I arrived at the hotel around three, which is early for me. I drove straight through from Minneapolis and did not stop after I got gas at the SuperAmerica on Lyndale just before I-94. After parking in the hotel, I went up with one bag that would not fit in the trunk and checked in. With the room key, I went back down and got the main suitcase, up to the room, and back down to register. Registration was fairly quick, and I went to the gathering, which is often over by the time I arrive. I drank a glass of punch, ate a chocolate chip cookie, and chatted with Neil Rest and ? for a bit. I think I wandered through the dealer’s room, where Beth was manning her table, and went up to the Governor’s Club bar somewhere around 4:30, which is when it opens. It was much quieter than usual, and Valerie from Chicago was not there. I remembered at some point to download the phone app and check through the panels, selecting mostly by individuals that I wanted to hear, rather than by topics. I could sort topics out on they fly. For some unknown reason, most of the people I wanted to see/hear were against other people that I wanted to see/hear. Plus, there were two “what the hell just happened” panels that I wanted to sit through. Friday and Saturday weather was great. Sunday, not so much, with rain through the day. Monday was cloudy, but I made it home with the top down, although I may have seen a few drops on the windshield.
I walked around the farmer’s market late on Saturday around noon. They were starting to pack up and leave. I’d hopped to find something to snack on, but didn’t.
I think three of us went out for ice cream on Saturday night, which would be the only thing, other than a sandwich and a double espresso at the Starbucks in the hotel, that I went out for. I lived on the appetizers, desserts, and breakfasts from the Governors Club lounge, plus a wee bit of party snacking. The consuite was a bit below the below, closing each night at 11:00, and not up to the usual standards. I didn’t even have a soda from there. I also managed to miss the Tiptree desserts — I blame the panels. I sat at Beth’s yarn booth a couple of times. On Monday so she could go to the one panel she was on, and one other time, for a reason I don’t remember.
The convention felt light, like it was shy a number of members. I revised my estimate at the Sunday dessert salon — but they may have had less tables — but by Sunday, the convention looked to be at similar occupancy levels. They had lots of signs up for volunteers in many more departments than I usually see.
John Chu was there, his short story, The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere, which I loved, won the Hugo last year. I was hoping he would be as elegant in language on a panel. He read a new story he’d just sold to TOR at the Finland party. He read an excerpt at a Clarion Reunion panel, and he was on a panel about alien languages. (He’s from Taiwan, and translates from Chinese.) On panels, he seems to think too quickly to speak, and his delivery stalls, stops, and restarts as if from excitement. His story has a staidness about it that I did not see from him, but he was fun to listen to nonetheless.
I managed to miss almost everything Kim Stanley Robinson was on, except for his reading, which was really a performance piece coupled with his reading, which I joined a few minutes after it started. He talked afterwards about the artist who did the recorded accompaniment, wanted trance to be the result. He wanted storytelling. I think they hit somewhere in between, and I was a bit off-put during the performance. In retrospect, it was probably better than I’m imagining, and my trance state may have come from some residual tiredness and the low light in the room. I did catch his guest of honor speech. It was about global warming and it was good, but preaching to the crowd. I missed his Monday morning panel because I was trying, unsuccessfully, to sell yarn.
I also wanted to catch Leslie Hall, but I only made it to one of her panels.
Link to post from one of the co-chairs