NASFIC Report: Great People, Sparse Con

It’s funny how less than a day after complaining about my insecurities in regards to socializing and meeting people, I found myself hobnobbing with all sorts of cool people at the launch party for Mary Robinette Kowal‘s new book “Shades of Milk and Honey.” I hadn’t read her work yet; however, she’s made several appearances on Writing Excuses, and I recently learned that she grew up in this area. We even graduated from the same high school– go Enloe! So despite being stuck at work all day (escape plans were foiled by meetings, darn it), I headed over to NASFIC that evening to check out what was going on.

Most of the people there were published authors, editors, or spouses of said authors and editors. I felt out of place; “underdressed”, at least in terms of professional credentials. Nevertheless, no one seemed to mind, and no big burly bouncers were checking SFWA membership cards, so it was cool. Many of the people I had seen at the Bull Spec launch party two days ago were there, and I was able to have decent conversations with several folks I hadn’t been able to chat with at that event, including Sam Montgomery-Blinn (Bull Spec‘s editor), and John Kessel. I also met Gwendolyn Clare again, had a long chat with James Maxey, and met several other authors as well. When I got a chance to talk to Mary, we reminisced about Enloe, came to the consensus that it was too long ago to remember more than a couple teachers’ names, and had a brief discussion on the mechanics of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock. You know, important writing stuff.

On Saturday I actually attended the con, and in the morning I ran into James again, who invited me to lunch. This was how, a short time later, I found myself having lunch in a group of 7 people: 5 professional authors, an editor for Baen Books, and lil’ old me.

Later, at dinner, I found myself sitting with James, his girlfriend, Gray Rinehart (the Baen editor from lunch), Ed Schubert (editor for Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show) and Doug Cohen (editor for Realms of Fantasy). Again feeling professionally inadequate, but mostly just reveling in it now, and generally managing to ignore the butterflies in my stomach– which were mainly the result of general shyness anyway.

Oh, and panels… yeah, I guess there were panels. They were all right. There was a Masquerade, too, which I showed up late to and took some pictures of at the end (full set, such as it is, here). But if it weren’t for the meals and the party, I’d say the con was a letdown. It was WAAAY too spread out; it could have comfortably fit in just one of the three venues. I never thought I’d miss the crammed, chaotic vibe of ConCarolinas, but I did. It seemed like it was about one-third the size in ten times the space.

All in all, a great con, just completely not for the reasons I expected.

Ahh, Irony, how you make life interesting.