Category Archives: Tales from the Con

Link Salad

I’m busy getting caught up on some a backlog of work so I can focus exclusively on writing after that, so today we have link salad.

First, here’s an interview I did for the Denver Post a while back.

This interview ended up being a bit different. It was a phone interview. (That’s not the different part.) And when the journalist called, she asked if her daughter could listen in, because she was a big fan of the books.

I said it was no problem, and when I found out that she was 18 and about to leave for college, I asked if she wanted some advice. Because I have a weakness for giving advice, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s college.

She said yes, so I gave her some advice.

What’s interesting is that they included the advice to the daughter in the interview. After re-reading it, I’m happy to say it was pretty good advice. It wasn’t just a product of over-caffeination.

Second, I wanted to point folks at Wednesday’s comic over at Real Life.

Why am I pointing you at that comic? Because right now I’m brewing a batch of mead, and I have done exactly what he’s talking about. Except without the smartphone. Because I’m apparently the last person on earth without a smartphone.

Thirdly and lastly, a quick story. Or rather, a series of stories that make a sort of story gestalt.

Though I don’t gamble much, it’s always fascinated me. Back in high school, I used what little calculus I knew to create a roulette betting system that I was pretty sure would make me rich.

Luckily, at that point in my life I didn’t have access to a car or a line of credit. What’s more, when I wrote a computer program to model my betting strategy, it kept losing money. So I gave it up as a bad idea and kept playing D&D instead.

Fast forward to last year, when Worldcon was held in Reno. A reader contacted me and asked if I’d like some help finding a room in Reno. Jade worked in the hospitality business, and hooked me up with some accommodations.

He also sent me this map:

(Click to Embiggen)

If you click on it, you can see that it has helpful tips on it, such as, “Do not go here or you will die.”

I got a kick out of it, and posted it up on Google+ for other people to see.

A couple days later when I was doing a signing in Reno, someone came up to me and said, “I went to that place that the map said I shouldn’t.”

I nodded. This didn’t surprise me. I had the same impulse when I saw it. The main reason I hadn’t already gone myself is that I was too busy with the convention.

“Did you die?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “But someone stole my car.”

At that point I decided to take Jade’s advice a little more seriously. And, as you can see, I’m still alive. So I count that as a success.

I found out a couple months back that Jade had actually started up a blog where he talks about casinos and gambling. It’s not only funny, but informative, as he has a insider’s knowledge of casinos and casino towns.

You can check it out HERE.

That’s all for now,

pat

P.S. We’re still shipping out Worldbuilders prizes. So keep an eye on your mailboxes.

Also posted in Interviews, Link salad | By Pat41 Responses

150K Blog: Rare Books and a Chance to Game with Pat

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

As I write this, we’ve raised over $202,000 which means we’ve beaten last year’s total by over ten thousand dollars.

This seems to indicate that we, as a group, are awesome.

I’m going to celebrate by moving our donation goal up to 225K. Part of me wants to shoot for 250K. It would be nice to say, “We raised a quarter million dollars this year.” But we only have a week left, and I don’t want my reach to exceed my grasp….

Unfortunately, this burst of generosity draws attention to the fact that I haven’t posted the 150K bonus blog yet.

I’ve been slow posting this blog because I wanted to do something a special for this milestone. Specifically, I wanted to post up a video of me reading a picture book to y’all.

The book is called Beatrice’s Goat, and it’s the story that made me fall in love with Heifer International.

I’m donating 10 copies to the fundraiser:

I’ve been planning this for months. I got permission from Heifer International to read the book in a video. I found a guy that does video editing here in Stevens Point. I looked into the proper pronunciations for the names….

I even (and this should really underline how seriously I was taking things) got a haircut so I wouldn’t look like a hobo on the video. Or at the very least, I’d look like a halfway respectable hobo.

Lastly, in a stroke of genius, I decided to bring my son into the project. He’s way more photogenic than I am, and he loves books. Why wouldn’t I shoot a video of me reading the book to him?

So yesterday I got the edited video back, sat down to to watch it…. and was appalled.

The problem is my voice, you see. I never realized that my voice goes up about three quarters of an octave when I read to little Oot.

