So for those wondering why, after three straight years of attending World Fantasy Con, I will not be attending this year, I quote from World Fantasy's Con news updates.:

"These events will be held during the day in the Chartwell room at the very top of the Hilton, which offers stunning panoramic sea views on Brighton. (Unfortunately, this area of the hotel is inaccessible by wheelchair.) The maximum number of people in the group is 20. Places must be pre-booked and will be allocated on a first-come basis. We are making a minimal charge of £5.00 each to cover coffee and biscuits, plus it helps dissuade people from dropping out at the last minute, when somebody else could have had their place."

(Emphasis mine.)

As I have noted to some of you, my original plan for 2013 was to go to World Fantasy Con and then head over to Spain and Germany to catch up with various friends currently living in Europe, most of whom plan to return to the U.S. in 2014/2015. Giving up this trip was a major, major disappointment. At the same time, I did not want to attend three World Fantasy Conventions with accessibility issues in a row.

This is especially aggravating since the 2009 World Fantasy Convention in Columbus was generally fine (minor hiccups but nothing major). So it is absolutely possible for WFC to use a wheelchair accessible hotel, and yes, the United Kingdom has disabled accessible hotels and laws about disability and discrimination.

But WFC chose not to use an accessible venue, and so, I cannot attend.

(Thanks to Amal El-Mohtar and Farah Mendlesohn for bringing this to my attention.)
Still pretty dizzy, but sorta able to sit up and think between bouts of moving floor, so thought I'd try to sneak a con report in here mostly copied/pasted from my iPad notes before the election coverage gets going.

Summary: Con, yay. Hotel and Toronto airport, not yay. A surprisingly emotional con for me, very up and down, where I felt caught between tears and laughter, severe disappointment and massive excitement, fury and glee, and talked entirely too much. I did cry far too much on the first couple of con days, and got pretty dizzy pretty much every afternoon and most evenings, but things improved later.

From my notes on the cheerful and good things:

1. As always, the very very best part of the con was all of the wonderful conversations with the amazing people, and no, I'm not just talking about the conversations about photocopying sharks. (Which were less conversations and more me explaining why I once photocopied dead sharks. Look. This is just one of those things that can happen, ok?) I also finally got to meet in real life various people I've only "met" through Twitter or Tor.com.

2. Alas, the sad part of the con is that I didn't get to talk to ANYBODY enough. Even though, oddly, I also talked FAR too much.

In her con wrap-up, [profile] wirewalking said something that really spoke to me, about types of friends at cons, including:

"The ones you pass and exchange hellos and waves with in the halls and wish you could hang out with more, but scheduling always gets in the way."

Yeah, that.

:(

3. On the other hand, I did get to sing with Charles de Lint. Admittedly the more neutral observers of this event would call this less "singing with Charles de Lint" and more "sitting in the audience and joining in the chorus," but instead of quibbling or providing an accurate report, let's call this "singing with Charles de Lint."

I did, however, really and truly have drinks with him before the con actually started, although this was entirely by mistake since for the first half hour I had absolutely no idea who he was. Sometimes it takes a little while for obvious things (mentions of his book titles, for instance) to enter my little brain.

4. It will surprise exactly no one that my last dinner at World Fantasy Con (which technically happened after the con, but whatever) involved Jonathon Coulton songs. What can I say?

5. Speaking of music, I am absolutely shocked, shocked by my completely reliable statistical sampling of random World Fantasy attendees: Bedlam Boys, which I sang 1 1/2 times, was recognized by 15 people. The Wombling Song, which I sang 10 times (sorta), was recognized by 0 people. AT A FANTASY CONVENTION, NO LESS. My little heart, it breaks.

6. Darlings, I must tell you, [profile] csecooney made me all wet. Deliciously wet. And then she recited poetry, and soon, I was even wetter. This was at – and I kid you not, darlings, I have witnesses – at an erotica party. A literary science fiction erotica party. Some words about wine and knees might even have been spoken. I cannot be sure. It was all quite dazzling.

