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Joyous

I find myself having the problem that I don't feel like writing a whole con report up for Readercon, despite the fact that it was one of the most excellent, smart, fun, surreal experiences of my life that I'm eager to repeat. I'm enjoying reading all the other ones, though, so I best try to make some broad strokes. (This post may seem like a giant namedrop festival, but seriously, I met/chatted with a whole lot of wonderful awesome people.)

If I forget you--I'm so sorry. I met so many people and, er, had several drinks during the period I was meeting people. Example: I know I encountered Geoffery Goodwin but I forget when? It was many times overall; I just mean the first time. Blank.

Thursday: I attended Mike Allen's SF poetry workshop but managed to write a fantasy poem instead, so I didn't volunteer to read it, but I now have the beginning of a poem I don't hate. So, success. Nina Lourie and Gina Gagliano arrived later in the evening and we ended up mostly lounging around in the lobby with Cat Valente (catvalente), Amal El-Mohtar (tithenai), briefly Ted Chiang, and briefly Greer Gilman. There were three other people, also, whose names I have completely lost to the fine spaces in my backbrain. I'm sorry. I think we then went to bed?

Friday: Breakfast was just Gina and Nina and I on this day. Then, panels, panels! Attended--"New England: At Home to the Unheimlich" and Amanda Downum's reading. Afterwards we went down to the pool and I was introduced to Blake Charlton (blakecharlton) and David Forbes. That expanded into a strange mini-pool-party with Paolo Bacigalupi (who would not get in but still ended up damp), Charles Stross and his wife. I managed to miss the rest of the panels of the day because it was more important to lounge around and meet people. Megan Messinger and her brother Joey arrived, as did Irene Gallo of Tor, and we had a huge dinner in the bar with many folks (Rick Berry included). Irene is absolutely awesome. Discussed a little work, a little play, art, comics, Tor.com--all together good. After dinner found us in the lobby chatting again after abandoning the "Meet the Prose" party because it was entirely too loud. (Met Mary Robinette Kowal and got a folding fan.) Also met Jeremy Lassen of Nightshade Books, who is always dressed fantastically. Speaking of which, so is Liz Gorinsky of Tor, who I met on Thursday also and ran into periodically throughout the weekend. We returned to the bar for more drinks and only got one before they rather unkindly removed us with our drinks still in hand to the lobby and locked the doors. A five minute warning? Not cool. Not proper bar behavior at all. (The waitstaff in the restaurant were also not so great, but they were understaffed, so oh well.) I ended up going to bed because I'm boring.

Saturday: Breakfast with Steve Berman (mroctober) and Peter Dube, who were also fantastic. Discussion of queer fiction and YA and their intersections that was rather stimulating and thoughtful. Then: the Valente/Rose Fox (Genreville) kafeeklatsch, which validated my awkward feelings about reviewing books of people I know or who will see the reviews.

Hung out with Irene a bit before she left and shopped, got some books signed, and attended "The Body and Physicality in Spec Fic" panel (which Blake was on, and so was Elizabeth Bear (matociquala)) which ended up focusing more on the mind. We ran out of time before I could ask the question of why there are very few SFF characters who suffer chronic pain from injuries, etc. (I do, which makes it important to me, because it severely impairs many parts of my life.) We hung out with Blake during his signing, during which I also had Samuel Delany sign his book "The Jewel-Hinged Jaw" for me and tried not to stumble over my thank-you. I'll be writing up the next panel I attended ("The Closet Door Dilated") for Tor.com later, so skip that, but I went.

We did go to Kirk Polland, and after that relocated to the bar again with Blake, Paolo, Andrew Lipstak of io9, several unnamed others, and eventually Cat Valente again. I'll confess that I drank quite a bit in those hours in the bar. (Oh, and met Michael Swanwick, too!) After this my evening has hazy points. I know we went to the pool, where I dunked my feet and had trouble finding my them again to leave. Met Laura Anne Gilman and others. Made our way to a great room part where I met Eugene Myers (ecmyers) and Peter Straub (EEK). Blake was painted with cake frosting in a drunken meta-commentary on Avatar the Last Airbender and the movie's racefail. (Or, we were drinking, and it seemed like a great plan. Was absolutely hilarious.) Around four thirty in the morning my dizziness and intoxication drug me to bed. Oh, and don't forget Jeremy Lassen and "Anne Frank: Nazi Hunter." Ahem.

