David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

WorldCon Mid-Convention Report

It’s generally a good thing to have a niche in any field. I would have loved to be the Dark, Cool Mysterious SF Writer like Neal Stephenson, or the Dapper, Quick-Witted Handsome SF Writer like Neil Gaiman. But it seems like if there’s any niche I’m destined for, it’s the SF Writer Who Does Dumb Things and Then Blogs Self-Deprecatingly About Them.

I just got back from the Pyr panel at WorldCon in which I was to give a three-minute promo for my novel Infoquake. I was sharing a stage with luminaries like Mike Resnick, Alan Dean Foster, John Picacio, Chris Roberson, Ian McDonald, etc… and among all of those people, my editor Lou Anders chooses to call on me first.

I opened my mouth to speak. My brain went into Hibernate mode.

About two minutes later, after blathering who knows what (I definitely remember saying a) there are no ninjas in the book, and b) it’s about office meetings), Lou grabbed the mike from my hand and said he would take it from there. If you’ve never had a room of about 75 people burst into laughter at your expense, I highly recommend it. Luckily Lou did a much better job representing the novel, and it’s a testament to Lou’s salesmanship that a number of people came up to grab the promotional CD afterwards anyway. One woman came up specifically to tell me I needed to take public speaking lessons.

In the bar afterwards, I got a lot of good-natured ribbing from the crowd about my non-performance. You can often tell if people are your friends when they make fun of you right to your face instead of behind your back. Today, I’m happy to report I’ve gotten made fun of both ways.

And now for the obligatory Name Dropping portion of the mid-con report:

Folks I’ve been hanging out with include:

  • The one guy you want to know in any room, Pyr editor Lou Anders;
  • Chris Roberson, who relayed the story of why a case of mistaken identity has caused some previous WorldCon attendees to think that Sean Astin is an asshole;
  • Israeli science fiction publisher Rani Graff, a very genial, unflappable guy;
  • Australian SF author Joel Shepherd, who has the uncanny ability of turning any discussion into a political discourse on something;
  • Agony Column head honcho Rick Kleffel, who gave my book a fabulous review, interviewed me for an NPR segment, introduced me to Anne McCaffrey, and then bought me lunch;
  • Chesley Award-winning artist John Picacio, who has been doing some of the best Pyr covers lately;
  • My fellow DeepGenre blogger Kate Elliott, who is not only a brilliant novelist, but witty and wise in matters of publishing;
  • British novelist (and Doctor Who screenwriter) Paul Cornell, who emceed a very entertaining gameshow panel of “Just a Minute” in which Jay Lake whipped the asses of me, Lou Anders, Chris Roberson, and Simon Brown;
  • The radiant Deanna Hoak, my copy editor, who certainly deserves a World Fantasy award and recognition from GalleyCat as a Hottie of Publishing

There are certainly more things to report, but it’s 8:30 P.M. now, the Tor party is in an hour, and I hear a Newcastle at the Hilton bar calling my name.

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  1. Stephenson on August 26, 2006 at 1:55 am  Chain link

    Anyone can learn to speak well in public, but few can write as thoroughly an engaging book as Infoquake. It was a plesure meeting you and with people like Lou in your court it really doesn’t matter what comes out of your mouth as long as your best stuff keeps hitting the page.

  2. gary gibson on August 27, 2006 at 10:11 am  Chain link

    I’m the writer who destroys things. I should change my badge name to Mr Destructo whenever I go to cons. I don’t know how, but the best laid plans seem to fail effortlessly whenever I’m involved if it’s in the context of a convention. To wit: at the glasgow worldcon last year, I managed to kill a documentary someone was filming by sneezing loudly at exact twenty second intervals throughout an interview with me and a bunch of other writers in what could become a future blooper classic. I didn’t even have a *cold*.

