I was dead when she got on in Calgary. I was lucky and the plane was not late in taking off.

So then my sister gets on in Calgary and she’s put on 50 pounds in 6 months from thyroid issues. Let’s just say the small Air Transat seats are more crowded now. We got into Glasgow and went through the cattle gates for the passports with the customs guy joking that he wasn’t happy because we were going on to Dublin.

A note to people travelling to Ireland: you can’t very easily get a direct flight from the West Coast so it’s Gatwick or Glasgow for joining up a new flight. Glasgow really has two airports, which we didn’t know at first. Glasgow International only has Aer Lingus that flies to Dublin (about $150 CDN) and Glasgow Prestwick (about an hour away by bus and train) has Ryanair (only) and is cheaper. But if people tell you (even those that supposedly live there or are Irish and go all the time) that you can just book when you arrive from all of these different airlines, they’re mistaken. There are only those two and though we could have made it to Prestwick in time for the late night flight, there were no seats left.

So we had to take Aer Lingus, but first we met up my friend Erin who is doing her PhD in Viking archaeology in Glasgow. She fed us and let us freshen up (and we saw these lovely foxes, the local vermin, in their back yard). Then we caught a taxi back to the airport and caught our flight, an hour late because the plane malfunctioned and they had to get a different one. So we left at 11:20 pm instead of 10:15. We finally got to our lodge and into bed at 2 am.

Scary things: a phone call requires constant money put into the machine. A call of a few minutes cost about 2.5£. Yikes. About 5 bucks. Glasgow is pounds. Ireland is Euros until you get to the Northern parts. And now, it’s off to see what we can of Dublin after our late start.

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The Mutant Tooth

Addendum on the traumatic dental surgery. It’s Friday. Yesterday I went in because my tooth and gums were hurting more than the other days. I had taken a Tylenol with codeine and by the time I went in the swelling was partially down and the tooth wasn’t hurting. They said that it looked okay but to call if I was having problems today.

I went home and then by evening my tooth was hurting again. I took another Tylenol and another and another, every two hours. I kept waking through the night with throbbing pain, in time to my pulse. I kept taking Tylenol. This morning when I finally woke up from brief spates of sleep I was so swollen that my right eye is closing. My top lip is sticking out and my nose is being pushed to the side. The inner lip is swollen.

It feels as if someone is poking my lip while slowly shoving a not sharp knife up my nose. My head hurts and I feel nauseous. Needless to say that in about an hour I’ll be going back to the specialist, again.

Problem is, I can’t take sulfa or “cillin” antibiotics. And for some reason, having not had antibiotics in ten years, this will be the third time this year. I just hope to god that they only have to give me antibiotics because I’m completely freaked about them going into my tooth again. This is as close to torture as I want to get.

I also have to officiate at a wedding tomorrow and now worried that I’m going to scare the wedding guests. Update later.

Which was that they had to lance the infection and stick in a “drain” and give me antibiotics. I also had somehow popped the sutures so they sewed me up again.  I took a Tylenol 3 and then slept. Finally, there is no pain and the swelling is going down but not yet gone.

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Bookworms

As a child, I was shy. I also came from a middle class family with blue collar parents. I don’t recall my mother reading to me but now I begin to recall the Brer Bear, Brer Rabbit books and I think she might have read those to me and my younger brother.

We had this lovely set of hardcover books, which began in shades of green and moved through to deep blue. Twelve books, one to coincide with each year’s growth, and learning to read more complex stories. The first book(s) were filled with nursery rhymes and children’s poetry. They progressed through the most common fairytales; Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella, to Snow White and Rose Red, Paul Bunyan, various Arthurian tales, etc.

Each large book had a lovely picture on the cover of the book. These didn’t have slipcovers but a weave to the texture of the cover, and a picture applied in a frame, in colour. The inside of the book had beautiful line drawings in black and white. A pale orange or blue were the only colours that enhanced these pictures.

The were titled My Book House, with subtitles for each volume. I don’t remember reading all of these books but I do remember the early ones, before I discovered science fiction and fantasy novels. I loved them. In a home that was often filled with strife, these books represented beauty and imagination, and worlds with happy endings unlike the world I lived in. If any book made a significant impact on my early education, it was this collection. I never forgot them.

Years passed and I moved out. My older sister had a child and my mother gave the books to her. I’m not sure if she ever read them to my nephew but at one point it seems there was a house fire of some sort and the books were gone. I mourned those books, as I would mourn losing a limb.

One day I happened into a used bookstore and found four of the early volumes. Edited by Olive Beaupre-Miller in the 20s, she maintained standards of what a child could handle/read at that time. I don’t have the volumes in front of me at the moment but I have four of the first six. I still look through them because they have some of the earliest images I remember in a book. As well, since I still write fantasy, it’s nice to read them for ideas, discover a fairy tale I don’t remember reading, and read a version that hasn’t been Disneyfied.

My Book House still gives me joy and a warmth of wonder that was hard to always hang onto in my childhood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_Beaupre_Miller

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