I’m just back from WorldFantasy, and though my bags may be unpacked, I’m still mentally unpacking what was quite the weekend. I had a fantastic time at this year’s convention, which was held in Toronto. That’s in Canada, y’all.
Where to begin? How about with the unexpected cutting-off of cell phone service after we crossed the border? Luckily, I was traveling with Matt, whose phone did continue to work, if only at exorbitant prices per minute… which wouldn’t be a problem at all as long as there wasn’t an emergency at home—
Oh, what was that? The water-heater went out back home? The day after I left?
Needless to say, I was a bit distracted at times. And to those I might have bothered during panels with my getting into and out of my seat, taking phone calls to try to solve the problem, I apologize.
Now, on with the fantasticalities of the convention.
The panels I attended ranged from the future of YA, to defining Urban Fantasy, to e-Publishing, to the real made mythic, and the mythic made real. So many interesting discussions with more thought-provoking points than I would have time to list here. How about S.M. Stirling quipping that, “The most important thing about Urban Fantasy is the tax deductions.” Or David B. Coe demonstrating the irrationality of a marketing template that seeks to hammer every book into well-defined, easily-digestible square-peg shapes. Urban Fantasy. High Fantasy. Contemporary Fantasy. Magic Realism. Steam Punk. His last novel (a magic-filled mystery set in pre-Revolutionary War Boston, and written under the pen-name D.B. Jackson), recently had him on DragonCon panels dealing with Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Steam Punk. His solution to blurring so many lines? Coining the term, “Tricorn Punk.”
He wasn’t the only writer seeking to define the nature of his or her own work. Charles de Lint drew a distinction between the common understandings of the terms “Urban Fantasy” and “Contemporary Fantasy,” and what he calls his own writing, “Mythic Fiction.”
I also spent more time in the bar — a staple of any convention; the place to meet and get met — and in the Dealers’ Room — a great place to meet the people behind the books. The Edge Publishing party was another highlight, with several great readings from Edge authors like Nancy Kilpatrick, Barb Galler-Smith, and a handful of authors from the Danse Macabre anthology Nancy had edited.
But of all of these things — the panels, the events, the readings, the learning, the book suggestions — I think what I’ll most remember will be the chance I had to catch up with old friends. And to make some new ones.