7. And yet, all of the witnesses remained fully clothed. (If you wanted proof that we were not at Dragoncon.)

8. On a related note, I did finally make a graceful appearance INSIDE the Tor party. (Usually I make my graceful appearance OUTSIDE the Tor party, because, wow, is that one popular party.) I also have witnesses for this unusual achievement. It lasted about 15 minutes but I feel this should count, especially since people had offered to pull things out of the Jacuzzi for me by that point, which, you know, means it's now a PARTY.

9. I failed, alas, to make a similar appearance at the Vandermeer party, and thus missed the bunny.

(I have no more context for this. I was simply told, "you missed the bunny," so I thought I'd share so we could all miss the bunny together. Except of course for those reading this who didn't miss the bunny.)

10. On the other hand, I also missed the funeral and open casket viewing that took place in the room right next to various panels, including the ghost story panel, and all the assorted creepiness. I did, however, get to experience the Sheraton's Haunted Elevators. I suspect editors are going to get slammed with Haunted Elevator stories in just a few months.

11. I kept expecting the con to end, for people to drift out and away, because that was what has happened in previous cons – on Sunday, I am often back alone in a hotel room, crouched against the noise of a convention, returning to myself bit by bit.

This time, though, the convention lingered – Sunday dinner, late Monday coffee and semi-lunch, cab ride to the airport, the ticket counter – and then, the real shock, shortly after I'd said goodbye to everyone I'd shared the cab with, feeling that it was time to return to myself again.....

....there was [personal profile] neile at an airport store! It was the con that never ended. Well, until I got on the plane (upgrade to business class, which was nice if mostly pointless since I was sick the entire flight, after my not exactly happy fight with Air Canada and the Toronto airport) switching back to a world of delighted small children who were going to see BUZZ LIGHTYEAR and TINKERBELL and needed TO YELL ABOUT THIS.

12. Finally, MUCH THANKS to everyone who helped me, either with pushing me around or through the bathroom issues, especially the stalwarts who pushed me back up that ramp to my hotel room. I know that I was frequently too tired to thank all of you in person and I feel terrible about that. I really am grateful.

13. This isn't, strictly speaking, part of the con, but the Little One greeted me hysterically when I came back in through the door ("Shut UP, cat!" was my father's not exactly enthusiastic response to this) and has not been off me since. The Grey One almost seemed dismayed to have me back, and later clawed me, just to remind me where I stand in the world, still living in hope that I might one day earn her permanent affection. It's like publishing, in a way.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived Monday night and found only stairs -- three steps -- leading up to the front door. The taxi driver and I looked for a wheelchair entrance and couldn't find one. I was too dizzy to stand so I crawled up the steps and got into my chair. That was fun. This was also during the height of the storm.

The front desk then pointed out the wheelchair entrance -- to the side and through heavy glass doors that are very difficult in a wheelchair. The automatic doors lead to steps.

After clearing up the hotel bill Tuesday morning I casually said that I would be off to the Starbucks in the convention center/hotel. Which is when I got my next bit of news:

This two story Best Western hotel does not have an elevator.

Able bodied guests may easily access the Sheraton lobby, hotel restaurants and the convention center by going down a short hallway and a flight of stairs.

Wheelchair users have two options:

1. They can stay in a wheelchair accessible room on the second floor, where I initially
was staying, and access the convention center and Starbucks by going out the wheelchair entrance (and the heavy doors -- I have needed assistance.) and then going
through the parking lot and over several speed bumps to the Sheraton lobby.

2. They can go to the first floor where I am now, and access the Sheraton through a very long and steep ramp. To get to this floor from the Best Western front desk they
have to go through the wheelchair entrance and through the parking lot. The rooms on the first floor are not wheelchair accessible. Because I have limited mobility I will be
able to use them but someone completely unable to walk would not be able to use this bathroom.