Sunday: Breakfast with Rose Fox and Josh, then Steve/Blake's kafeeklatsch, which involved more repetitions of the word "fistula" than one normally hears in conversation. And giggling. We continued to hang out for some while, Megan and her brother unfortunately left, and then I made my way to the Bookshop for the Bacigalupi/Bear/Datlow signing, where I hung about and talked to Bear, Josh and Amal for awhile. I made the attempt to not be terribly socially awkward (not entirely sure of my success or failure). Then, Bear and I moved on to the hilarious Gender and Sexuality panel where Cat Valente and Caitlin Kiernan (greygirlbeast) had a fandom moment over Torchwood and the audience asked one truly offensive stupid question after another. The panelists showed extreme restraint in not wading into the audience and smacking up a few people. In fact, they managed not to even curse, way better than I would have done. (This also led to one of the best quotes of the weekend, via Cat Valente: "When you're reading my book: I'm the top." *g*)

I greatly appreciate the invitation to the bar with Elizabeth Bear afterwards, though I was a bit quiet and awkward thanks to my exhaustion and a terrible hangover. I regret my blankness because I could have asked that question about chronic-pain-in-specfic and realized that later. Such things happen on three hours of sleep and... That hangover was truly foul. Also there: Nalo Hopkinson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ted Chiang, Paolo Bacigalupi, Gina Gagliano, Amanda Downum, and... Am I missing someone? Charles Stross did show up later. After Bear and Amanda Downum departed for home the discussion swung over to steampunk and a debate of its aesthetic versus actual value. I'm not sure we achieved anything there but it was fun.

Nina also had to leave, and so did Gina, and then so did I.

Overall, I had an absolutely excellent time and loved everyone I met. I bought entirely too many books, was given many others, and was recognized by a surprising amount of people. I wonder if I'll ever, ever get used to saying "I'm Brit Mandelo" and having someone say "Oh! Cool!" etc. It's deeply surreal and makes me blush and stutter. (Not as bad as being asked to pitch my book, which was a hilariously unspeakable disaster that I believe ended with me saying "it's about--stuff. and things. and words.") I intellectually know Tor.com has a big audience size, but still--surreal.

Everyone was sweet and kind and lovely, even when I was stuttering, mumbling and panicking during conversation. I think the score is Social Anxiety 0, Brit 1, for this weekend. Maybe I can finally downgrade that old diagnoses from mild-to-severe to just plain mild.

(We won't even talk about the planes though. We just won't. Suffice to say it was terrible.)

Comments

dood, lets go back to the con. i am here in real life and it is less rad.
Man, I know. Work today was especially boring in comparison.

I think this must be what Superman feels like when he has to go back to being mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent.
*pfft* superman. that guy has so much....hair.
Post-con comedown is terrible isn't it?

Sounds like you had a blast. Come to Dragon*Con with me labor day weekend, we still have a spot open in our roooommmmmmmmmm. There will be amazing parties and nerdery all around.
Cannot afford it with World Fantasy Con which you must go to if you could afford it, and I understand if you can't since, you know, Dragon*Con. (I already have a room reserved and a membership, heh.)
Aaand making me wish I was in MA in summers too in three, two, one...

(Readercon was fabulous the time I went; I just hope I can get back there some year soon. I am loving reading all the con reports, in the meantime.)
Maybe next year! And we can hang out.
Fingers crossed!
It's okay, I have absolutely no idea how we met either! (Geoffrey)
It's weird, isn't it? *g*
Thank you for reminding me of the "Nazi Hunter" idea. I had completely forgotten it up until I read your post. :)

Do it. *g*