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February 20, 2006


I had a fine time at Boskone, although in retrospect I think I may have overscheduled myself just a bit: Five panels, one reading, one autographing session and one kaffeklatsch (the attendees of which -- Christopher Davis and Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn -- you can see above, minus Charlie Stross, who swung by the table to park his dogs and was immediately sucked into the klatschery). By the end of the convention I was pretty damn tired -- although since I am currently nursing a sore throat and a general feel of blah, it's entirely possible I was simply in the early stages of feeling crappy anyway. I certainly don't blame Boskone or my gracious hosts for this, since in my opinion the folks running Boskone seemed to go out of their way to let me know they were happy to have me there. I'm sure they do this to all their authors and guests, but it was a nice feeling anyway.

I was going to do a namedrop paragraph of all the people I saw at Boskone, but that's sort of lame, so instead here's a quick overview of some personal highlights of the weekend, with the relevant folks, more or less in chronological order:

* A Friday afternoon traffic-blocking chat in the dealers room with Cory Doctorow, Elizabeth Bear, Allen Steele, Sarah Monette, Celia Marsh, Hannah Wolf Bowen, Jennifer Jackson and a few other people who I know through LiveJournal but whose names escape me now (feel free to say "hey, I was there, too!" in the comment thread);

* An excellent panel on bandwidth management with John McDaid, Naomi Novik, Sheila M. Perry and Shara Zoll

* Finally meeting Ken MacLeod at the Tor party, and then being able to sit in with him on a couple of panels (also with us on those panels: John M. Ford, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Karl Schroeder, Daniel Hatch and Mark Olson);

* A very good panel on online communities with Toby Buckell, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, James Macdonald and Lenny Bailes;

* Meeting my friend Judy Hartling in person for the first time after knowing her for a decade online (she was as awesome as anticipated);

* Hanging in the Sheraton Boston bar and accreting a fun group of conversationalists who included Cory, Shara, Charlie Stross, Chad Orzel, Liz Gorinsky, Allen Steele, Toby, Karl Schroeder, James Cambias, Chad Orzel and Kate Nepveu and several others equally amusing but whose names are out of my brain at the moment (again, please feel free to self identify if you were there);

* Sunday breakfast with Liz and Chad;

* An autograph session sitting next to George RR Martin, who was fun to chat with during down times (of which, you may assume, I had more than he).

I was also pleased that The Ghost Brigades was available in the huckster's room through the good graces of Larry Smith, bookseller, who appeared to go out of his way to pitch the book to passersby, particularly when my publisher was standing there. Handselling like that is a wonderful thing indeed. I also met Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld Books and signed his stock of Old Man's War trade paperbacks, so if you're looking for a way to get a signed copy of that from me, now you know where to go.

The only significant issue with the weekend had nothing to do with Boskone, which was the whole incident with the airline I was flying home on refusing to believe that I was actually a passenger. It did get resolved an hour and a half and nearly $200 later, but the silver lining on that was that the new itinerary I had got me home a half-hour earlier and that Toby Buckell was on my flight, so we sat next to each other and talked shop.

In all: a really excellent con -- I felt like they were happy to have me there, and I was myself quite happy to be there. I intend to return. For the moment, however, it's good to be home.

Speaking of which, Krissy just walked through the door. You'll excuse me.

Posted by john at February 20, 2006 06:07 PM

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Timmy | February 20, 2006 06:27 PM

I most certainly will not. Who ditches their blog readers to hang out with their wife? That's lame John, really lame.

John O'Neill | February 20, 2006 07:46 PM

I'm a member of the Rhode Island Science Fiction Club (one of whose members is Bob Eggleton, who did the art for the Questions For a Soldier chapbook - now mine is autographed by both writer AND artist! w00t etc etc). One of our members attended several of the panels at Boskone, and said that the Political SF one was by far the best one she'd attended. Just thought I'd pass that along.

Alec Austin | February 20, 2006 07:48 PM

Hey, John. We met at the roadblock on Friday (though I didn't say much), and I picked up one of the last copies of The Ghost Brigades from Larry Smith. Good stuff.

Maybe the next time we see each other it won't be in such distinguished company and I'll be able to get a word in edgewise. ;)

Kate Nepveu | February 20, 2006 08:02 PM

I saw Lenny Bailes Saturday night too. And Chad apparently was so memorable you listed him twice. =>

(Working on her personal con report even as she types,)

Chad Orzel | February 20, 2006 08:13 PM

Hanging in the Sheraton Boston bar and accreting a fun group of conversational group who included Cory, Shara, Charlie Stross, Chad Orzel, Liz Gorinsky, Allen Steele, Toby, Karl Schroeder, James Cambias, Chad Orzel and Kate Nepveu and several others equally amusing but whose names are out of my brain at the moment (again, please feel free to self identify if you were there)

Only one of me-- I'm not that weirdly quantum...

