Amy H. Sturgis (eldritchhobbit) wrote,
Amy H. Sturgis

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WorldCon, (Part of) Day 3

Hello once more from Montreal!

I'm logging my report early tonight, as I am on a 10pm panel (about disaster films). In my next report I'll pick up where I've left off tonight.

This morning I was interviewed for The Sofanauts podcast about WorldCon, and specifically issues of new media, marketing, and copyright as they have been discussed thus far at the convention. You can listen to my interview or download the podcast here.

A vintage article about science fiction displayed at WorldCon 2009.

After that I had a chance to visit with some friends old and new (including John Joseph Adams, whose latest edited anthology, By Blood We Live, a vampire volume, is now available), and visited the WorldCon Art Show. I also had the distinct pleasure to meet an author whose work I regularly teach and have long admired, Joe Haldeman. That was a real treat.

At a session about new trends and releases from Pyr led by Lou Anders, I was struck by the different ways in which traditional publishers are now exploiting the opportunities offered by new media. Books in Mike Resnick's Starship series, for example, have been released with a variety of "extras" from ship schematics designed by a NASA engineer to "the making of" essays, and the final book will include an original ballad composed in honor of the main character, complete with sheet music and an online recording available for download.

An astronaut costume displayed at WorldCon 2009.

This afternoon took me to Tom Galloway's interview with Guest of Honor Neil Gaiman for the "Gaiman on Fandom" panel. Galloway sported black sunglasses to seem more Gaiman-like, and he gave Gaiman a Hawaiian shirt to wear, which the author proceeded to put on over his signature black shirt and jacket. The interview covered the early years of Gaiman's discovery of science fiction and science fiction fandom. Some of the highlights included the following:

* Gaiman's description of his earliest science fiction memory, which took place shortly after he turned three: Gaiman and his playmates would drink their milk from little glass bottles, bend their straws down to represent eyestalks, and growl "Ex-ter-mi-nate" to each other. Instant Daleks.

* His sister once emailed him and said he had been a very embarrassing brother to have, because he was the only teen she knew who would walk down the street with his head in a book – and who, if he bumped into a lamp post while walking and reading, would apologize to the lamp post and walk on, without ever looking up from the page.

* The first book he ever stayed up all night reading was Gone with the Wind, because his teacher told him he'd pay 50p. if Gaiman would finish the huge tome. Gaiman knew that much money would buy him several science fiction novels, so he read it straight through the night to complete it.

* He's heard people lamenting "the greying of fandom" at WorldCon, but he pointed out that he heard people lamenting "the graying of fandom" twenty-five years ago, at his very first science fiction convention. His conclusion? "The greying of fandom" is code for "My friends are all getting old," not "Fans in general are getting old."

One last bit of information that made me very happy was this: Gaiman said that, as he wrote The Graveyard Book, he kept thinking that things were not always as they appeared to Bod, that Bod's adoptive family from the graveyard represented a world far more complex and complicated than Bod ever realized. He sees on the horizon a second novel, a big doorstop of a book, that will relate to The Graveyard Book in the same way that The Lord of the Rings relates to The Hobbit. Great news indeed!

Neil Gaiman is interviewed by Tom Galloway for the Gaiman on Fandom panel at WorldCon 2009.

My new pictures from the day are up here. I doubt I will post after my panel tonight, but I will write up another report as soon as possible. Tomorrow includes another panel of mine, my academic presentation, and, of course, the Hugo Awards! Thanks so much for reading.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." – Philip K. Dick
Tags: cons, gaiman, sf, worldcon

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