Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slow recovery

Anticipation ended ... what, three days ago now? ... and I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting back to normal. It was a blast. Most of my thoughts on it can be seen at the Narratives blog on the Gazette’s web site (specifically, at this link), but I’ll throw out a few notes here as a last look back.

First off, given what I’ve been writing about on this blog, I should note that between free stuff, review copies, and things picked up in the dealers’ room and elsewhere, I ended up adding more than half-a-dozen unread books to the apartment:

Crossing the Boundaries: French Fantasy from Bragelonne
Science Fiction: The Best of the Year 2006, edited by Rich Horton
The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
Sang du pierre, by Élisabeth Vonarburg (I’m hoping to lay hands on the English version, Blood From a Stone, soon; published at the same time, and sharing a title in translation, the French and English versions have different stories)
Objects of Worship, by Claude Lalumière
Magic Mirrors, by John Bellairs
Curse of the Wise Woman, by Lord Dunsany

... and then wandering around yesterday I bought The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance, so what the hell, let’s throw that in there too. Eight, then, nine if I get the other Vonarburg title.

Second, it was a lot of fun meeting people. And interviewing people; attending as a member of the press allowed me a useful perspective, and of course led to interviews with fine people like George R.R. Martin, Lev Grossman, and Felix Gilman.

Third, and related to the above, it was a powerful sensation being at an event of that scale dedicated, at its core, to writing. Sure, there were a lot of other elements to it — media, filk, gaming, and so on — but most of the programming had written work as its focus. I learned a lot, but even more, the sheer volume of writers, and of discussion of writing, seemed for me to reach a kind of critical mass. I don’t mean that it was inspirational, or even that it was a reaffirmation of the value of imagination and storytelling, though in fact it was both these things; what I mean is that it suggested to me, or reminded me, that writing and literature and language and dreams can be made a way of life. Or more precisely, a way of being in the world. Which is to say: a way of survival.

So there’s some value in that. Grace and I are looking at going to Con-cept, a local convention, in early October. We’ll see.

1 comment:

Tom Crippen said...

Yeah, I found the con very helpful too, maybe not in the same ways or to the same degree as you did, but on balance it was a fine experience.

I'm curious to read Claude's "zombies and human cattle" story and the Lev Grossman novel, among other works that I hadn't heard about until the con.