I was also offered a room at the Sheraton for an additional cost. However, I had budgeted for the Best Western, which is listed as a convention hotel. When I booked this room, I told Best Western that I was coming for WFC and that I would be using a wheelchair. They did put me initially in a wheelchair accessible room, but failed to tell me that this room would not be fully accessible to the convention. That information was
also not on the WFC webpage. In any case, I should not have to pay more just because I use a wheelchair.

Let me be blunt: World Fantasy Convention, you booked a hotel without an elevator. I
do not know why anyone concerned thought this would be acceptable. This would be bad enough in your overflow hotel. For your room block it is wrong. You also failed to
make this clear to attendees. To repeat, when I checked, I was told this would be fine. And it is not.
This has been a surprisingly busy and eventful week, including out of town visitors, the brief loss of a a friend's child at Disney which created a bit of drama (kid has been safely found), the hopefully not brief finding of a new obsession, blackberry wine (why oh internet did you not tell me about this before), the exciting discovery that I had not, after all, tossed out my boots, and more, which means I am now pretty much out of it, but, interrupting that state and a rather alarming amount of laundry for a few quick announcements:

1. Barring any potential weather delays from Hurricane Sandy, aka Frankenstorm, which OH NOES MAY BE KILLING FLIGHTS EVERYWHERE if you believe the media, I should be departing next Monday for World Fantasy Con.

(Don't worry, everyone; I have found my boots, which means that Toronto should be snow free. You can thank me – or curse me – later. I'm thinking curse because I was kinda looking forward to seeing some snow. Which would have certainly happened if my boots had remained hidden. On the other hand if snow does make an appearance Karen Lord will probably kill me, so, all just as well, and wow, could I possibly have mixed up verb tenses any more in this paragraph? I did say that I'm a bit out of it.)

Because my illness is incredibly unpredictable and can strike at any time, and I usually only make it to about half of the con at best, I have not planned any events – readings, panels, dinners, whatever. I'll just be going with the flow. Chances are good, however, that when I am up and about I will be near coffee, at the bar, or in the dealer's room, or have an interest in food in general. (Food!) I also tentatively plan to make my usual graceful and delightful appearance just outside the Tor party which may or may not turn into a graceful appearance inside the Tor party depending upon the state of the door and the crowds.

2. On a writing note, I have another tiny piece forthcoming from Daily Science Fiction squashed there in a month with writers such as Ken Liu and Nina Kiriki Hoffman, so, if you haven't signed up to have these short stories show up in your inbox each morning, and why not, it's free, now seems like a good time.

3. The Edward Eager reread continues over at Tor.com with The Well-Wishers. One more Eager book to go, and then we start a reread that I have been singing about. No, really.

4. And possibly one more announcement coming later today in its own little post.
So this is the part where a tactful, friendly person would say that the best part of the con was getting to meet and hang out with friends. But as I think we've well established by now, I am not a tactful, friendly person. So let me be honest: the marvelous conversations and meetups with friends and writers were only the second best part of the con*.

This was the best:

Cut for large images. )
This is coming a bit late, since I really was not feeling too good yesterday (and not feeling great this morning either, which does not bode well for the upcoming flight home), but I have a hour or so to kill before leaving for the airport and finally an Internet connection allowing me to copy and paste my iPad notes up to here, so, here we go.

This has been a strange, surreal, up and down trip, with everything seemingly either unbelievably, indescribably awesome, or unbelievably, all too describably horrific, with only a few things (the Southwest Airlines bit on the way here, for instance, annoying but amusing) squarely in the middle. So, after very little thought, I have decided to group stuff mostly by theme, especially since a few of these matters really deserve their own little posts anyway.

First up, as background, the Hotel. Auuggggghhhhhhh.
So in less than an hour I'll be taking off for World Fantasy. As always at these things, I may blog a lot, or not at all, depending upon internet availability (frequently tricky at hotels) and my fatigue levels (always tricky on trips.)

In the unlikely event that you are desperate for my words, you can amuse yourself with my most recent movie snark, or with my latest short story, The Woods, Their Hearts, My Blood, just up at Jabberwocky. (Warning: this story may disturb some readers.) And I expect that the usual Tor.com post will be up Thursday, along with a possible special extra post next Tuesday.

