MeCon, MeSaw, MeStaggeredHome
But the icing on the cake is that even if none of us actually win, well, there's a good chance that, say, I'll be losing to someone like Graham Joyce (who I remember chatting with a wee bit at WFC last year -- damn fine chap), and/or NOVA SCOTIA will be losing to ADVENTURE #1 (edited by Chris Roberson) or POLYPHONY #5 (edited by Deborah Layne and Jay Lake), and/or that Peter will be losing to Lou Anders or Chris Roberson & Allison Baker. I can't help but feel a little torn as to who I'm rooting for (well, other than in the novel category, that is, where clearly I want the opportunity to sob embarassingly on stage, out my high school drama teacher, launch a vitriolic attack on George Bush and generally make a spectacle of myself), cause I want them *all* to win. Yeah, yeah; it doesn't work that way. I know. But what am I going to do if Chris wins for best anthology, and Neil and Andrew are sitting right there beside me as I whoop and cheer like a loon? That's not going to look very good, is it? Why, I can just see them sitting there glowering at me, muttering darkly about treacherous flibbertigibbet fly-by-night friends. I mean, have you seen the editor photos on NOVA SCOTIA? Are you familiar with the Scottish expression "Ah'm gonnie malkie you, ya bass"? They're scary. Although I could always go on the lam, head for Mexico and -- wait, no, I've already done that post.
Anyhoo, the most important thing is, of course, that I GOT NOMINATED FOR THE WFA!!! Well, it's important to me, attention-hound that I am. All that awards-aren't-important stuff? Speak fer yerself, mate. I have no shame in my desire for respect -- nay adoration. I mean, how am I going to get groupies without awards?
Actually, really I just want an excuse to wear my tails and preen.
It's also a bit weird and sychronicitous, after me booking up for WFC just the other day. About as weird and synchronicitous as the fact that, after talking about the trip-a-month thing having a wee gap in October, my Polish publishers have just invited me over to the Krakow Book Fair that very month, and to maybe do some signing stuff in a few other cities afterwards. Which is another reason to go, WOOT!!!
Anyhoo, I found all this out after arriving back from MeCon which was a lot of fun, with the concom people -- Mike, Mark, Shane, Chris (and whoever else it is I'm missing out here due to drunken confusion) -- all being incredibly friendly. They even presented us guests with wee commerative shot glasses, which was such a sweet idea and totally unexpected. It was great to hang out with the QUB SF crowd, and the Glasgow contingent who came over seemed to fit in nicely (hardly surprising since the majority of us are Guinnessophiles). The Wellie Park Hotel was pretty nice, if a bit weird in having the function room hired out for, variously, a Pro-Wrestling match Friday night, a wedding reception the next night, and a happy-clappy Evangelical Christian revival on the Sunday morning. And no, I didn't try and crash the latter with a Bloody Mary in one hand and a fag in the other. I *thought* about it, but I was a good boy.
So what else did I do over the weekend? Well, we arrived in Belfast and went straight to the Crown Bar for Guinness and, in my case, a single oyster followed by a plate of mussels. We got checked in to the hotel and had a few drinks, then headed down to the con, where we drank and were way too disorganised to even think of participating in the quiz. Eventually we realised food would be a very good idea and headed back towards the hotel, by way of a Chinese place where I batted my eyelashes and looked doe-eyed at the waitress so they would do me a Won Ton Soup as a main course, since the alternative was having three starters (I really *really* wanted Won Ton Soup, you see). Then it was back to the hotel bar till the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday I managed to crawl out of my bed about one in the afternoon and stagger down to the con where, bless them, they were really forgiving of my utter failure to make the two morning panel items I was meant to be on. I did however jump in on the Stochastic Panel, where the topic was "anything anyone wants to talk about at all", which actually worked quite well, giving us an excuse to just blather for an hour. Saw Iain Macdonald's guest of honour reading and Q&A -- with lots of great stuff about his up-coming BRASYL and (extremely recognisable) stuff about displacement activity -- checking emails, reading blogs and so on -- with the Graham Joyce Pencil story being particularly funny. Did a panel with Iain and Ken Macleod on aliens which *really* went well, I thought, with Iain bringing up a theory that aliens are either "mirrors" or "walls", which took us off into all sorts of interesting territory involving language, consciousness and whatnot. It was a shame Gary couldn't make it, as this would have been well up his street.
Went out for a meal in the evening, then ended up in a bar with a few of me mate Bob's pals from Belfast and surrounding environs, where I chatted for ages with a dude by the name of Larry about cool mainstream/SF stylee fiction a la David Mitchell and suchlike. Headed back to the hotel bar to find ourselves among afore-mentioned wedding reception. Chatted quite a bit to another of Bob's mates, Marty and ended up foisting a spare copy of VELLUM onto him at the end of the night.
Sunday was pretty laid back. I got in on time thankfully (and surprisingly), saw a cool presentation on physics in SF (i.e. how much of it is bollocks, how iyt can be done right) which I enjoyed, regardless of the fact that I'm largely of the "Whatever, dude" camp. Got taken out to a lovely meal by the concom guys after the closing ceremony then bowed out of the Dead Dog Party (I'm sorry; it was No Smoking) in order to meet up wth the Glasgow mob back at the hotel. Again, more drinks into the wee hour.
And then it was Monday and the con was over and all there was left to do was stoat about Belfast for a few hours, take in the Ulster Museum and head to the airport and home... to Stravaigan, that is, for Bloody Marys and Lamb's Liver (which I didn't know whether to eat or use as a transplant, since even sliced and cooked to was probably in a better state than my own).
So eventually haviing made it back to my flat, what do I find but my copy of FEELING VERY STRANGE (edited by John Kessel and James Kelly) waiting for me. Hurrah! So, OK, there's one wee quote from me in it, and I feel a bit of a phony getting a comp copy on that basis, but it's a great book, and despite being utterly whacked and intending to just crawl into bed after a few hours going through the email backlog, I found myself sucked into it completely.
And then the US cover for INK turned up in the post today! I don't have a .jpg at the moment but again they've stuck close to the UK design, although going for the Roman-style block-lettering rather than the longhand -script-look title. I'll post an image as soon as I've got one, but suffice to say... it's mighty purty.
So, yeah, all in all, it's been a damn fine weekend. Time to get back to work now, of course. Once I've quickly checked my email, that is... again.