You know how that uncomfortable feeling you get when you hear your own voice played back from a recording? That’s how I felt watching the video, except about a hundred times worse. I was in a constant state of cringe.

I know it’s a silly thing to be embarrassed about, but I don’t know if I want a video out there of me reading to my son in this goofy-ass voice.

Why am I telling y’all this? Well, over the last month, I’ve told a lot of people that I was planning on posting the video, so I figured I owed you an explanation as to why I’m not posting it up here with the books.

Sorry to sissy out on y’all…. Let me make it up to you by tossing some more cool stuff into the fundraiser.

*     *     *

As some of you on facebook might have already seen, when I was out at Confusion a week ago, a bunch of authors got together and played a game of D&D. Old school D&D. AD&D.

There was a lot of talent at the table: Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Jim Hines, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, and Jay Lake. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed ran things.

Brent Weeks did a write up of the adventure over here, if you want to hear the epic details of how we were almost killed by goblins.

Simply said, it was a great time. I got to cast Magic Missile and everything.

In order to pass on some of the geeky love, I’ve decided to run a game at the next convention I’m attending: Stellarcon 36.

So if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have an adventure in the Four Corners, this is your chance to find out.

The winners of this auction will get to play in a one-shot role-playing geekfest set in the Four Corners world. You will join Pat Rothfuss and Steve Long of HERO Games for a collaborative storytelling experience of such intensity that it will doubtless leave you a shattered wreck of a human being.

Pat will pre-generate characters and provide a brief explanation of the HERO gaming system. (You don’t need to know the system in order to play and enjoy the game.) The game will be run on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in the afternoon or evening.

In addition to a seat at the gaming table, the winners of these auctions will receive free memberships to StellarCon 36 where the game will be held.

StellarCon 36 runs from March 2nd – 4th, 2012. The convention will be held at the Best Western High Point Hotel in High Point, North Carolina.

Please note: this auction does not include food, lodging, or transportation to the convention.

Two more seats will be in auctioned or raffled off at the convention itself on March 3rd. Folks who are through registration by 11:00 AM will definitely still be able to throw their name in the hat and/or bid on those at the convention.

You can bid on the first game seat here.

The second seat here.

And the third seat here.

Or you can stalk all the auctions at once by following this link.

  • 10 first edition hardcover copies of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. The first WMF books ever signed by Pat.

I wasn’t going to include any copies of my book in the fundraiser, then Penguin sent a couple boxes of books along to help out with the fundraiser.

They were the last remaining books that I signed in New York back in January of 2011, months before the book was even out. I wrote about the surreal experience in the blog.

I’ve taken the liberty of dating these books January 26, 2011. Which makes them something of a rarity, as they’re dated two months before the publication date.

  • One hardcover copy of Subterranean Press’s Tales of Dark Fantasy.

A long out-of-print collection featuring an early version of my short story, “The Road to Levinshir,” as well as stories by other notable authors like Mike Carey and Poppy Z Bright.

  • Three first edition copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. Signed by the authors and doodled by Nate Taylor.

These are first edition copies that Nate was kind enough to doodle in:

I wish I could doodle….

  • Three hardcover copies of Gollancz 50th anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Gollancz printed retro-style copies of 5 classic fantasy books in celebration of their 50th year in publishing. The fact that Name of the Wind made it into the mix still makes me blushy with pride.

The introduction in this book by Steaphen Deas makes me kinda blushy, too.

  • One copy of Your College Survival Guide. Signed by Patrick Rothfuss and doodled by B.J. Hiorns.

This book was my first publication from back in 2005. A shameful piece of my sordid past.

It’s a collection of of humor columns I wrote for the college paper between 1999 and 2003. Columns dealt with pressing philosophical issues such as the fast zombie/slow zombie debate as well as everyday problems like how to bribe your professor or start a career as a prostitute.

The book is full of illustrations by BJ Hiorns, the same guy that occasionally illustrates my blog. It also contains annotations where I explain how some columns got written, the lies I told, and what sort of trouble various jokes got me into.

Only 500 of these were printed, and I have less than a dozen left.

The last time I looked online, the only ones I could find were being sold for over 800 bucks on Amazon:

Here’s the doodle Brett did in this one.