And in a change from my usual methods, mostly to remind myself that yes, yes, I am kinda a real writer now, a couple of upcoming appearances: short fiction in Shimmer in February and a poem in Strange Horizons, undetermined time.

To be honest, I'm feeling more than a little nervous about this trip. I try not to be superstitious, mind you, but the omens, they have not been good. Oh well. But I will try to remind myself about the kinda a real writer now part.
What with everything yesterday I completely missed that the latest Edith Nesbit post, about her novel Daphne in Fitzroy Street, a retelling of her relationship with George Bernard Shaw, is up at Tor.com. This is the last of the adult Nesbit books that I'll be reviewing, but I still have three more children's novels to go: The Magic City (which was delightful), Wet Magic (which wasn't), and The Wonderful Garden (which was pretty mixed). Nesbit did write one additional children's novel but tracking that down proved to be too difficult (and to be frank I was worried that this would be a mixed experience.

I'm also saddened that I didn't get to look at Nesbit's one adult novel that incorporates fantasy elements. And astonished. Gutenberg and other sites are doing marvels with bringing extremely obscure texts online, texts which define the "nobody reads this anymore." Nesbit's children's novels are still popular enough to be in print; she is widely accepted as a popular and influential children's author who, to repeat, is still being read, so I can't explain why her adult novels haven't wiggled online. Oh well.

Also, just a note for those asking: yes, I will be at World Fantasy Con next week. Since last year I arrived Wednesday evening only to discover that people were already conventioning, and since there's a longer flight and a time change to deal with, I'll be arriving a bit earlier this year to rest up before heading over to Wednesday registration. I fully expect that thanks to this preplanning on my part, I shall have nothing to do on Wednesday :)

Because I have a tendency to get sick without notice, my schedule is otherwise gloriously open -- no panels, readings, or otherwise -- with very tentative plans to stop by the book signing, the art show reception (because dessert! also, art! We are looking for pirate pictures!), and possibly the open poetry reading (which appears to have been squeezed in between the art show reception and the various con parties, at least a couple of which I've been asked to make a gracious appearance at) so we will see. I shall also be doing significant sleeping here and there.

And on the bright side, my cell phone has been (temporarily) upgraded and fully tested with [profile] anaisis's help, which should make texting, Twittering and the like much easier this time around.
Right! Appearances! Where I will be in 2011:

1) Driving arrangements permitting, I should be stopping by the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. I have absolutely no schedule for this, so if you are planning on being there, and want to meet up, let me know and I'll try to work something out.

2) MegaCon 2011, Orlando, on Saturday, March 26th, probably someplace by the Legos and the robots. Or just wandering around. There is a small chance I may also be there on Sunday, but that's entirely dependent on the schedules of other people who are planning to make up their minds about this in March, probably that Friday :) So this is not exactly a set planned thing.

3) GenCon 2011, Indianapolis, August 4-7, 2001. We will actually be arriving Wednesday night and leaving at some point on Sunday. This is where I turn from writer to gamer, so I will not be part of the Writers Symposium. Despite some rather sarcastic suggestions that I, you know, try to actually see the entire con instead of just the board gaming part of it, I expect you will probably be able to find me at the board gaming part of it. Or in line for coffee. It's a gaming con.

4) World Fantasy Con, San Diego, October 27-30, 2011. Once again, fluid schedule.

Still up in the air: Readercon, World Con and, yes, DragonCon. Unfortunately, that nasty bugbear finances, which, honestly, we, as a nation, or at least we, as artists, should have evolved past by now, is making Readercon and World Con not seem all that likely. DragonCon...ah, yes. Well. We'll see.
I don't think I can sum up World Fantasy Con in a single post, so, bullet points:

Cut for length and brilliant wittiness. Well. Maybe not brilliant. Maybe not even witty. )
I am all sad.

