Second day of the convention. It’s not going to be the cake walk that was Thursday. People tend to get one day passes for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These next three days the que for book signings and all other relevant panels will be hell.
After my morning tea, complimentary my gracious hotel, I stroll down to the convention center. The sun was shining bright this fine Friday. Strange. All my life I’ve been told of how gloomy London was. The weather was nothing short of perfect the week and a half I spent there. I decide to do my loop around the information desk, noting any activities that seem appealing. I signed up for chocolate tasting on Saturday. Time will tell if I remember to attend it or not.
First up on my “to-do” list was a book signing. Where Pat Rothfuss had his own personal signing, the next one consisted of about eight authors next to each other. I wanted to get my Half A King signed by Peter V. Brett. I hadn’t read any of his work, but I knew him and Abercrombie were friends. It would be a nice addition to the non Abercrombie signings in his book. The two people behind me both brought copies of Unfettered, the short story collection made to financially support Shawn Speakman after his cancer treatment. Neither of them knew each other. I assured them I do indeed have the book, but in Kindle format. Not much I can do there in regards to a signing. When it’s finally my turn I try to inform Mr. Brett why I’m having him sign a book that is not his. Unfortunately I talk too fast and too low, and frankly, sound like I’m mentally unstable. He’s still nice enough to do it, while laughing of course. He takes a picture to show Joe since their hotel rooms are right next to each other. Success!
I shimmy over to the George R.R. Martin book reading. Easily a seat is obtained. I can barely contain my excitement for an hour long reading of The Winds of Winter! Clearly I was not thinking straight. He instead read passages from his upcoming “The Sons of the Dragon”. I’m pretty sure that’s what it was called. It’s back story into the House Targaryen. As entertaining as it was, my enthusiasm had been shot. I must admit that George is a great story teller. Obviously in writing, but also vocally. The audience had a good chuckle over him stating that this book was due out four years prior, “like all of my other books”.
It was time. The coffee roundtable with the big dog himself. Joe Abercrombie. Got there as fast as I could. Joe and I walk in at the same exact time, both forgot to pick up coffee or tea. As we are all waiting for the other lucky fans to arrive he comments on how awkward this is. He had no idea he was to bring his own refreshment. Before I even had the chance to, this girl, for the life of me I cannot remember her name, perks up and offers to run and get him a cup of tea. I cannot express the hatred I have for her, but dammit do I respect the woman. After the rest of his fans arrive—nine of us total—we begin our chat. The first few minutes are him going on about what we should talk about. After a bit of nervous giggles from the fans (okay, mostly me), there was plenty of talk. The majority of the questions I’d heard him answer before in different interviews. How different was it writing Young Adult? When will we see more Logan? Do you plan to write in the world of the First Law again? I asked him some dumb questions about his current movie/television watching habits. Talked a bit about Arrow, and how damn good looking everyone in that town is. Mr. Abercombie was everything you want in a hero. Stayed long to chat with us. Didn’t mock anyone. Just a generally nice person. Very, very witty. You can tell that the humor from his books is all him. It’s just flowing out of the guy. Extremely nice and even got a picture with him.
Joe Abercrombie, Jack Black and I
Two breakfast burritos later I go to a panel about book covers. I’m always curious on how much say authors have on this issue. Some covers are just atrocious. And no surprise here, it’s all about what sells. The panel was called “The Politics and Economics of Cover Art”. The standouts here were Irene Gallo and Justin Landon. Irene is the art director for Tor books and Justin is the guy behind Staffer’s Book Review, and also did the Tor re-read of all the Joe Abercrombie books. Justin looks like an all American jock who in no way would read fantasy. As it turns out he’s one of the coolest guys in the world. If you ever have a chance to meet him at a con, or any type of event, I strongly suggest it. The guy is super knowledgeable about fantasy, too. There was some ribbing about hooded figures on covers. It’s whatever sells. That’s literally their only motivation. Justin says there is an attempt to try to get less sexist covers out there, but it’s a slow process. According to Irene the authors get SOME say as to the covers. It varies on author. Typically they are to write up a short summary of the book, and characters in the book to the artist. Just so they have something to work with. And I found out Bane has terrible cover art.
Next was the “Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quoe Does Not Need Worldbuilding”. This panel was, interesting. The majority of the time was spent talking about Tobias Buckell and how he deals with being a white Caribbean. Don’t get me wrong, the whole panel was interesting, but didn’t really deal with the topic. By the way, Tobias wrote up a classy explanation for the talk, seeing as how it got a bit controversial. I didn’t notice but I’m an idiot so, there you go.
My last event was the “The Problem with Making a Living Writing SF&F: Have We Become Too Niche?” panel. There were oodles of aspiring writers at this one. This was my first chance at seeing Scott Lynch. I was pretty depressed about missing his signing earlier. It was worth missing because I got more Abercrombie time, but damn did I want his signature. In line I met Susan from Germany and Kim from Australia. My goodness was Kim the talker. Extremely friendly but talked my ear off. Wanted to know about my whole life practically. Seeing as how my life is awful, this bored her quickly. Still she’s one of those people that can brighten a person’s mood instantly and I’m glad to have met her. Scott Lynch talks about how he accidentally posted his novel online and that’s how he got a book deal. He bashed the state of fantasy with other bloggers online so much, that finally someone said, “Why don’t you guys just write your own then?”. Scott took up that challenge and wrote the first chapter of his first book. The rest was pretty much history. Someone saw it, sent it to a publisher, and they asked for more. Lynch hadn’t written more but he said, give me two days and wrote his ass off. The author of the book HEX looked fifteen. And he was about to become a pretty rich man, thanks to American book and movie deals. They all agreed to increase your presence on social media, but not in a way that’s always promoting something. One of my favorite panels so far. Good authors, good discussion, good friends, good times.
Chatted with Robert from Cardiff afterwards for about fifteen minutes. Felt that eight o’clock tiredness coming and decided to call it a night. Once Upon A Time In Mexico was on when I got back to the hotel. It was the perfect finisher to a wonderful Friday. So thank you everyone at Loncon 3 on Friday, and thank you Johnny Depp.