My performances started on Thursday with a brilliant and ambitious but ill-starred presentation on steampunk and audiobooks with performer / producer Deren Hansen and Orrin Porter Rockwell. We’ll bring it back again — maybe at LTUE in February.
In the afternoon I crossed the street and talked with James Wymore, Bob Defendi and others about the changing face of fantasy literature and film, specifically around the question of whether it was becoming more of an adult genre. The answer is no, of course: Tolkien wrote serious literature for adults. I’m not sure all the audience members came expecting a discussion of the Hays Code and the film The Night of the Hunter, but hey, conventions are potluck, and there’s always something to surprise.
In the afternoon I joined a Koffee Klatch with James Batchelor, David J. West, and Scott Taylor, hanging out with and meeting new readers. Afterwards, I lingered to watch West, Carter Reid, and Daniel Blatt talk about mythology and monster. Dan is, among various other things that make for an interesting calico of a person, a PhD in mythology, and his opening gambit was to quote Beowulf in the original Saxon. I, for one, was hooked.
On Friday Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury and I started our three-round writers’ workshop. I had the pleasure of reading 15 20-page stories or story beginning, and then talking through them with the authors. I met many new friends this way, and rounded up with a few old ones, like Vince and Deena Campanile.
In the afternoon, I joined James Wymore, Jason King, and Tom Durham in a round of Choose Your Own Apocalypse. I played Enraged Deity, and chose to be Ur-Nagoth, the Eternal Bowel Worm. In the end, after edging out the Faberge Egg of Darkness (suicide-inducing artifact of Rasputin, forged from the souls of five children, lightning, and sadness), I was defeated by an apocalypse of wizards who caused inanimate objects to come to life and attack. Yeah, you heard right — I lost to Fantasia.
Friday night I went to filk. Following two other performers, I played a set of five songs to an audience including many friends, such as Deanna Holland, Bear Putnam, and Kathy Mar. My set was: My Old West Country Home, The Weak Things of the Earth, The Life of Sidney Reilly, Snow Faeries Don’t Wear Pants, and Down by the Waters of Sebus.
On Saturday I finished up with the writers workshop, sat on a panel about Utah Fantasy Writers with Lisa Mangum, and finished up the day with a tag-team Jeopardy and book signing event. My Jeopardy stint put me up against Larry Correia, Graham Bradley, and Carter Reid. I came in third by correctly answering two questions (my answers were “Krull” and “42”).
On Sunday I wound up shop in the dealers room, said farewells, and headed home. Other standouts I may not have mentioned include my dealer room table fellows Sarah E. Seeley, S.A. Butler, Nathan Shumate, James Batchelor, David J. West, and Graham Bradley; Kevin Anderson and Peter J. Wacks (very interesting discussions, and Great Things in the works); and meeting Peter S. Beagle, who was a gracious and charming man, exactly the sort of person you would imagine as the author of his books.
And the last thing I have to share is the sketch page of my copy of Nathan Shumate’s book Ethnic Albanians Need Not Apply. Yes, that’s a picture of me riding Larry Correia. And yes, that’s Larry’s own signature beside the picture, with his own bonus cartoon and commentary. I know amazing people.