I know I went to the launch party for Catherynne M. Valente's ([personal profile] catvalente's The Habitation of the Blessed.. (In fact I went there twice since the first time the books weren't there. and also because the party had this remarkable nonalcoholic punch which I need the recipe for.) I know I got a copy from [personal profile] justbeast and had it in my hot little hands. I know I showed it to people. I know I said something about the cover (although to be fair I don't know what.) I know that I put it in my little backpack on the wheelchair and that we closed the little backpack up and it was there when I left the party.

And I don't know where it is now.

Sniffle.

I can easily get another copy, of course (and will, since her work makes for excellent bathtub reading) but it won't be that copy, the one I actually got at the launch party. Sniffle. (This also means that I can't exactly review or blurb it right now, but I can at least link to Amazon to ensure that the author never, ever ends up back working at Starbucks and ruining coffee for the rest of us.)

The other books – including the peace-offerings for unable to attend the con folks – are all still here. I think. (Many many books came my way and to be truthful I didn't track all of them.) Now to see if they survive the plane flight.

********

Meanwhile, other reports tell me that the house is in chaos and I suspect completely free of any internet entanglements. Also apparently people are very mad at one of the cats, which isn't entirely fair since these were the same people that were interrupting her carefully planned nap schedules and scaring her to death and she's too beautiful to be treated in this fashion.

*****

Ancillary matters:

Since a lot of people asked, no, I will not be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I probably should, but I have unpacking and lot of other stuff early this month and a non-novel project due mid month, so, this isn't the best month, however much the novels may be screaming.

I voted last week, but, yeah. Vote. You can watch this first for inspiration.
So, yay! Fantasy Magazine has printed my little story, Mademoiselle and the Chevalier, in which we learn the all important lesson that if I am going to have a story appear in a zine the day after World Fantasy Con, I should learn how to pronounce its title beforehand. Correctly.

Er. No, that is not precisely the lesson.

Anyway. It's a tale of gargoyles, roses and magic. It has no comments yet and it feels lonely. So, read. Enjoy. Comment if you will.

********

Con reports and why this Hyatt hotel hates people in wheelchairs following later; I badly overdid things this weekend and am going to flop over again.
In which the author manages to embarrass herself yet again:

The follow-up to the Patricia McKillip story: So, yesterday morning, I'm searching for coffee. Desperately searching for coffee. I find coffee. It is marvelous. Holding it in my little hands I wheel out towards the lobby when a kindly gentlemen stops me, saying he liked my poem.

"Oh, great!" I said, pleased. "I was really worried about it, since I haven't done a poetry reading in years and I knew Patricia McKillip was in the audience and that made me so nervous I thought I was going to throw up."

"Why, thank you," said another voice….

...Patricia McKillip was of course sitting right across from him, her back to me; I hadn't recognized her at all.

I flushed and managed to make matters still worse by babbling about her books, all the while thinking, great, way to completely fail this meeting with a childhood idol before slipping out and telling my sad, sad tale to a sympathetic Theodora Goss (who kindly did not note that she had also been in the audience but her presence didn't make me ill...)

*****

Aside from needing to sleep even more than expected and telling major fantasy authors that they nauseate me, and some decided wheelchair issues with the Hyatt hotel (thank you to everyone who has been helping with this, although I'm still upset that help is even necessary), it's been….well. I can't find adjectives because, still need more coffee, but I'm delighted to note that Hadley Rille Books managed to sell off all copies of Desolate Places (featuring my little story "End of Time,") especially after we explained that the book featured the award-winning [profile] camillealexa. I'm finding it difficult to put names to faces and remember people, and seeming to move between babble mode and professional mode, and also not feeling overwhelmed – as someone (I think [personal profile] girliejones?) noted, it seems as if every major person in fantasy is walking by you or sitting at thebar. Salutary reminder that I am a baby tadpole in a large pond.

However, I am also a baby tadpole that is delighted to note that I got both Sharon Shinn and Catherynne Valente ([personal profile] catvalente to sign my ebooks – so a geeky baby tadpole. It was awesome, especially since [personal profile] catvalente kindly did this outside of the great signing time. And I'm a baby tadpole who was actually signing books – feeling, I must admit, like a bit of an imposter while doing so.

