Neil Clarke

The Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: March 2006 Page 1 of 2

Bad news about Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan sent a letter to Locus about his health. Simply terrible. All the best to him.

Lunacon – Day Two

I arrived Saturday and headed off to the Children’s Fantasy panel. I don’t read much children’s fantasy, so I thought it would be informative. Several names were mentioned, but what I found interesting was the discussion of adult readers of children’s fantasy and how they tend to be the primary readers of some of the older children’s fantasy. Hadn’t really thought about it, but based on a what I see kids reading, it makes sense.

After the panel, I caught up with yuki_onna and she signed a stack of books for me. We talked a bit about the new book (mentioned in the day 1 report).

By the time I was done getting the box of books out to the car, it was time for the next panel, Creating Fantasy Characters with Virginia McMorrow and Alma Alexander (anghara). I find the process of how people come up with their stories fascinating and these two writers develop characters and let the story happen around them. This seems to be the case with a lot of authors I’ve spoken to recently. This panel was actually in one of the cafe rooms, so it was a bunch of people sitting on the two beds. Very different.

I ended up hanging around the dealer’s room for a while and ran into C. J. Henderson and Patrick Thomas at a table C.J. was manning. They had copies of their new anthology Hear them Roar on hand, so I picked up a few for the store. Several contributors were at the con, so my copies ended up with a bunch of signatures. I talked with Patrick for a while about his Murphy’s Lore books, so I’ll be in touch with Padwolf Publishing soon to catch up on what I missed. He also reminded me that I have to try to get more issues of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination for the store.

The next panel was The State of Small Press Publishing. I deal with a lot of small press publishers, so I always find these panels interesting. The panelists were a mix of editors and authors with small press connections. It didn’t deal so much with the state of things, but it did hit upon a number of the common issues, like POD, self-publishing, and pros and cons of being with a small press. Someone in the audience tried to get them to turn to the zine side of the small press, but this was a bit outside their experience. Turns out it was the editor of Sybil’s Garage, a zine I sell, so I introduced myself afterwards and found out that the new issue is coming soon.

Humor in SF/F was next up. I went to this panel to laugh, and I did. I think the people with most amusing stories to tell were Jim Butcher and Esther M. Friesner. Jim revealed the origins of Bob the romance novel loving skull. Turns out that a teacher once told him to avoid two things: talking heads and “well, Bob, as you know”. He took them literally and made Bob. (Bob is a character in the Harry Dresden books.)

I scavanged some food from the con suite and went to the SF Poetry Reading which was not where it was supposed to be. I don’t write poetry. I rarely read it, but I discovered at ReaderCon that I enjoy listening to it. It was a small group, all talented, and there was a brief discussion about the markets that take and pay for poetry.

I decided that I’d go to jpsorrow‘s panel, The Language of Accomodation, next. This panel was interesting but much more scientific than it was billed. Two panelists did most of the talking, while two authors said the least. I think I would have enjoyed it more the other way around, but it was still holding my attention. The two primary speakers were Gregory Feeley and klingonguy, the latter being a linguist. (I didn’t realize it was him until much later.)

The rest of the evening was spent playing games with Joshua and Jennifer. Sam joined us on our search for food by way of the con parties. It wasn’t bad if you can live on chocolate, cheese and crackers. I can.

Clarkesworld Bestsellers for the Week Ending March 19, 2006

Books
1The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (Trade Paperback)
2The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (Hardcover)
3The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow (Hardcover)
4Black Juice by Margo Lanagan (Paperback)
5Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Hardcover)

Magazines
1Weird Tales
2Interzone
3Fantasy & Science Fiction
4Asimov’s
5Cemetery Dance

Both trade paperback and hardcover editions of Bonehunters sold well for us. It took longer than I expected for our distributor to get them here from the UK, but in the end it was worthwhile. All the trade paperbacks are sold and a good portion of the hardcovers. Only a few dustjackets were damaged, and I’ll let those go at a discount to people who don’t mind minor tears. A second batch is on the way, but likely weeks away.

I have Last Witchfinder high up on my to-be-read pile along with a copy of the signed edition of Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job, which just arrived last night. Both are favorite authors, so deciding which to read first was tough, but Moore won in the end.

Lunacon – Day One

Lunacon was better than I remember it being years ago, but they seem eternally cursed to select bad hotels. The Hilton was in the middle of renovations that were supposed to be done two months ago. There were bare outlets and lighting fixtures, closed stairwells, open ceilings, cold wind blowing through the doors in some of the panel rooms, four rooms marked Cafe, unlabeled doors, and erratic heating. You really have to feel for the people who put this con together. They tried (with humor) to overcome and did about as well as you could hope for under the circumstances.

