September 07, 2004
Excessive details after the jump (or, click on the link below).
While waiting in line for the Anne McCaffrey signing, David Carradine cut across and brushed past us with nary an "excuse me" - you could have slipped a piece of paper in the space between him and Scott. I recognized his hair (gray and thin) but my first thought was the old Margaret Cho joke "Hey, that guy's not Chinese!" (He was the star of the tv show Kung Fu, a role that probably should have gone to Bruce Lee.) Incidentally, during one of her panels Anne said that she thought Carradine would make a great Masterharper Robinton.
Met up with Little Toy Robot for the Adult Swim panel. Quite possibly the most fun event I attended during the weekend. Cartoon Network people threw swag at the audience, and we stood with arms outstretched in the hope of receiving unidentified flying booty. Just as we sat back down empty-handed, Scott stuck out his hands reflexively and caught something before it otherwise gave him a concussion. Am now in possession of a wrinkly Futurama t-shirt. Woo! Settled in with a few hundred other people to watch and cheer previews for the new season lineup.
Afterwards, we made the acquaintance of Clunky Robot, who served admirably as one of the panelists and is one really nice guy. Special thanks to his ladyfriend (not at all clunky!) who took pictures. Perhaps we'll see you in the neighborhood.
Attended a number of panels on the Weyrfest track (devoted to the worlds of Anne McCaffrey, but mainly focused on Pern). Anne and Todd did a Q&A session the first day. I guess I've been to enough of these, or read enough, that there wasn't too much new information. I ducked out early to go wait in line for their signing session, which took place afterwards. During another panel they read a chapter from the forthcoming Dragonsblood, which featured emotional material. Anne's voice broke a couple of times, as did Todd's, and by the end everybody in the room - authors and audience - wept and sniffled. (Todd joked that it was revenge for his mum's getting him to participate in a reading from The Ship Who Sang, which he says had him bawling in public.)
Todd also did smaller panels on his own and tried to discuss what he'd be writing within the Pern universe without spoiling things for us. Also, the US cover for Dragonsblood doesn't hold a candle to the UK edition. I would link to it, but the cover image isn't yet available in Amazon. In the meantime check out Todd's entries for 8/3 and 8/16 and see if you don't agree. [Note: Apparently Todd's new to blogging. He doesn't have permalinks nor archives yet. He's using Blogger, so I don't think it would be difficult to set up. Anyway, I sent him a note, and he answered it! See his Letters page. Mine is the one that says "Letter from Lady" (I'd signed it Lady Crumpet but he must have cut and pasted in a hurry. No matter. Thanks, Todd!).]
What else...attended some Tolkien panels given by Dr. Anne Petty. One covered Tolkien's dragons and another on the Finnish influence on Tolkien, particularly the Kalevala. She has a new book, Dragons of Fantasy: Scaly Villains and Heroes in Modern Fantasy Literature; it's about dragons as they're represented in fantasy literature.
Also attended a panel about electronic voting machines. I learned, to my great dismay, that even if I complete an absentee ballot, somebody at the county board of elections office has to input my vote using a Diebold machine. But I'll still vote by absentee ballot because at least there will be a paper trail.
Sat in on a blogging panel called "My So-Called LiveJournal" which ended up being pretty LJ-specific. I suppose it depends what interface you're introduced to, but LJ seems way too fussy for me, even though it has interesting features like setting privacy levels. Turns out we knew one of the panelists, Zeppo, and went up to say hi afterwards.
There was probably more I could have done, but I kept pretty busy as it was. In my downtime I'd planned to start reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell but my attention span was too flighty. So I'd just wander around, taking photos, taking in the scene. I probably should have skipped the last day, as that's when things wind down, people are no longer in costume and leaving town. But there was a panel about music with Anne and Todd and the people who did the Masterharper of Pern cd, so that was a little more time in the company of McCaffreys.
It's weird though. I went to a lot of these panels on my own, and though people are generally pretty approachable, I found myself remaining aloof. I guess some of it was just being tired, not feeling very "on" after hours and hours of panels and weaving my way through the crowds in the dealer's room. Some of it was feeling shy. But some of it too was not wanting to mix with people who even in this subculture (where outsiders and misfits are celebrated) are way too obsesssed and lacking in social skills. I was at panels during which people in the audience kept interrupting Todd. He's actually really nice and interacts well with the fans, but that doesn't mean you can just blurt out your thoughts while he's in the middle of a reading. Being a huge fan doesn't excuse bad manners.
Anyway, overall a really good year. Hopefully I'll make it to next year's.