David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Denvention Recapitulation

So I didn’t win the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as you might have noticed by now. Conventional Wisdom said the award would go to Scott Lynch, but Conventional Wisdom has a tendency to tease people like that. Instead the Campbell tiara went to my good friend, the short story writer Mary Robinette Kowal (seen below onstage wearing said tiara). Shows you that the Campbell Award contest has just devolved into a crass competition of who has the most friends. Oh, and the most talent. And the best writing. And the most promising future, and the record of giving back the most to the SF community.

Jeez. Screw that.

Mary Robinette Kowal. Photo by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenseAt the Hugo ceremony, me and my buddies Lou Anders, Ian McDonald, John Picacio, and Paul Cornell went 0 for 5 on awards. But I was encouraged to discover that, according to the official numbers (PDF), I received the second most number of Campbell nominations (only behind Mr. Lynch) and I came in third in the final tally out of a field of six. Not too shabby considering that I published absolutely nothing in 2007, the year under consideration.

But aside from that, how was the con? I hear you asking. The answer: I had a terrific time at Denvention, in spite of the con’s many challenges. Challenges such as being spread out over a convention hall so large it took you twenty minutes to get anywhere. Such as having all the parties and some of the programming in various hotels several blocks away. Such as having a dealer’s room far away from everything, which sat half-empty most of the time.

Highlights of my Denvention experience included:

  • Hanging out at the Hyatt bar and the nearby 24-hour diner until the wee hours of the night with the aforementioned Lou Anders, Ian McDonald, John Picacio, and Paul Cornell, not to mention Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, Deanna Hoak, Sean Williams, Daryl Gregory, John Scalzi, Alan Beatts, Jay Lake, Matt Jarpe, David J. Williams, John Joseph Adams, Rani Graff, and Jetse de Vries.
  • Meeting the lovely and hilarious Liza Groen Trombi, Executive Editor at Locus, and discussing all things Locus and all things parenting. I don’t think I quite managed to flirt my way into a cover article, but I’m still working on it.
  • Chatting with io9 head honchos Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders, the latter of whom is currently reading Infoquake for an io9 review. (Did I mention how lovely, charming, interesting, and articulate these two are?)
  • Attending the Pyr panel hosted by Lou Anders (and featuring fellow authors Kay Kenyon, Chris Roberson, Sean Williams, Mike Resnick, and Alexis Glynn Latner) and the Pyr party in honor of Brasyl author Ian McDonald.
  • Talking the ins and outs of publishing with Paolo Bacigalupi, who writes some namby-pamby liberal environmental crap in his new SF collection from Night Shade, Pump Six. Turns out he’s hysterical, interesting, and even nice.
  • Meeting fantasy author and fellow SFNovelists.com member David B. Coe in the flesh, and discovering that we have very similar outlooks on life and senses of humor. We now have matching tattoos on our upper thighs.
  • Attending one of the best sushi dinners of my life with the hilarious Doselle Young, the fabulously sexy Alethea Kontis, the talented Mary Robinette Kowal, the aforementioned David B. Coe, the delightful Misty Massey, and the almost-unbearably nice Eric James Stone, and one other person whose name is eluding me right now. We spent most of the time prying into Alethea’s love life over sake and offering her unsolicited commentary and suggestions.
  • Cover of Warren Hammond's 'Kop'Sharing several panels with Warren Hammond, author of KOP, who is really much too friendly and unassuming to have written a book with a cover like this one on the right.
  • Finally meeting and chatting about the writing of second novels with fantasy powerhouses Patrick Rothfuss and Ken Scholes at Joe and Gay Haldeman’s Rising Stars reception.
  • Meeting newly minted SF novelist brothers Eytan and Dani Kollin, whose upcoming The Unincorporated Man features a future Earth where free market capitalism has run amuck. Which means I should either be welcoming them into the fold of economic SF writers, or hunting them down and killing them as potential competitors.
  • Gabbing at the Aussie party about foreign rights with fantasist Pamela Freeman, who really seems much too nice to be in this business.
  • A raucous dinner with (among others) Mario Acevedo, author of The Undead Kama Sutra and admitted deranged mind, Jeremy Lassen, unflappable zoot suited impresario of Night Shade Books, Irene Gallo, keen-eyed Art Director for Tor Books, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Jetse de Vries. John Scalzi may brag about being in the group that thought up the market segment of “unicorn bukkake,” but I was in the group that dreamt up “YA zombie porn.” (Interestingly enough, Paolo is the only person who was part of both groups…)
  • Breakfast and con story swapping with the ever-interesting, ever-gracious Alis Rasmussen, aka Kate Elliott.
  • Watching the unending line of signature seekers in the dealers room for Elizabeth Moon, while I sat in the next chair over and smiled pleasantly at the half-dozen who decided to seek out my signature. (Ms. Moon seemed almost embarrassed about the disparity, and assured me many times that she had been in my shoes before.)
  • Post-con recapping over beer at the Denver airport with fellow DC area writer David J. Williams.

Believe it or not, those are just the highlights. My apologies to anyone whom I may have hung out with/chatted with/drank with/gotten tattoos with and didn’t mention here, but there’s only so much time I can spend recapping this stuff.

Update 8/11/08 @ 10:08 pm: Can’t believe I forgot to give a shout out to my buddies at Solaris, George Mann, Christian Dunn, and Mark Newton, among whom I spent many hours drinking and schmoozing. Always good to see those guys.

Update 8/12/08 @ 8:48 am: Patrick Nielsen Hayden reminds me that the photo credit for Mary Robinette Kowal is his, and that the photo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Thanks, PNH! Sorry, didn’t intend to imply this photo was my own.

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  1. Mary Robinette Kowal on August 12, 2008 at 1:48 am  Chain link

    David, you know that you are one of my very favorite people, right?

  2. David Louis Edelman on August 12, 2008 at 8:46 am  Chain link

    Well, I’d hoped that was the case.

    I don’t think I need to say that you’re one of my very favorite people, because I think everyone knows that by now. :-)

  3. John Picacio on August 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm  Chain link

    That Campbell category was so stacked this year, top to bottom. Congrats to Mary for the win. Dave, you’ve got bigger days ahead, for sure. Keep pushing over there. MULTIREAL in ’09! :)

  4. Ruth on August 13, 2008 at 8:08 pm  Chain link

    Hey, that far-away dealer’s room allowed me to bookshop without constant jostling repeatedly over the course of the weekend.

    When mentioning the hotels several blocks away you forgot the caveat that not only were they several blocks away, but when you needed/wanted to go to them it tended to be raining cats and dogs.

  5. David Louis Edelman on August 13, 2008 at 8:30 pm  Chain link

    Ah yes, the rain. How could I have forgotten the rain?

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