Ok. Coffee calls. And I must answer.
Flashback: Small girl, curled up in corner, intensely reading The Riddle-Master of Hed, learning that fantasy had even more to offer than just Oz and Narnia.

Flashback: In college, feeling depressed - until suddenly seeing The Changeling Sea.

Flashback: Last night, suddenly realizing that, thanks to [profile] time_shark and his wife, not only was I about to read a poem, I was about to read a poem right in front of Patricia McKillip.

I think she liked it although honestly I'm not the best person to ask.

Ok. Must find shower and coffee, not necessarily in that order, and quite possibly hang out near the bar (the seemingly main hanging out place of this con) for a bit. To be truthful, I'm finding the bar rather intimidating - it's filled with high bar stools and tables, and I'm down here in the chair. But there's a balcony filled with chairs trailing away from the bar, where people are more at my level and things are more comfortable.

(I also have some irritated words for the Hyatt hotel, but that can wait.)
I left the apartment for the last time yesterday, removing laptop and clothes and suitcases for World Fantasy Con.

I feel that I should have more to say about this. Usually when I leave a place, no matter how long or briefly I've lived there, I have some feelings, some memories, a moment of taking a last look at the place and summing things up. When I left my apartment before this one, I was crying (of course, part of that was knowing I was moving away from [profile] coldecho, which was absolutely awful, and why we don't have transporters yet so he can come and see movies with me regularly and chat about things, or for that matter, join me for dinner tonight so we can snark about stuff, I do not know.)

This time my main thought was, can I make it to the airport on time. (And yes, in plenty of time – enough to find out that no, Disney princess tiaras cannot go through the Orlando airport X-ray machines and must be taken off no matter what a three year old thinks, so, now you know – Disney princess tiaras, which is kinda surprising since I always thought they were plastic. The next mass weapon of terror. But moving on.)

I will miss a few things about that place – the lake, certainly, and the slowly moving alligators swimming back and forth, the sunsets, the balcony filled with plants that both cats took such joy in. But this is balanced by so much that I won't miss – the way the place overheated every summer afternoon, whatever the airconditioner was set on (the house has shade and trees and cinderblock so will not have that problem), the kitchen (grr, grr, grr), the stairs, and other things.

It's weird, too, to be taking a trip from one home, and return to another – I have never done this before, never left not knowing exactly what I'll return to (in this case heightened by not knowing what condition the refurbished bathroom and the new floors will be in, and not knowing if my stuff from the storage unit will be there or not.) It's a little bit of nagging greyness on the edge of my mind.

******

Anyway, here I am at World Fantasy Con, after more frustration than was strictly necessary with Southwest Airlines, including a few terrifying minutes when I thought they'd lost my wheelchair. I met up briefly with [profile] girlie_jones and Jonathan Strahan before a massive wave of fatigue flashed over me, this after I'd realized that I was already having problems following their conversation. So to bed I went. This morning I met up with a group of lovely writers from Canada and California, made it to registration, where I was swamped under a pile of books, always a good thing, and then decided to conk out for a bit.

One worry: the disabled hotel rooms are nowhere near the elevators. I've been assured by hotel staff that they can push me back to the room, if necessary, but, auugh.

*******

Meanwhile, my latest post is up on Tor.com, on The Sea Fairies.

Heading back out to the con now.
1. First, I'm leaving for World Fantasy Con tomorrow (Wednesday) and will be back the following Tuesday, adding extra layover time at both ends to let me rest. I deliberately haven't signed up for any panels or readings, just to keep my schedule as flexible and free as possible, but if you're around, feel free to come up and say hi.

2. Internet: In theory they have internet in Columbus Ohio and the wonder that is the Hyatt hotel. In reality I have no idea what my internet access (or free time) will be. Posting may be heavy, light, or non-existent.