You can see why I love him….

  • AUCTION: One-of-a-kind Leather-bound Hardcover of  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

(Click to Embiggen. It’s worth it.)

Last but not least, we have a real gem.

This is a one-of-a-kind copy of The Name of the Wind, hand-bound in leather by bookbinder Hunter Ford.

This hardcover book is bound in blue Northamptonshire goat leather and decorated with gold acrylic paint. Printed on acid-free paper with marbled end pages, it is 636 pages with size 12 font and narrow margins.

It’s not just a rare book, it’s a unique book. And I’ll gladly sign it to the winner, if the winner so desires.

Our thanks to Hunter Ford for this treasure.

To see more pictures or bid on this book, click here.

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many more.

Even better, if you chip in before February 7th of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Also posted in a billion links, BJ Hiorns Art, gaming, geeking out, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat40 Responses

San Diego 2011: Thursday: Wherein Pat Is (mostly) Not A Pervert

This is part of the San Diego Diary: Wednesday, Thursday Part I, Thursday Part II (Wootstock), and Friday Ad Infinitum.

*     *    *

Thursday is my big day at the con, I’m on a panel with a bunch of epic fantasy bigwigs including George Martin and  Brandon Sanderson. It’s my only panel at the con this year, and it’s going to be a big one.

So I make a point of getting up extra early so I’ll have time to perform my elaborate grooming rituals, anoint myself with scented oils, and carefully select which of my many stylish tuxedos I will wear to the convention.

My which I mean to say that I wake up at 11:00 and am walking to the con by 11:20.

  • 11:30 – Coffee.

Yeah. If I’m going to try be witty on the panel. I definitely need some. So I get some.

For those of you that are curious, it’s a large white chocolate mocha with hazelnut.

Yeah, yeah. I know it’s not the most macho coffee in the world. But I couldn’t get my usual. They didn’t have blueberry syrup.

  • 11:45 – Satyriasis

While heading up to my panel I get a text from a friend. Pooka is the lovely fan who took me under her wing at my very first ComicCon back in 2009. I was wandering aimlessly, trembling and dewy as a newborn fawn. She took pity on me and, to completely mix the metaphor, showed me the ropes.

Pooka’s message tells me she’s been standing in line for hours and is worried that she won’t be able to get in. I give her a call and let her know that this is the one place in the world that I might actually be able to use my meager crumb of celebrity and get her in the door.

So I get to the room and start to stroll down the line. Pooka isn’t hard to spot because she’s wearing six inch platform boots and… well… this:

Pooka is the one on the right. You can’t see it too well in this picture, but she’s also covered in glitter.

(Also, those aren’t cat ears, they’re horns. I made the mistake of calling her a catgirl and she pointed out my mistake.)

She’s only about 20 people from the front of the line, so I wander over and say hello. Then I pull her out of the line and we head to the door where I’m also going to try and work my mojo to get her and another friend.

I met Gregory Noveck at the con last year, he’s a fan of the books that works in the movie business, and he’s been kind enough to help clue me in to some of the mysteries of how Hollywood works.

I introduce the two of them, and we chat for a moment or two until the panel before mine finishes. Then I show my badge to the door guy and head inside with my two friends and a few of the other speakers and press people. Once I’m in, I can see that there’s actually a ton of seats available. Pooka didn’t need my help after all.

With Pooka and Greg are safely inside, I head out again to get a drink of water and burn a little nervous energy. I’m preoccupied with the upcoming panel, a little nervous because I’m going to be up there with some people who are a Pretty Big Deal.

It’s not until almost 5 minutes later that I start thinking of how this must have looked to the other people standing in line around Pooka.

So for the record, I’d like to officially state that I’m not a pervert.

Well, wait. Depending on your viewpoint, I probably am.

But I’d like to officially state that I’m not the particular flavor of tacky pervert I must have looked like to the casual observer. I didn’t just show up for my panel, troll down the line until I found some random, scantily-clad, hot girl, and pull her inside as some sort honorary arm candy. We know each other. We’re friends.

Honestly.

  • 12:00: The Epic Panel

(Click to Embiggen.)

We talked about epic fantasy.