That may have been the best single event of the con-- I had a great time hanging out, and learning about the "Strict SF" movement. I look forward to Cory's peer-reviewed fiction.

Glad to hear you and Toby settled your beef on the plane... I was worried that we were going to have drive-by shootings in central Ohio.

John Scalzi | February 20, 2006 08:20 PM

Chad Orzel:

"Only one of me-- I'm not that weirdly quantum..."

Hey, gove me a break. I'm sick!

I'll replace one of you with James Patrick Kelly, stat.

Kate: Indeed, Lenny was there later.

Alec Austin: Ah, yes, indeed, you were there. And glad you liked TGB!

Kate Nepveu | February 20, 2006 10:05 PM

I stole your list of people at Saturday night's bar conversation, for my chatty personal report (substantive panel report forthcoming): http://kate-nepveu.livejournal.com/163141.html

Christopher Davis | February 20, 2006 11:11 PM

I really enjoyed the kaffeeklatsch, so much so that I'm sorry I didn't make it to more of your panels. I hope you'll come back to Boskone next year.

I picked up both The Ghost Brigades and Agent to the Stars from Larry in the dealers room, but unlike Alec haven't had time to read either...yet.

My huge rambling con report is still being typed, and I'm up to...oh, about 2000 Friday. This is gonna be a long one.

Smurf | February 21, 2006 12:49 AM

Is that woman about to eat a tutle??

Mark Ensley | February 21, 2006 01:25 AM

Hey, for those of us no lucky enough to attend, what's the "'Strict SF' movement" that Chad Orzel mentioned?

John Scalzi | February 21, 2006 01:34 AM

Mark Ensley:

"What's the 'Strict SF movement' that Chad Orzel mentioned?"

It's for people for whom the "mundane SF" movement does not go far enough. It's mostly Charlie's baby, so I'll leave it to him to explain it in more detail, but I will say that one of its tenents is that every story must be written in second person imperative ("you will..."). Truly, the wave of the future.

Mark Ensley | February 21, 2006 01:41 AM


So should I ask this question of Charles' blog?

John Scalzi | February 21, 2006 01:43 AM

Couldn't hurt.

Mark Ensley | February 21, 2006 01:46 AM

Well, thanks. I will.

Mark Ensley | February 21, 2006 01:51 AM

I'm slow but I get there.

Have I made the mistake of asking about an in-joke?

Paul Dietz | February 21, 2006 07:13 AM

If you don't feel tired at the end of a con you didn't do it right. The sore throat and malaise sounds like a typical case of Con Crud.

Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn | February 21, 2006 09:26 AM

Ah, immortalized on the Whatever! Sweet.

I am "That Woman" and no, I am not going to eat a turtle, I never would.

Thanks, John, for your hospitality! And the picture really captures my inner dork, which is a nice bonus.

(It's a muffin. And it is still in my bag two days later - the picture reminds me. I just threw it out.)

Christopher Davis | February 21, 2006 02:59 PM

I will note that I also ate no turtles at Boskone. That was, however, a very impressive muffin.

Laurie Mann | February 21, 2006 09:43 PM

I shook your hand, probably in Registration as that's where I spent most of my weekend!

I told Toby I'd brought Crystal Rain for him to sign, and then never remembered to bring it downstairs all weekend long.

The main writers I kept bumping into were Karl Schroeder, Cory Doctorow and George R. R. Martin. I also wound up on two panels with MaryAnn Johansen (film critic extraordinaire) and my husband wound up on two other panels with her. We really weren't stalking her. Really we weren't...

Paul Estin, fellow Maroon | February 22, 2006 12:26 PM

Sorry to have missed you, John.

I saw you once in the ConSuite (when you looked to be in a hurry) and once in the hallway (when I was busy), and kept having other activities (mostly filk) scheduled opposite your panels and the kaffeklatsch. Dang, I wanted to klatsch some kaffee with you!

On the bright side, (1) I bought the trade paperback of "Old Man's War" and I'm enjoying it so far, and (2) my girlfriend says she greatly enjoyed your Sunday morning reading.

Nonny | February 26, 2006 01:35 AM

I was at Boskone and was very impressed with what you said during the Political SF and War and Peace panels. I actually hadn't heard of you before the con (I don't tend to be much of an SF reader as a rule), but I'm definitely going to look up your books. :)

Sorry to hear that you had such trouble with the airline! Glad everything worked out okay!

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