I'm back home in Seattle now, faintly amazed that I spent time lying in the grass in San Jose, staring up at the deep azure sky, my skin caressed by soft, amiable air. This past weekend at the World Fantasy Convention, though I mostly wore my publisher/editor's hat, I enjoyed a wide range of conversations, professional, social, and personal. Many of these could be described as flash conversations-- brief, one-on-one vivid bursts that occurred in passing. Several were serial conversations that came in installments-- interrupted, only to be resumed half an hour or a day And a few were extended, almost leisurely. In short? It was a fabulously talk-driven weekend.
It was a special pleasure to meet Anna Tambour in the flesh for the first time. Though Anna originally hailed from the US, since 1976 she's lived in faraway lands in the Southern Hemisphere. Combine that with my sense of her work as frequently venturing into distant and unusual regions of the imagination, and you'll understand why it never crossed my mind that we might actually someday meet outside of cyberspace, face to face, eye to eye, breathing the very same air. And so I was astonished when, less than a week ago, I spotted her name on the WFC membership list. Did a part of me not believe it? That would explain why I was still astonished when I found a woman seated behind Anna Tambour's name tent during the mass autograph session, all warm, glowing flesh. And when I introduced myself to her, I confirmed that yes, this woman was indeed Anna Tambour incarnate, I was astonished all over again as we hugged over the table and promised to meet one another for a long breakfast early the next morning. I am not an early-morning person (as many people know well), but our meeting was unalloyed joy (even down to Anna's disbelief that the child's-size portion she ordered at Peggy Sue's diner was meant to feed only one child). I think she said she'd last been in the US in the 1990s-- and that everything had changed so much since then that it felt like another country. That sounded about right to me. Isn't it the case that for the last century there have been vast differences from decade to decade, especially in urban environments?
Although I had lots of wonderful conversation, I missed a panel--"Why Steampunk Now?" with Deborah Biancotti (M), Ann VanderMeer, Liz Gorinsky, Michael Swanwick, and Nisi Shawl-- that I dearly wished I'd made it to when I heard people in the bar talking about Nisi's brilliance discoursing on steampunk. I've found a mention of another conversation about the panel here, but not an actual first-hand description of it. I'll just note that the people talking about it in the bar said that Nisi had given more than one writer the idea of writing Ogun steampunk. I also recall hearing the expression "cotton-gin punk," though without elaboration. I'd really like to hear more about this. It'd be wonderful if someone's actually taken notes on the panel and decides to post them...
ETA There's an LJ report on the steampunk panel here, by thistle in grey.