I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I've been really bad about writing this for multiple reasons. I didn't have much time, combined with me not really feeling this. A little freaking out about school. (The check went through so I don't owe them for the first semester anymore, yay!) So I'm going to go over this, and I'm just going to do one giant post. First of all, I don't take pictures. I feel uncomfortable if there's anything that's... unwanted. If I get someone in the background, and they don't want to be in a picture?
That's my personal line. Not looking down on anyone who does differently. I've had my picture taken - with consent and when people haven't asked - and while I ended up laughing and being okay with it, it was unsettling to me to think of someone photographing me without asking. I'm very, very careful about it since then and since it can be impossible not to get anyone in the background.
I know panelists are literally up on a stage - that they know they're being recorded because all the panels are - but I still don't like taking pictures of them. They don't know that I'm doing it to them then, and it could be argued that it's good publicity, but without knowing how they fell about it? Nope, no thanks. I'm not comfortable.
Guests of honor. I've talked about this before. It was absolutely fantastic. Naomi Novik and Nnedi Okorafor were both charming, intelligent, and very friendly. Open and eager to talk about their work, I found myself engaged with everything they had to say. Novik honestly spoke more about the process of writing and Okorafor got a little more political - not overwhelmingly so or about actual politics, but she spoke about victims, how they're silenced, and wanting to hear their voices and write from that. I liked it because it wasn't being hit over the head with either. (And Okorafor, of course, spoke about the process of writing, but I felt like Novik was more focused on that, particularly in the Kaffeklatches and interviews. And to clarify on the interviews, they're done every year. Nothing else is up against them - that is no other panels take place - and each guest of honor is interviewed by a different person. They're always fairly well attended and it gives you some one-on-one time with the guests of honor. An hour where they can speak about themselves, their writing, their process, their influences and fandoms and so on and so forth.) I spent a good deal thinking about that, and I like both approaches, probably because both felt honest and engaging for each other. They did what was most comfortable to them and that made it more interesting.
I was engaged with their work, too. Some years I'm only so-so on one guest of honor. Not that their work, or the way they speak, isn't good or enlightening or intelligent - they always are! I just have trouble getting into their works sometimes. I was very much into both authors, though, so that probably made me more interested.
There are just too many to name! It was, as always, nice seeing Paul Tremblay, Nicholas Kauffman and Terence Taylor. I got to tell them all I was going to grad school, too! So that was nice. Terence Taylor is almost done with his third book and I get to be a beta reader. I do need to start a reread of his first two books, though...
I met Daryl Gregory in a Kaffeklatche, and he ended up talking about the process of getting published. (There was one author, Teri Clarke, who I will speak about in a moment and two authors who were trying to get published, or further published. When Gregory asked what we wanted to talk about I shrugged and said I was just there to hear him talk and the others wanted to hear about how to get published. Clarke came in a few minutes after he had asked and we were already talking.) It was disappointing to see how many people - Gregory and Clarke included - who considered books to be babies, but to their credit both Gregory and Clarke were in favor of critical and negative reviews and didn't consider that to be calling their baby ugly. (Self-publishing was brought up and I voiced my concerns: you don't have guaranteed editing and I've been called awful names by self-published authors. Everyone was grossed out when I said what they were, and everyone agreed that it was ridiculous not to say if you had an editor, which some self-published authors have told me was not my business.)
Teri Clarke had an amazing pinhead doll that her friend made. and these bows in her hair that kept changing and that I absolutely adored: big, bold, bright colored, they just made me smile when I saw them. I think it's because I feel like it takes guts to wear certain things, especially as a woman. You don't fall in line and wear something subtle, or you wear too much fandom outside of a fandom space - something that will come back - then you can get comments and looks. This was bold and bright and unexpected, to be be honest, and I felt like they were great. So I smiled and I told her how much I loved her bows when I saw her at Gregory's Kaffeklatche.
I saw Haris Durrani and it was kind of neat. I read his book last year, during Readercon. I had a review up by the time Readercon was done, I believe. And the first time I saw him was in a hallway, and he nodded his head and thanked me for my review again. I think my jaw dropped, because I couldn't believe he remembered it. I immediately had a spring in my step. I went to his signing and I told him I'd purchased Tripping With Allah, but I suck at reading non-fiction, so I hadn't quite gotten it done yet. Ooops. Still, he seemed happy to see every single fan, and yeah, me, too. HIs reading was brilliant.
Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi are always charming. I see them mostly at the ChiZine table in the dealer's room and I saw a couple authors from the ChiZine stable, too. David Demchuk signed a copy of The Bone Mother for me. (Authors called me either Shoshana or Grimlock, depending on if they knew me before the change, and I found I was equally comfortable with both. Brett and Sandra in particular know me from well before and therefore tended to call me Shoshana. I even got a call out during Sandra's reading: she read one of my favorite of her poems - although I love them all - and said it was for me. Yay!)
Neil Clarke and I spoke at his table, and he was just so much fun. When I picked out four of his magazines, he gave me this odd look. He couldn't figure out why I had picked out those four, and he just came out and asked me, and I pointed out they were the four with robots on the cover. We ended up talking about artists that he's worked with who do robot series, and he told me the story about the romantic robot cover that was supposed to be him and his wife. (A boy robot is romancing a human girl, so, yeah, I had all the feels about that cover.)
L.J. Cohen remembered me, and since I bought her latest book - and got that signed - I got a little pin with a small journal attached. Like so tiny, but so cute! She had all four covers and I picked the one I liked best - Dreadnought and Shuttle.
I met some other lovely ladies from Broad Universe, and I bought two short story collections - Mojo, which I'm in the middle of reading, and UnConventional which the author who sold it to me signed.
Steve Berman had previously claimed he wouldn't go to Readercon again. I was saddened and told him so but also said I supported his choice. I was excited to see his was coming back again and bought one short story collection and two hardcovers of a Shirley Jackson listed book, one for me one for the library basket I'm going to make for their next raffle. (If for some reason they say no, I'll just do a giveaway here.) I also got two sets of prints - one for me, one for the raffle/giveaway - as well as some pins they were giving away to everyone. We laughed, we joked, and I was overall just thrilled to see Berman again even though we didn't see each other that much.
I'm not using name for various reasons. Privacy. Some people I got into conversations to, and we were parted before I realize both of us got so into the talk about reading that neither had bothered to ask each other our names.
I had some really awesome talks. Two women from Australia hung out with me before Readercon officially started. I was answering questions about registration - Friday morning, not Thursday evening - sign up for the Kaffeklatches, and we just talked about them coming from that far away. More to the point, I asked them if they lived in Australia and came over, if they didn't mind answering. They didn't. I was crowing that I could tell my dad, because he didn't believe people came that far. They were like 'what, there's nothing to do in Australia,' and asked whey he thought that. And I shrugged and said, 'well, he can't be bothered to come from in state because he's not interested, so I think he just gets surprised that people come from that far away.' They told me that because of the amount of time they spent in a plane, and the amount of money they spent traveling, they did a little more traveling and touring and didn't come just for Readercon. That makes sense!
I met one of the women later and asked how she liked Readercon. We're both introverts so we were both a little ragged: it was too many people with too little alone time, but it was encouraging to see that I'm not the only one. I didn't feel so alone or bad about needing time to myself. I told her the first year, I crammed in everything I could but after a while, I realized I enjoyed it more if I took an hour or half hour to myself in the consuite or in a hallway, so I'd started doing that.
I met a gentleman I'd seen before and he invited me out to dinner after I gave blood. We were going to go out out, but there was a lot of talk about where and when and what I was losing patience. I said feel free to go but I need to eat, I'm just going to go to the restaurant in the hotel. He and two of his friends - people I had not met before - sat down and ate. I learned that there's such a thing as a Game of Thrones fantasy league. And how that worked. I'm not interested enough in GoT or fantasy leagues to join one, much less this one, but I was fascinated in hearing how she'd won last round, and what characters she'd gotten and the rules.
I met a gentleman in a Moon Knight shirt who loved the Lemire run as much as I do, and we bounced around some ideas about that series, as well as why Moon Knight fans are hard to spot sometimes. We got deep, deep into that fandom and I learned that Moon Knight - a character I tried because of Lemire to be honest - was originally introduced in Werewolf by Night, and his original costume was made of silver to fight werwolves.
I spoke to a woman who was a first time Readercon goer from the US. Her husband had just gotten a new job, and couldn't take vacation time. Instead, she came alone and brought him back tons and tons of books per his orders. She was studying fairy tales and was happy to see multiple panels about them, and we had a long, detailed talk about the prime numbers most commonly used in fairy tales - three, seven and to a lesser degree twenty one as it's three times seven. We were just geeking out about the math involved in literature and I never geek out about math, so that was fun and a little new for me.
Those are the moments that really stand out to me. I've spoken about the kaffeklatches that were highlights. One other panel that stands out in my mind was about what a character can endure versus what authors put them through - like three weeks without water which isn't possible. There were just some really snarky comments, and those were from the panelists, so I laughed a bunch.
I'm so sorry, once again, for not getting this down sooner. I just had to be in the right mood - and I was today.