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So, here I am back in California, briefly.

There may be some more WFC wrap later, but for now here is John Picacio who, amongst other things, talks about Derek Ford and has a picture of some of those wonderful Elric sketches.

Meanwhile, I have had a major work project dumped on me. I may be less communicative over the next couple of weeks. I will probably be in Boston all next week, but I may also be working 12 hour days.

Banquet Timing

This year’s WFC was a pretty good con, but I have to say once again that I really don’t like the idea of having an awards banquet midday on Sunday. This year was perhaps different, because a large proportion of the membership was able to drive home to New York after the meal; but in most years the choice is either going to be leave early so as to get a flight home, or stay Sunday night. In the former case, people miss the banquet entirely. In the latter case they get to hang around in the con hotel for the evening with no con happening.

I understand the argument that people want to end the con on a high note, but if most people who stay for a midday banquet have to stay Sunday night as well then why not have the banquet Sunday night? That would also put an end to the silliness of having the dealers’ room supposedly open when everyone is actually at the banquet. And we’d get a few hours extra programming in.

Maybe it is because the WFC Board is 80% male, and they don’t quite understand what a pain it is to have to get dressed up for a banquet in the middle of the day and then get changed again for the afternoon/evening. Jo, could you explain this to them, please?

I do try not to whinge (because the Aussies will all laugh at me), but I spoke to lots of people about this over the weekend, and only one person supported the idea of a midday banquet. That person was Rodger Turner, who just happens to be a WFC Board member.

Ah well, when I book my hotel room for Calgary I’ll make sure that I include a Sunday night stay.

Quick WFA Comment

I think this year’s WFA Awards were pretty much as expected. The only real question was how the short fiction awards were going to be divided up between Jeff Ford and Mary Rickert. Poor Mary was quite tearful, but she proved the value of winning two awards: having to come up a second time allows you to thank people that you embarrassingly forgot the first time.

Gene Wolfe’s book was on my Hugo list last year, so I’m delighted that it won. But the results that really make me happy are the wins for Shaun Tan and Gary Wolfe. Gary, sadly, missed out on a Hugo in LA, but he very much deserves his Howie. As for Shaun, next stop Best Related Book for The Arrival.

Send Three and Fourpence

It is amazing what rumors tend to fly around at conventions. This evening in the bar I was reliably informed that the 2009 WFC would be in San Diego. That probably came from the fact that the Ontells are starting to put together a San Diego bid, which I guess will end up in 2011 or 2012. Of course all Californian cities are alike to folks from the East Coast.

Also I was informed that the 2008 Worldcon in Denver had lost its hotel space and was going to have to move dates. This story allegedly came from someone who claimed to be a “con runner”. Well, I called Kevin, and there’s nothing on SMOFs, so I think this one is entirely urban legend.

Unfortunately the writers and editors who make up the bulk of the WFC attendance have no means of telling fact from fiction, which is why I’m posting stuff.

(For the benefit of those of you who don’t understand the title, this is an urban legend from the trenches in WWI. Supposedly a senior officer sent out a message saying “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance”, but by the time the message reached its destination it had morphed to, “Send three and fourpence, we are doing to a dance.” “Three and fourpence”, of course, refers to three shillings and four pence in old British currency.)

The State of the Con

Things roll on. Last night we had the giant signing, at which there appeared to be more authors than people with books. I got one book signed – by Michael Dirda.

Today I slept, had lunch with Diana Paxson, chatted with Alison Baker about PR, did the art show, helped with a web site for the 2009 WFC (thanks to Deirdre for the design work), and went to the annual Year in Review panel.

Today’s classic con moment was when CHARLES admitted that he can’t read his assistant’s typing.

Into The Swing

This is a proper con now. Have just been out to dinner. Very nice Mexican restaurant. Carnitas burrito, big pitcher or margaritas. Also good company: Jim Kelly, John Kessel, Paul Park and my latest pal, David Anthony Durham. There is a table full of cheese here. i think that Jay Lake has been holding a tasting. Good Stilton. And now the mass signing is about to begin.

Sorted At Last

OK, all under control now. I have my banquet ticket sorted. I have a ride back to NYC on Sunday night sorted. And I am actually blogging from the area of the hotel where the banquet will take place. The wi-fi signal is patchy – it comes and goes. But with luck I will be blogging live from the awards banquet on SFAW.

And now that I am sorted, I can get on with important things like talking to people and buying books.

WFC: Day 1

So far pretty much so good. Last night’s award ceremony went off well, and then everyone got down to the serious business of partying. The hotel bar is very well stocked – European beer and good malt whisky. We like it here already.

One small black mark for the convention hotel. It is sold out, but there are two rooms occupied by people who are not attending the con. So where did the hotel put these folks? Why, right next to the hospitality suite in which the Australian party was happening. Hopefully we’ll get them to swap rooms today.

My hotel, on the other hand, is lovely. I’m sharing a room with Diana Paxson, so it is a sort of Bay Area enclave here (not to mention the Somerset connection giving that she writes so much about Glastonbury). Tim Powers is in the hotel too, as is Nick Mamatas. It is a small place, and Diana says it is family run. The folks here are very friendly.

So basically I have just one problem. The banquet is not on Saturday night. It is 1:00pm on Sunday. My train is due out at 3:53pm. This is not good. I’m going to ask around for people who might be able to drive me back to Manhattan.

Almost Live

Well, here we are at World Fantasy. The wi-fi is all free, and mostly good, but did not extend to the conference room where the IHG Awards were held. Still, I typed up the post during the (admirably short) ceremony and it is now live. Also the signal is poor in the bar – how am I expected to blog if I can’t get a signal in my office?

There will be more con reportage later. Right now I have a whole bunch of people to catch up with, and an Australian party to attend.