Conversion 26 has come and gone. I could take the time to dissect it, to let you know what I thought was good and bad about it, but I think I'll take a different approach. Here was what I thought was noteworthy, from my point of view, about the Con. I’ll let others do the autopsy (bones, bugs and all):
• Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo standup routine with both of them playing their Star Trek: Voyager characters. Wonderful performances.
• Hamburger and hotdogs for a banquet meal.
• A red-faced Ron Friedman and actress/songstress Chase Masterson and no photos.
• Seeing H.A. Hargreaves and family for the first time in 30 years. He received his Aurora Pin for his Aurora nomination in the early 1980’s.
• H.A. Hargreaves accepting Rigor Amortis, the anthology with my first short story publication, 30 years after he signed a copy of his book of collected short stories.
• Literary Panels. Feeling inadequate on those panels.
• Robert J. Sawyer. Surprise, surprise, surprise. He was here and he’s a friends with Chase Masterson.
• Meeting Marina Sirtis and John deLancie in person.
• Hugs from Brian Hades and the rest of the Edge Books group.
• Finding out that Rigor Amortis can go mainstream as an Edge Books imprint for distribution in regular book seller channels. All we have to do is sell 600 copies … soon.
• Getting advice about Worldbuilding from David B. Coe.
• The Dalek. And Dr. Who.
• Reading my story in Rigor Amortis aloud to an audience for the first time.
• Rene Bennett’s flash fiction story that won Writer’s Idol. Wonderful. And she wrote it the night before.
• My creative writing teacher, Betty Jane Hegerat, has read my story in Rigor Amortis. And she liked it. What a wonderful feeling.
• IFWA’s Monster Mash.
• Actually getting some much-needed sleep throughout the Con.
• Sentry Box (and all other bookstores in the city) running out of David B. Coe’s first book in his fantasy series Winds of the Forelands.
• Pho. And Denny’s. And Humpty’s.
• Free drinks at the Con Suite.
This Week’s Reason to Read:
Under Heaven: If you haven’t been paying attention to Canadian Spec Fic, then you don’t know that the incomparable Guy Gavriel Kay has published his next novel set in a world inspired by the glory and power of Tang Dynasty China.
In the novel, Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in the empire's last great war against its western enemies, twenty years before. Forty thousand men, on both sides, were slain by a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently, having spoken to his son in later years about his sadness in the matter of this terrible battle.
To honour his father's memory, Tai spends two years in official mourning alone at the battle site by the blue waters of Kuala Nor. Each day he digs graves in hard ground to bury the bones of the dead. At night he can hear the ghosts moan and stir, terrifying voices of anger and lament. Sometimes he realizes that a given voice has ceased its crying, and he knows that is one he has laid to rest.
The dead by the lake are equally Kitan and their Taguran foes; there is no way to tell the bones apart, and he buries them all with honour.
It is during a routine supply visit led by a Taguran officer who has reluctantly come to befriend him that Tai learns that others, much more powerful, have taken note of his vigil...