World Fantasy 2008

Over the next few weeks I intend to post my impressions and highlights from this fantasy fiction convention. It’s the first time I’ve attended a convention of writing and publishing (done GIS and Urban Planning ones a few years back) and so I will be doing the wide-eyed and mouth-open report.

First, some of the scope.

The panels included discussions of techniques; genres and genre-hopping; a workshop by an A team author (David Morrell); where the medium has come from – and seems headed; technical aspects of writing (The Language of Fantasy); Fan-zines, Publishers, and Artwork; plus old favorites and the awards ceremonies. Guy Gavriel Kaye was there, as were the artist Todd Lockwood, authors Tom Doherty, Tad Williams, and the two mentioned elsewhere.

Who impressed me on the panels – bearing in mind that I didn’t go to all of them? Doyenne of the field, Barbara Hambly, editor Sharyn November, Mark Van Name on “Real Life Villains”, critic Farah Mendlesohn, Robert Shearman on tie ins were all informative and/or challenging. I’ll post what they and their panel members had to say during the next few posts.

What did I do? I was about the first reader of the convention, on the first afternoon, since I had the starting spot in one of the two reading rooms. I had a good audience (considering people were still en route and arriving) 5 to 6 people and nobody walked out. I read from a sampler of my fantasy novel Rast (to be published in 2009) and then, since the reader for the second half hour didn’t show, read part of the first chapter of my latest release, Arrival, and then pulled up a seat with the audience and we had an informal writing discussion until the next hour’s readers showed up.

I learned that World Fantasy is the serious fantasy con where work is done, while the fans dressed as orcs and Trekkies inhabit other venues. Not that I was without a fan, because someone noted as a promoter of Canadian fantasy and science fiction pulled out copies of my first two novels from under the dealers’ table and asked me to sign them. Nice touch – I began to feel like an author. I approached three names in the industry to hand them copies of my Rast sampler and asked for a sentence or two for the back cover when the book is released. Have to wait and see if I get any of them.

I met new people as well as some I’d met online or at other venues before. Everyone acted friendly and it felt easy to go up to strangers and exchange a few words about the panels or the convention. The dealers’ room had a broad selection of fantasy writing – from early paperbacks and magazines for collectors, to the latest releases in the field. The Sentry Box, a Calgary store and one of the sponsors of the convention, even had a copy of my “The Wildcat’s Victory” that the owner pointed out to me. The artists’ show had a spectacular collection of artwork.

Enough overview. Next time I will test my memory and the scribbled notes I made to provide you with some details.

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One Response to “World Fantasy 2008”

  1. joylene Says:

    Sounds encouraging and fascinating. Bet it was a great experience meeting so many writers in your genre. Looking forward to hearing more of your impressions.

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