Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Readercon reflections

by Rob - July 12th, 2009.
Filed under: cons, Conventions.

Random thoughts on Readercon 20:

I’m at Pearson — Toronto’s airport — changing planes on my way back to Saskatoon from Readercon 20 in Boston.

It was a great, great convention — and I made a point of telling both Eric Van (this year’s programming chair) and Bob Colby (who founded Readercon 20 years ago) that.

It was startling to see myself referred to as a “Readercon stalwart” in the program book — but, according to the chart in the book, I’d been to 10 of the 20 Readercons, and most of them in the past decade, so I guess I am.

I seemed to be the only person from Toronto present; highly unusual for Readercon.

Great catching up with old friends Michael and Nomi Burstein, Ian Randal Strock, Warren Lapine, Nick DiChario, Rick Wilber, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jacob Weisman, and Bernie Goodman.

The Senior Editor of the journal Neuron came to my kaffeeklatsch — how cool is that?

Catherine Asaro is looking amazingly hot. Just sayin’.

At the request of Cary Meriwether, who came all the way to Boston from San Diego, I read from Watch, the second WWW book, instead of Wake, the first one; it went over well.

Fitzhenry & Whiteside shipped down 10 copies of Distant Early Warnings: Canada’s Best Science Fiction, edited by me; it was the first I’d seen of the book. I gave a copy to Tor editor David G. Hartwell and to Pulitzer-Prize winning critic Michael Dirda, and sold the rest like that — boom! The book looks fabulous.

Also sold out our stock of The Savage Humanists, despite the absence of editor Fiona Kelleghan, and of our two Nick DiChario titles (thanks, I’m sure, to Nick’s smiling presence).

Bernie Goodman and Jacob Weisman from Tachyon Books made the con for me: I had more than half my meals with them. Despite them being much more experienced small-press publishers than I am, they treat me like a colleague, and we had a blast.

Friday’s dinner party included Nick DiChario, Allen Steele, and Rick Wilber — what a great time! We went, at Rick’s suggestion, to the Capital Grill (and a Nick’s suggestion, we walked there).

Saturday’s dinner party included Michael Bishop and Geri Bishop (two of the nicest people in the world) and SFScope editor Ian Randall Strock.

Tor editor Stacy Hague-Hill — who has been working very hard on my behalf at Tor — and her husband took my out for lunch on Saturday — w00t! Her husband is South African, and so I talked with him a bit about my work on Charlie Jade, a Canada-South Africa co-produced TV series.

I’m one of four judges for the Cordwainer Smith Rediscover Award, which is presented at Readercon. I introduced fellow judge Barry Malzberg to the crowd on Friday night, and he gave the award to A. Merritt (1884-1943). The other judges are Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg.

I bought a paperback copy of Thomas J. Ryan’s The Adolescence of P-1 from Judith Klein-Dial in the dealers’ room, one of the seminal novels about computers gaining intelligence, and certainly an influence on me and my Wake. I own it in hardcover, and had read it back in the summer of 1980, but re-read a bunch of it on the long trip back to Saskatoon. Fun.

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