  3. Thom Stanley on August 27, 2006 at 11:05 pm  Chain link

    Just a fan. But Infoquake was SUPERB. It’s one book, aside from Cryptonomicon, that I originally picked up on a whim at the library, read in three days (no small feat with that book), then promptly went out and bought…if only to do my part to ensure a sequel. I’m beyond ecstatic with the prose itself…and SF geeks and writers be damned at the expense of your presentation! Congratulations on your emergence. Hopefully your little con-faux-pas will pique enough interest to entrench a (hopefully) long and glorious career!

  4. Jose on August 28, 2006 at 8:39 am  Chain link

    Boy I wish I was there. It’d be nice to meet people face to face for a change rather than always knocking on their inboxes.

    Not to worry about the public speaking bit. I’m sure you’ll get the knack of it in time. Microphones have a very powerful dumbing down effect on your linguistic ability until you get used to them.

  5. David Louis Edelman on August 28, 2006 at 10:50 am  Chain link

    Stephenson: You are a saint, and great meeting you too by the way. Send me your e-mail address, hey?

    Gary: Perhaps we should form a Destructive Authors Union and charge dues.

    Thom: So glad you liked the book! Proof pos

  6. David Louis Edelman on August 28, 2006 at 10:54 am  Chain link

    *Sigh*. So now I know why you shouldn’t type blog comments on your Treo in an airport. They get cut off. More when I get back to D.C.

  7. Fiona Avery on August 28, 2006 at 8:41 pm  Chain link

    Why does that happen … with the Treos, I mean? Because I too have a Treo and I too get my entries cut off brutally just where they were getting good. And where does the rest of our entry go anyway? Are they receiving our last part of the sentence somewhere in another galaxy?

    SFX NOISE: tcky-tcky-tcky-on-keyboard ==> Thom: So glad you liked the book! Proof pos

    SFX NOISE: HIC! … itive that I did actually finish that book and I didn’t send the last half of it into the ether of space because of some technical Treo glitch!

    (I wanted to finish that for you … because it’s like when I leave half my paragraph in a rough draft unfinished on purpose. I have now trained myself like Pavlov’s Dog to finish any sentence I see half-uttered…)

    Nice to meet you this weekend! Sorry that every time I came to chat with you I was dragged away by salsa dancers and shiny objects. I tried! (I also don’t exaggerate…)

    Best,
    Fiona

  8. Paul Cornell on August 29, 2006 at 12:33 pm  Chain link

    It was a pleasure to meet you this weekend. The next big public speaking ordeal for you will of course be your Hugo acceptance speech next year. I await that with eagerness for several reasons.

  9. Kate Elliott on August 29, 2006 at 11:37 pm  Chain link

    My biggest disappointment in the convention was that I never made it to the bar.

    And of course, now I’m really sorry I missed the Pyr panel!

    Where did you run across Rani Graff? I met him in Israel earlier in the summer, but did not see him at all at the con.

  10. David Louis Edelman on August 29, 2006 at 11:52 pm  Chain link

    Of course, I have now completely forgotten what I was going to say in the comments that were zapped by my Treo. Beastly device.

    Paul: Hugo acceptance speech? While we’re thinking big, why not just say Nobel Prize acceptance speech?

    Kate: Rani Graff was, indeed, hanging out in the Hilton bar much of the time.

  11. Thom Stanley on September 1, 2006 at 10:02 pm  Chain link

    Heh.

    Next time you’re around Cincinnati for a con, lemme know. I’d love to shake your hand.

    Note: I refuse to do any communique from a cell phone or super-portable tableaux computer. For said very reason.

    Now… Let’s pull a Pratchett on him! Someone get over there and strap him to his chair, plop a laptop in front of him, and force him to keep writing!

    And on an aside: Am I the only one in this thread that is NOT a published writer (yet…)?

  12. Rani on September 7, 2006 at 11:18 am  Chain link

    Hey David,
    Just came back to Tel Aviv yesterday so I just saw your post now, but it was a pleasure to meet you and all the other people you mentioned and more. It was a cool con and I was sad when it was over. I do hope we will meet in future cons (worldfantasy 2007 here I come) and maybe even sooner.

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