I arrived somewhere around three on Friday. (It’s 40 minutes from my house so I drove in each day.) I picked up my badge and began figuring out where all the rooms were. This was not as easy as you’d think given the lack of stairs and signs. On my journey, I ran into Jim and Shannon Butcher. We decided that this was probably the best time to have him sign books since, as Guest of Honor, his schedule was quite full for the weekend. I ran back down to the car, picked up two boxes of books, and headed back to his room. I have to say that they very nice people and I was particularly impressed when Jim offered to help me carry the boxes back down to my car. On the way, he told me about the Harry Dresden movie. Turns out that this is one of those rare occasions where the author is happy with the script and the way the movie has been going. This raises my hopes for this SciFi movie and the possibilities for a Dresden series.

On returning to the con, I ran into jpsorrow (Joshua) and jennifer-dunne. We made our way through the labyrinth and too the room for his panel on Driving the Snakes from Hasbrook Heights. The original plan was a plastic snake hunt in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, but fears of killing someone who had a snake phobia scuttled that idea. When the moderator failed to show, Joshua was made the moderator and did a good job leading a discussion on snakes in genre (and beyond) literature. The audience participated a lot and apparently I was one of the few people who knew the story of Saint Patrick.

I was introduced to S.C. Butler, whose first novel is coming out from TOR later this year, and the four of us headed off to get some dinner. Sam was nice enough to drive. We chose the Bendix Diner since it was one of the closest places listed on our sheet of restaurants. What a choice. On entering, we were adopted to two little boys (6 and under). They followed us to our table, pulled up chairs, took a menu, and wanted to order chicken fingers. The waitress came and left without the kids, but fortunately she took them on her second trip to the table. Very odd. The food was not worth writing about.

On returning to the con, I was introduced to a game involving trains. (Can’t remember the name.) This would later become a tradition for those periods where we had nothing better to do. I never won any of the games but it was a lot of fun. After our first game ended, we decided to hit the dealer’s room since they’d be closing soon. There were only a few booksellers so it was easy to do my usual research on what wasn’t available and what was selling. Someday I’ll get to put this to use. 🙂 The other dealers had some DVDs, a lot of clothes or jewelry, and surprisingly, herbs. I ended up spending some time talking to the people at the Garden State Horror Writer’s Association table after seeing a book I didn’t recognize… and another… and another. More stuff to order for the store! I’m sure I’ll be in touch with them soon.

At 9PM, I headed off to Fairy Tale Bedtime Stories for Children and Adults which was a reading (with hot chocolate and kids in PJs) by yuki_onna (Catherynne Valente) from her forthcoming book, The Orphan’s Tales. It was a wonderful reading. The kids ate it up and the adults enjoyed it too. Don’t let the audience and stuffed bears fool you, these aren’t Disney fairy tales. I’m looking forward to this even more than I was before and when I’m done reading it, I’ll use it for bedtime reading with Aidan.

The last panel of the evening (for me) was A Look at Epic Fantasy. I didn’t recognize most of the names on the panel. When the introductions were done it turned out that three were involved in publishing, one was an author (Joshua), and I believe the other was a fan. With this setup, the discussion drifted into epic fantasy from the publishing perspective and never really hit the expected points. Despite that, I still found it interesting.

Spent the rest of the evening down in the Cafe where the Livejournal/Blogger meet and greet was supposed to happen. If it happened, I missed it. Joshua, Jennifer, and I hung out for a while. The night wound down and I drove home to find my son sleeping in my bed.

Lunacon

Ok, so who’s going?

It’s less than an hour away from my home, so I’ll be driving out each day. I’m not a dealer at this con (still no updates from Readercon as to whether or not I get a table there), but I will be dragging books along. I made arrangements with Alma Alexander and Catherynne M. Valente to sign books, but that was a while ago and I should follow up with them. Just received word that GoH Jim Butcher will sign for us. I’ve been a fan of the Dresden Files books for a while, so I’m quite pleased.

Clarkesworld Bestsellers for the Week Ending March 13, 2006

Books
1Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Hardcover)
2Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop (Paperback)
3Cartomancy by Michael A. Stackpole (Trade Paperback)
4Blue Noon (Midnighters, Book 3) by Scott Westerfeld (Hardcover)
5Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth by Simon R. Green (Paperback)

Magazines
1Weird Tales
2Asimov’s
3Interzone
4Analog
5Fantasy & Science Fiction

It appears that the marketing decision to reissue Good Omens with two different covers to choose from was a good one. We’ve had several people order both copies, pushing it into the top spot this week. If all of those double sales were singles, it would have fallen to #2 or 3.

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