As always, I had a blast in Houston this past weekend. At this point I know the drill. After an uneventful drive down 290 to Houston — and it would have taken less time but for the state trooper who apparently decided to drive the entire way alongside me — I checked in and headed for the pool. It felt soooo good. I needed a dip after the long drive and I wanted some exercise to clear my head before my first panel that evening.
Which was — “I Don’t Think I Bend that Way,” a look at the current covers and the wonderful series of posts that Jim Hines (fine fantasy author and all around good guy) did on women on fantasy covers (see Striking a Pose). Katy Pace and Cat Osborne and I and a few early bird guests batted around cover concepts, cover trends, and cover poses, and talked about the role of the cover in selling books and picking up readers.
Meeting author guest Tanya Huff was also a wonderful experience. Tanya’s so nice and professional and funny and smart and thoughtful. We were on the Snow White panel, which was lively to say the least, and very enjoyable. Why fairy tales? Why Snow White? What is the role of fairy tales in the modern days? These are the best kinds of convention panels, the ones that ask the big questions.
Another thoughtful discussion was had on “If I were a rich fan.” If money were no object, what would you fund? Answers ranged all over the place, from genius grants for writers, to workshops for writers to understand the workings of the world, to waste recycling to health care and education. Allocating resources is a huge issue.
Astronaut Stan Love gave a fascinating presentation on going to Mars, and the implacability of the laws of the universe. As he so eloquently illustrated, Nature is a harsh grader. Get 99/100, and you still fail. Miss the transit point and you die a very sad and lonely death in a useless elliptical orbit. You might get a high school named after you, if you are lucky.
After the convention, I stayed around to meet some friends from the city. If you’ve read Gordath Wood, you know that it’s dedicated to my friend Valerie Bullitt, who passed away far too young on a grand adventure. Seeing her family was a wonderful opportunity to catch up. She’s never far from my thoughts, and being with her family was a bittersweet moment.