Sunday, November 4, 2007

World Fantasy Convention

I'm on my way home from the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York, chaired by my great friend Joe Berlant. Carolyn and I had a fabulous time. Everybody was thrilled with the poetry slam Carolyn ran Thursday night, and I think I acquitted myself adequately on my two panels (which is actually a lot for a World Fantasy Convention; usually, panelists only get one programming event).

For the first time ever, Robert J. Sawyer Books -- the science-fiction imprint I edit for Canadian publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside -- had a table in an convention dealers' room. Our table was staffed throughout the conference by the vivacious Stephanie Stewart, the US marketing director for Fitz and Whits. The convention was packed -- 1,150 people -- and I had a great time chatting with all sorts of great people, including Doctor Who scriptwriter Paul Cornell, Pyr Books editor Lou Anders, my new Ace editor Ginjer Buchanan and her husband John Douglas, and many writer buddies including Nick DiChario, Rick Wilber, Karina Sumner-Smith, Mark Rich, Nancy Kress; and oodles more.

The highlight for me, though, was the book-launch party we held Saturday night for Matthew Hughes's novel The Commons, the latest book under my RJS Books imprint. As it happened, Carolyn and I were given a giant suite (at no extra charge!), so we had the party in our room, instead of Stephanie's. We were competing with the Tor party, which was packed wall-to-wall -- but ours was always pleasantly busy without ever being uncomfortably crowded. Among the notables who spent considerable time at our party were Asimov's editor Sheila Williams; Asimov's book reviewer (and my former Ace editor) Peter Heck; SFWA Executive Director Jane Jewell; Japanese artist Hikaru Tanaka; and a posse of Writers of the Future winners past and present.

Friday dinner was with Ian Randal Strock of SF Scope, a terrific news site; Saturday lunch was with Aurora finalist John Mierau and my writing student Mark Ladouceur.

Nick DiChario and Bev Geddes stumbled on a fabulous restaurant named Sperry's near the convention center that for some reason wasn't listed in the otherwise-comprehensive convention restaurant guide -- and so wasn't packed. We had a group of 10 for dinner Friday night, and 13 on Saturday night -- and had great service, and it was quiet enough that everyone could hear each other.

I'll get home tonight (there's a two-hour back-up at the Canadian border station, so we're taking a break for dinner and to visit a Barnes and Noble). But I won't be home for long. Wednesday, I leave for Brandon, Manitoba; I'm giving a keynote at the Manitoba Public Libraries conference there, and appearing at the new Brandon writers' festival. Other trips coming up in the next month: Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Victoria, and Kansas. Whew!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At November 05, 2007 12:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you know that there's a number you can phone to check wait times at the border? Sometimes when one bridge is backed up, another will have a shorter (or even no) delay. I can look up the number if you need it.

At November 05, 2007 9:31 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Many thanks! Actually, now that the New York Thruway has free Wi-Fi at all rest stops, I just pull in and check, which gives real-time updates. Carolyn and I used this to determine we should cross at the Peace Bridge, instead of our usual choice of Lewiston; saved 90 minutes at the border that way. :)

At November 05, 2007 9:15 PM , Anonymous Marah said...

For me it's easier to phone than to find a rest stop and pull over, but the phone number updates less often. Whatever works for you! Saving a 90 minute wait is a good thing. :)

At November 06, 2007 1:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my amazement, lists The Commons as being in stock! It usually takes several months for a new book under your imprint to become available from the big online retailers. I ordered a copy before they could change their minds on this point.

Is this one of the benefits of Fitzhenry & Whiteside's acquisition of Red Deer Press?

John F
Truro, NS

At November 06, 2007 1:05 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, John. Yes, it is. The bigger the account, the more attention/care Amazon pays. :)

It's a great book! Enjoy!


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