It was a good panel, but we needed more time or fewer people. Seven is too many in my opinion, especially when you’ve got this many heavy hitters. Especially if you consider that we’re folks who tend to measure our word counts in terms of millions.

For the most part, I tried to keep my answers brief and to the point. And a little funny never hurts, either. I got a few good laughs from the audience and didn’t make an ass of myself, so I consider the experience a success.

If you’re interested in the details, you can check out some videos of the panel over here.

After the panel, Martin came up and shook my hand, said he’d really enjoyed my second book. Said it was a good, quick read. A page-turner.

I was caught completely off guard by this. I was stunned and flattered, in all honesty. Luckily, I didn’t have time to make an ass of myself because the people in charge quickly hustle us over to our….

  • 1:30 Epic Signing

Everyone on the panel sits down to sign books for a while. Paolini and Martin were busy as bees. I wasn’t in nearly as big a demand, which was actually really nice as it gave me the chance to hang out and chat with the people that wanted their books signed. That’s something there isn’t time for me to do at some of the bigger events where we get 300+ people.

  • 2:30 – Ronin

I owe allegiance to no man. I wander the exhibit hall, a law unto myself, looking at catgirls and thinking a lot about waveform motion.

  • 4:30 – Christopher Fucking Moore.

I hear that Jim Butcher’s signing is finishing up at 4:30, so I wander over to meet him and see if he’s interested in grabbing an early dinner with Sanderson, Paolini and I.

As an unexpected treat, Amber Benson is there as well. I totally get a hug. Because I’m awesome.

Then I realize one of the other guys there signing books is Christopher Moore. And at first all I can think is, “Fucksocks!”

You see, up until a year ago, I’d never read anything Moore had written. Then I picked up a copy of You Suck to read on a plane and immediately fell in love. The next day I went to my local indi bookstore and bought every book he’d ever written.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog about his books for ages. But for now, let me simply say that he’s brilliant. Double plus brilliant.

I grab a quick handshake and do a brief, “Hello. Your stuff is incredible.” And leave it at that, lest I over-gush.

Then I buy the last two special-edition copies of Lamb they have for sale. (They look like bibles, gold leaf and everything) One is for me, and the other I’m going to use it as a prize for Worldbuilders later on this year.

  • 5:00 – Dinner

So Sanderson, Butcher, Paolini, and Rothfuss walk into a bar….

Or rather, we walk through a bar, and into a restaurant to have dinner. We’re accompanied by Christopher’s sister, Angela, and Jim’s friend, Priscilla Spencer. I know Priscilla from way back (She does Books for Boobs, among other things.) But I never realized that she was the same Priscilla that did Jim’s maps for the Codex Alera.

Yeah. I’m kinda thick sometimes.

We have a lovely time over dinner. We tell stories and engage in the geeky book talk.

Unfortunately, I have a previous engagement, and I have to leave far sooner than I’d like.

I stand up and put my napkin on the table. “I’m really sorry,” I say. “But I’ve got to get going. I’m doing a little cameo appearance at Wootstock.”

I try to say this casually. As if I do this sort thing all the time. But I’m pretty sure I sound smug as hell. Because the truth is, I’m really, really fucking excited about getting to be part of Wootstock.

Also, I am slightly terrified. Slightly completely terrified.

It turns out Jim and Priscilla have tickets for Wootstock, so we share a taxi on the way there….

I’m in a taxi with Jim Butcher, heading to a theater where I’m going to meet with members of the Geek Gliterati. I’m heading to a theater where I’m going to stand onstage, alone, and read something to a crowd of over 1000 people.

My life has become rather strange over the last couple years….

*     *     *

Next: Wootstock!

Also posted in conventions, geeking out, recommendations, videos | By Pat50 Responses

Meeting Terry Pratchett

So as I mentioned yesterday, while I was at NADWcon this weekend, I got the chance to get a book signed by Terry Pratchett.

The thought of getting a book signed is an odd one to me. In these last several months, it’s possible that I’ve signed thousands of books. Many thousands. I’ve signed books to families, to kids, to grandparents. I’ve signed books in warehouses, libraries, bookstores, and colleges….

But honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever approached someone to get their autograph. Not in a formal setting. And certainly not anyone of Terry Pratchett’s status. Not someone I’ve been reading since I stumbled onto a copy of Sourcery in Shopko in 1989….

By the time Monday rolled around, I’d been at the convention for three solid days. And truth be told, I was kinda hoping that I might run into Terry at some point in that time. Maybe we’d be in the elevator together. Maybe we’d meet in the hallway on the way to a panel. Maybe someone would introduce us and I’d get a chance to say a few words….

But it didn’t happen. I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. I know how these things work. It’s a big con, and Terry’s the star of the show. They have to work hard to protect the Guest of Honor at events like this or they’re mobbed by fans. If they aren’t careful, a guest like Terry will have a hard time finding a moment’s peace to eat. I’ve seen some titan-level writers who have trouble simply walking down a hallway at a con without a handful of people asking for an autograph or a picture.

So I didn’t stalk Pratchett. I didn’t arrange an introduction, or just happen to bump into him somewhere. Even when I found out that his room was right next to mine in the hotel, I didn’t do anything like leave a copy of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle outside his door. I didn’t want to be that guy.

The signings were carefully controlled, too. They have to be. Terry has written more than 50 books, and everyone there would like nothing more than to get a bunch signed. If they let everyone get as many books signed as they’d like, Terry would have spent the entire length of the four-day convention signing books.

I’m not being hyperbolic here. It’s the literal truth. He could easily have spent 70 hours signing books if the convention didn’t work hard to control the situation.

This is something I understand only now that I’ve been on my first signing tour.

Take me, for example. I’m a newbie author. I have two books out (compared to Pratchett’s 50+). I’ve been published for four years (compared Pratchett’s 40.)

To put this in different terms, I am currently hovering around 2300 Gaiman-Day units of cool, which isn’t bad.

But Pratchett probably ranks in at more than 60,000. I mean, when you write so well they actually knight you, you’re kind of a big deal.

Despite my relatively newbie nature, when I showed up in Houston back in March, I signed books for 9 hours straight. Given that I’m about 2% of a Pratchett, you can see how quickly one of his signings could spiral into madness if it wasn’t carefully controlled.

My point is, I knew Pratchett wasn’t going to be signing books all higgledy piggledy at the con. Even if he signed a single book for every person there, it would take him 12 hours. Because of that, I knew I probably wasn’t going to have a chance to get anything signed.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised when the guest liaison for the convention told me that if I wanted, he might be able to pull a few little strings for me. Maybe enough for me to get a book signed. Maybe.

I was honest, and said I’d be grateful for the chance. If I could get a book signed, I’d be able to use it for the charity I run every year.

He said that if the book was for charity, we could almost certainly make it happen.

So I bought a copy of Nation from Dreamhaven in the dealer’s room, and on Monday, I wandered to the hall where Terry was signing. He was mostly autographing stuff items that had been sold at the charity auction the day before. I’d had to miss the auction because I was doing some paneling. But it was probably for the best, as I’d already spent more money than I should on swag.

The guest liaison motioned me over and told me it was cool if I got something signed. It really didn’t have to be for the charity, either, he said. I could just get something for myself.

Suddenly I was really conflicted. I’d brought a copy of Where’s My Cow? to the convention, because whenever we travel with Oot, we need to bring about a dozen books to keep him happy. (He’s like his dad that way.)

I’ve been reading Where’s My Cow? to Oot since before he could talk. It’s a great book, and the ending makes me a little weepy, because I’ve turned into a total soppy git ever since I became a dad.

Oot knows what noises the animals make, even the  Hippopotamus. He really likes the page with Coffin’ Henry on it, too, and asks to see it again and again.

He also enthusiastically says, “Buggrit!” Which is a little troubling to Sarah, but pleases me to no end.

So when the guest liaison says I can get any book signed, I realize I have Where is My Cow? in my backpack. I could get Pratchett to sign the book to Oot….

It’s a hard moment, but I decide to get Nation signed for Worldbuilders instead. Because personal isn’t the same as important. The signed book will be a nice draw for Worldbuilders if we throw it into the general mix of prizes. And if we auction it, I’m guessing it will bring in at least a couple hundred bucks. That’s enough for a couple of goats….

