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.