An Evening in San Francisco

Yesterday San Francisco was full of people demonstrating against Proposition 8. Kevin and I could not be there because we had to attend the SFSFC Board Meeting. However, we did arrive in The City at around 4:00pm to do some shopping at attend SF in SF. By some miracle of synchronicity, the readers for the evening happened to be Geoff Ryman, Ellen Klages and Nalo Hopkinson. We couldn’t have done better if we had tried.

As it happened, however, there was little about gay politics in the readings (though Geoff did manage to read one except about a lesbian couple and one about a gay couple). The discussion afterwards concentrated mainly on the craft of writing, with much being said about how to give information without doing obvious infodumps, how to make sure each character has their own voice in dialog, and how to convey character emotions without actually writing things like “she felt sad”. It was one of the best sessions we’ve had (and the place was packed out). There will be no more events this year, but a schedule for 2009 will be released soon.

Blumlein and Shea at SF in SF

Last night’s SF in SF began at Eddie Rickenbacker’s, a thoroughly eccentric restaurant just south of Mission on 2nd. I’ve seen weird decor before, but this place not only had a model railway running above our heads, it also had a bunch of vintage motorbikes hanging from the ceiling. One of them had apparently once belonged to Clark Gable, and another had served in the Foreign Legion. The weird old guy mentioned in the reviews I linked to wasn’t in evidence, but they had the largest ginger cat I have ever seen. The food was good. They had oxtail, which is unusual for the USA, and Nick Mamatas had good things to say about their Orange Julius. Cliff Winnig caused something of a stir by arriving in costume direct from the Ren Faire in Golden Gate Park.

Later, back at the Variety Preview Room, Michael Blumlein read part of a darkly funny story about a cremation than went wrong, helped by Terry Bisson and Carter Scholtz who read the parts of a dodgy pair of health inspectors. Then Michael Shea read the first chapter of his latest novel project, Demiurge. The book is told from the point of view of a demon able to inhabit other living forms. Very strange.

All in all, another good night. And next up (on September 20th) we have David Levine and Nick Mamatas reading.

WordCamp & SF in SF

Tomorrow I will be spending the day in San Francisco. The day starts with my first ever attendance at WordCamp – a convention for WordPress users. It doesn’t seem especially organized. It is the day before the event and they still don’t have a full schedule upon the web site. If it was an science fiction convention the blogosphere would be aflame with indignation, but so it goes. The main problem is that I don’t know if I need to get there early. The one data point that they do have is that registration will begin at 8:00am, but it isn’t clear when the sessions actually start, or who will be on first. Besides, 8:00am might be OK for gung-ho blogging entrepreneurs, but us lit crit types (Farah excepted) are barely awake at that time of day, and I have to shower, breakfast and take bus, BART and MUNI in order to get there. I’ll be there when I can.

Anyway, the web site does mention that the WiFi is being sponsored so I’m hoping it is free. I’m taking the Asus (and my audio and video recorders) and I’ll see what I can find. I’m hoping to catch Kathy Sierra, and the session on secure programming. I know most of you folks will be much more interested in the LOLCats guy, so hopefully I’ll get to see him too.

But I may have to duck out early because in the evening I have to be at the SF in SF reading with Michael Shea and Michael Blumlein. No rest for the wicked, as my mother tends to say.

McKillip and Lunde in SF

Last night Kevin and I attended the SF in SF reading in San Francisco. Patricia McKillip was, as you might expect, wonderful. She read another chapter from her work in progress (which I gather she also read different extracts from at World Fantasy and ICFA). It sounds like quite a departure for her, being set in a world that is more 18th Century than medieval. I’m looking forward to it.

What I was looking forward to, however, was hearing her partner, David Lunde, read his poetry. Science fiction poets are a rare breed, and despite having known David for some time I’d not seen much of his work. I’m delighted to say that he was very good indeed. Of course as a two-time Rhysling winner he should be, but you never quite know whether you are going to agree with the experts. This time I’m happy to say I do.

Podcasts of the readings will be on the SF in SF web site once Rick Kleffel gets the links to me. The May reading will feature John Shirley. More details as and when I get them.