I consider trying to get both signed, of course. Because I’m only human. Terry is a nice guy, and accommodating, so I’m guessing if I pulled a second book out of my bag when I was at the table he’d go for it….

But I shake off the thought fairly quickly. I am not a special snowflake. I don’t deserve to get two books signed when everybody else gets one. If everyone tried to pull that shit, Terry would have an extra 2000 books to sign.

The guest liaison brings me up to the table and introduces me, explaining that I’m fellow author and that I’ve hit the New York Times with both my books. That’s nice of him. It lets me stand a little taller.

Terry looks up at me and says, “I’m guessing you’re fantasy, not science fiction.”

I grin and nod. “We do have a certain look, don’t we?”

I’m pleasantly surprised by the fact that I don’t feel terribly tongue-tied or shaky or awkward.

[Author’s note: Sarah just brought Oot in after his shower. He grinned at me and, “Bugit! … Hand and shrimp! Fow Ron!” (This will only make sense if you’ve read a lot of Discworld or Where’s My Cow?)]

I hand over the copy of Nation and say, “This book was absolutely gorgeous. It might be the best book I’ve ever read.”

“I got a lot of letters from children,” Terry says. “They were upset because it didn’t have a happy ending.”

He opens the book and signs his name. His signature is way loopier than mine.

Terry keeps talking as he signs, “But I always reply, ‘It has a ending. It has the right ending.”

“It has the perfect ending,” I say. “It was beautiful. It absolutely broke my heart.”

And that was it. I moved away and made room for the rest of the folk who had things for him to sign.

Would I have liked to talk longer? Maybe chat about writing and the art of ending? Of course. Who wouldn’t?

But there’s only so much time. And honestly, I was happy to wrap things up before I accidentally made an ass of myself.

Besides, though Pratchett didn’t know it, he’s said about the best thing possible to me. I worry about the ending of my story sometimes. I worry that people won’t like it. Most of my readers are hoping for a particular type of ending. They e-mail me with their theories and their hopes. They want X to hook up with Y. They want Z to get his comeuppance. They want such and such story tied up in a certain way….

I know it comes from a place of love. But it makes me nervous.

After talking to Terry, I’m less nervous. I can’t give each of you your own personalize ending, containing everything you specifically wanted out of the story. That’s impossible.

But I can give you the right ending. A perfect ending.

That’s all for now. If you have a spare moment, send a good thought this way tomorrow.

I don’t want to give any specifics, but tomorrow is going to be a little rough for us. If everything goes well it won’t be a big deal. But still, if you have a spare thought, Oot and Sarah and I could use it, just for luck.

Later,

pat

Also posted in conventions, meeting famous people, Oot, signing books, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat100 Responses

My First Discworld Convention

So this weekend I went to NADWcon: The North American Discworld convention.

I know what you’re thinking. Technically there shouldn’t be a “W” in that acronym. But without it, they’d have to call the convention NADcon, and that would attract the entirely wrong sort of attendee.

Truth is, the last thing I needed in my schedule right now was another convention. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cons, I do. I love hanging out with other geeks, being on panels, doing readings and signing books. It’s a good time.

But conventions tend to be expensive, exhausting, and time-consuming. Any two of those are hard to deal with, but all three together can be a crushing combination. Especially now that little Oot is in the picture. He’s sentient enough to miss me, and I feel guilty leaving him for days at a time.

Luckily, this con was in Madison, which is pretty much my backyard. I can drive there in less than two hours, and Sarah and Oot can come along with relatively little hassle.

But the real reason I was willing to go to this convention was the fact that Terry Pratchett was attending.

I’ve talked about Pratchett’s books on the blog before. Most specifically, his book Nation, and the Tiffany Aching series.

I haven’t bothered mentioning him much more than that for the simple reason that I assume you’ve already read his stuff. If you read my books, you read fantasy. And if you read fantasy, you know about Terry Pratchett. Q.E.D.

Anyway. Suffice to say that I’m a Pratchett fan. I’ve been reading him for more than 20 years, and the thought of getting to see him in person was too much to pass up.

