August 30, 2003
DragonCon 'Aught Three: Day 1
This year's con is a spectacular treat, and perhaps one of the advantages of living down here again. The few that I've attended up north were puny in size and narrow in focus (horror, more Scott's hurrah than mine). Upon reading the program schedule, I marveled at just how much Anne McCaffrey is doing - at the age of 77, the woman hardly travels anymore - and she's published 78 works, which doesn't account for the translations in 22(?) languages, including Arabic, and soon Thai (in her Q&A she mentioned how the Thais have previously pirated her works, which is typical practice, I'm afraid, and yes, I'm freely slandering my native heritage. The Land of Smiles, among other Asian nations, is also the Land of Flagrant International Copyright Violations.)
Then I realized - she and her son, Todd McCaffrey, are publishing the next Pern volume, Dragon's Kin (out Nov. 25 in the US) under joint authorship, and Todd is completing a new work, Dragonsblood, on his own. The torch is being passed, and she notes that it is stipulated in her will that only he and her daughter Georgeanne are allowed to write any future works set in the universes she has created. Whether that includes their involvement with coauthors wasn't mentioned. Anyway, so my crass speculation as to her appearance at this year's con is to promote the new work, but also to Impress the fans to the new authorship. As much as I love the worlds of Pern, &c., as nice and knowledgable a guy as Todd McCaffrey is on the panels in which I've seen him, I really, really hope they don't bollocks things up.
But I'm sure it will all be fine. (holding her nose and taking the leap of faith between)
Anne told her favorite joke to close out the Q&A, which was held after she and Todd did a reading of the prologue and chapter seven from Dragon's Kin (brief, non-spoiler review - it reveals more about watchweyrs, and I can't wait to read it. I keep hoping I'll win one of the galley copies being raffled during the con, but we'll see.) Anyway, I'll try not to louse up the retelling:
A fly finds a sweet, delectable mound of horseshit and happily munches away. After a time, hearing some approaching noise, she realizes it's time to move on, but she's very full after such fine feasting. She spies a nearby pitchfork and climbs up the tines, the plan being to glide from the top of the handle to her next destination. The noise grows ever louder, and she finally reaches the top. But instead of gliding away, she falls straight down to the ground. The moral of the story?
Don't fly off the handle when you're full of horseshit.
Lady Crumpet (of Pern)'s Schedule
9:30-11:00 am Dropping off Scott's books for his office, waiting in line to pick up our convention badges, good for all four days. Why is the line so much longer than that for merely waltzing in that morning and breezing through the same-day purchase line? Of course, I could have picked up my badge last night, but perhaps that might have been a tad overeager. Plenty of stormtroopers, Jedis, Klingons, and aliens whose provenance I can't recognize milling about, and faux firelizards perched on shoulders. There's a woman with a Harry Potter scar in completely the wrong place, and a really convincing-looking Hagrid as well.
11:00 am - 12:45 pm Badges in hand, we grab a bit of breakfast in Peachtree Center and pore over the program to plan our schedules. Cries of "Who are these people?" from the non-con people are heard. The geeks have inherited downtown Atlanta, and we are not-so-meek in the safety of numbers. I rather suspect that the fully obscuring costumes and realistic laser rifles and sheathed blades would not fly in security-jittered New York. I'm just another girl in a cute checkered shirt and jeans and her bright blue Pumas, lugging a big flowery bag containing all three volumes of the Harper Hall trilogy and Todd McCaffrey's bio of his mother.
1:00 pm The opening of Weyrfest, the Pern programming track. Very nice people, lots of attendees because of Anne's appearance at the con. A bit much on personal info and in-jokes when only the schedule was discussed, and that was already in the paper program. For this I am missing James Marsters, gorgeous Spike of Buffy fame? I guess I could have walked out, but fortunately there was a free raffle for galley copies of Dragon's Kin. Didn't win, but I may still have a chance later.
2:30 pm Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey's reading from Dragon's Kin and their Q&A. I take lots of pictures which I'll still have to crop. Anne has a great smile and reading voice. Near the end, I venture a question: Were her children interested in her works growing up? Not surprisingly, they had to come around and be old enough to read the books. And of course, she was their mother first, author second, though when it was her writing time, the nanny or other caretaker had the charge of the children. Todd mentioned as how he was a teenager when he had finished his Heinlein and was looking for something else to read, and got hooked in by "Weyr Search." Her husband at the time told her she wouldn't ever make enough money to pay the phone bill, but she was determined, and was able to send all of her children to college and pay the phone bill. Her favorite tv show currently is Stargate, and mentioned how one of the actors would make the perfect F'lar.
4:00 pm That Vision Thing: Cordelia Dissected - a panel convened to discuss Cordelia's development as a character since Buffy and to bemoan her shoddy situation - left, indefinitely, in a coma. The one bit of useful information I got was that Charisma Carpenter didn't quit, she was fired, though no one talked about the circumstances or how they knew this information. So with Carpenter gone, Cordy is left without real resolution, which is a shitty thing to do to a core character, especially since we've had to put up with character arcs I couldn't care less about - Gunn and Fred and even Wesley. And then having to sit through Cordelia and Connor in "Rain of Ick" - I mean, come on! One person in the audience put it best - the last season has been a "buttload of badly." I could have done without the one guy braying inarticulately about how Angel has ripped material from X-Men. The one panelist who rather dominated the discussion kept talking about "fan wanking" and how the show's writers were always "blowing up the Death Star offscreen." I agreed for the most part, but I could have done without all the variations on wanking. At times I wondered if I should have been at the session with George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek) especially when Braying Comic Book Guy had the floor. Have got to sit near door in the future. Too much is going on this weekend to put up with someone else's wanking.
5:30 pm McCaffrey Trivia, hosted by the writer Jody Lynn Nye. Tough questions, though I felt rather stupid when I couldn't name the Rowan's full true name - Angharad Gwyn Raven, damn damn damn. Of course, I could have been the woman who correctly named Pride and Prejudice as the novel certain characters were reading in one of Anne's books, but then couldn't name the author of said novel. *palpitations* The whole room was aghast - hello, it's only OUR DEAR JANE AUSTEN! She tried to make allowances by confessing that she was French, but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! I'm a stupid American, but even I know Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary (and have even finally read it). Still didn't win a galley copy. Feh.
6:30-7:00 pm More panels I could have gone to, but Scott and I met up for a quick run through the Dealer's Room and Exhibit Room and then dinner at Azio's. Suddenly felt unwell, but better now in the comforts of home. Really ought to entertain prospect of sleep.