3. The real question, however, is not so much internet access at World Fantasy Con as internet access when I return. By the time I return, we will have moved to the house (yay!) and I will be staying there. Brighthouse Networks and the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster willing, we shall have internet access by that point. You may have noticed, however, that I named a little tiny entity called Brighthouse Networks in there, which has the ability to entirely and completely mess this up, so I'm not counting on having internet access by then, or indeed for several days.

4. Because of these two factors, I shall break my long standing tradition and go ahead and announce a publication before it appears. That's right: Fantasy Magazine will be publishing my short story, "Mademoiselle and the Chevalier," a tale of gargoyles, roses and magical rings, on Monday, November 1st. The story is one of my personal favorites, which actually makes me more nervous – I can deal with an unfavorable response to stories I don't care about as much, but I want everyone to love and hug this little tale. It might be just as well if I'm offline when it appears.

And....you'll all excuse me, but apparently I must go comfort a cat.
Just got off my World Fantasy nominations - right under the deadline. That wasn't fun.

Part of the problem is that, as I realized when putting together my list, most of the works I read last year weren't eligible. It isn't that I haven't been reading - although my fantasy reading has definitely slowed - but that most of the fantasy novels and collections I did read dated from 2008 or earlier, which makes me feel as if I'm being unfair both to the few books I nominated and to all those I didn't get around to reading. (I left blank spaces, because I will not nominate books I haven't read.)

The same happened in the novella category, where I nominated all of two works. But in the short story category, I had exactly the opposite problem: I had 14 stories I wanted to nominate (15 if I'd been able to nominate me, and this list easily could have been stretched to 45, without including me), and could only list 5. The non-professional, on the other hand, was surprisingly easy, and I was surprised to realize that I even knew a couple of artists to nominate.

And then we have the problem of the Lifetime Achievement Award. With all of the Oz posts, my main nominee was the brilliant fantasy artist (if terrible writer) John R. Neill, but dead people aren't eligible, so I was stuck once again trying to narrow a too long list down to just five people.

But this, combined with the SF Signal "apparently I haven't read a science fiction book published in this century" debacle has convinced me that I am going to have to get better at reading recently published material, instead of my usual, hmm, what's on the bookshelves or what's getting recommended to me this time method. I'll try to do better next year, guys.
1. In a nice burst of optimism, I went ahead and registered for World Fantasy Con. Still not entirely sure that the stars will be completely aligned for this, but they will be more aligned now that I've actually registered.

(Alas, Readercon and World Con are both out this year. Next year, perhaps!)

2. Just finished up Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. To answer a small discussion we were having earlier, yes, she is a speculative fiction writer, however she may want to define herself.

With that said, I can't really recommend this book, mostly because I couldn't find myself believing in the dystopian world she's created here – not so much the environmental disasters (that I can believe) but rather, the human response she depicts. It feels contrived, and wrong, and rather like a writer trying to make a point.

3. Not that I should really be critiquing: my own writing at the moment is kinda like slogging through a wetland with little water and a lot of mud and without even the saving grace of a few lazy alligators, let alone lovely little orchids, or, which would be more to the point given the writing I'm attempting to do, large alligator eating orchids TAKING OVER THE SWAMP.

4. We've been watching The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells, a miniseries with laughably bad special effects. What I find interesting though is not so much the special effects, but the half-hearted whitewashing of the, er, unconventional personal life of H.G. Wells, who in real life left his first wife for his second, and then proceeded to have numerous affairs and attempted affairs, including a rather creepy attempt to seduce Edith Nesbit's adopted daughter. The film entirely omits Wells' first wife, transforms his second wife from his student to an independent teacher (and biology professor at , and leaves out all allusions to the later affairs, having Wells outright declare that Jane was the absolute love of his life, leaving him uninterested in other women. Which is all well and good, and something I initially assumed was meant as a nod to keep things family friendly – and the show focused on science fiction/fantasy stories, instead of soap opera – until the show unexpectedly showed Jane and Wells moving into together and sleeping together well before marriage. Mind you, this actually happened; I was just surprised that having whitewashed the truth so far, they didn't just complete the whitewashing and have the two wait for marriage, but I suppose they felt they were already stretching the truth enough.

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