The convention was a different experience for me. I’m used to cons where all different types of geeks get together and revel in their nerdery. You’ll see someone dressed up as Harry Dresden chatting with a hot vulcan girl. You’ll see a catgirl playing Catan with a kid wearing a Dalek outfit.

But at this con, the focus was all Pratchett, and 98% of that focus was Discworld.

That means no catgirls. Many feegles.

I did a tiny signing and a tiny reading. I wasn’t really an official part of the convention because I don’t have anything to do with Pratchett (other than liking him a bunch.) But that itself was nice in a way, as it meant I could spend time with my family.

Cool things:

  • There was a guy there who did crazy-cool balloon animals. I’m not talking about a hat or a poodle or shit like that. I’m talking about Death Riding A Motorcycle.

Or Granny Weatherwax:

He also did a cool dragon for Oot:

This picture doesn’t do the dragon justice. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that it’s awesome, and it looks like it’s breathing fire.

  • I got to hear Terry talk about writing and tell stories.

A lot of the biggest panels were ones featuring Terry himself. Including one about his work on The Long Earth with Steven Baxter.

  • Swag.

I bought a copy of Thud! and some coins and stamps from Discworld. It’s cool to see things like stamps from a fictional world. They’re an odd combination of souvenir and artifact. I’d love to make some coins set in the Four Corners world….

  • Neil Gaiman.

Neil made a surprise appearance at the con where he and Terry spent a couple of hours talking about Good Omens on a panel. It was cool watching them tell embarrassing stories about each other. They knew each other back in the day, back before they strode the earth like titans.

Oot slept through the panel, which was nice, as that meant Sarah and I both got to listen to it, as opposed to having to tag-team and take turns watching him.

He woke up at the very end, just as Gaiman was presenting Pratchett with an award. After looking around bleerily for a moment, he correctly sensed the mood of the room and burst out with a preemptive “Yay!”

It was a sentiment pretty much everyone shared.

It was a good time overall. Oot made some kid-aged friends and got to climb stairs, so he was happy. Sarah got to go to a con and bum around State Street a bit, so she had a good time, too.

But for me, the high point of the weekend was on the last day of the con, when I got Terry Pratchett’s autograph.

More about that tomorrow,

pat

Also posted in conventions, Oot, Sarah | By Pat33 Responses

Back From the Convention….

Despite all my careful preparations, airport security flagged me down and tossed my bags the same as they always do. This time the dangerous materials were.

1. A half-full container of vanilla extract.
2. Two of those little Vaseline lip balm things. (Cherry flavor.)
3. And a small container of superglue.

They graciously left me the lip balm, but made me put it in a little baggie first. Apparently putting something in a little baggie prevents it from being used for terrorism. The vanilla they made me throw away, which was a pisser because it was really good vanilla.

But apparently the possession of superglue was such an egregious offense that they not only confiscated it, but took down all my personal information from my driver’s license. Lovely, as if my government file needed more material.

So I pretty much give up trying to make them happy. Next time I’m going to go through security with a fucking chainsaw and jar of live wasps just so they have a legitimate reason to put my name in the book.

The convention itself was pretty fun. If you’ve been to these sort of cons before, you can probably imagine it pretty well. Lots of geeks of various creeds and nations, all free to be themselves for the weekend. I myself register at 50% writer geek, 20% gamer geek, 10 % comic geek, 5% anime geek.

A good time was had by all. There were girls in cat-ears and corsets, guys wearing cloaks and swords. There were also guys in corsets and girls with swords. It was a pretty non-judgmental atmosphere, which, honestly, I think is the thing that I like best about cons. Everyone is pretty much free to do their own thing and nobody’s going to raise too much of an eyebrow at you. In fact, the farther away from the norm you go, the more likely people are to be impressed.

But by far the coolest costume I saw was this….

When I first saw them walking down the hall, I started laughing and couldn’t stop. They’re the yipyip aliens from Sesame Street. For those of you whose childhood was lacking, here’s something to bring you up to speed:

I also discovered that I love speaking on panels. I love it. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do more of that in the future.

I returned home on Monday to over 600 emails. So if you’ve written me and I haven’t replied yet, I plead for patience.

Later,

pat

Also posted in appearances, conventions | By PatLeave a comment
  • What are my odds of winning?

  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)