I attended my very first fan con over the weekend (I went to ALA last summer, but that doesn’t seem to count), and it was amazing, I want to do it again. But maybe not for a few more months. I think I need some time to recover.
I went to the North American Discworld Convention as an assistant to my friend Raven, who took most of her shop Ravenworks over to the con to vend as the only costumer there. We shared a room with Amanda of Mad Hattery and had way too much fun sending people back and forth across the room. “Buy a fantastic hat and get a costume to wear with it!” “Get an amazing dress and an amazing hat to match!” We dressed so many gorgeous people in so many gorgeous clothes. It was glorious.
I was too busy dressing people most of the time to get to see panels, but I did pop in for the two big ones. I managed to make it over to catch all but the first few minutes of the reading from Snuff, the new Discworld book due out in October 2011. From the bits I heard, it sounds very much like English cozy country mystery with Vimes. Vimes in the country! Vimes as a country lord! Solving crime! I am in love with it already. (I wish I could remember enough of the Discworld’s Newton-apple tree story to recreate it, but alas, I can only tell you to look forward to it come October.)
Saturday we were swamped with customers and I didn’t get to see anything — anything, that is, but the amazing costumes moving through. I saw several excellent Granny Weatherwaxes, more than one lovely goddess Anoia, the very best (and definitely tallest) Death I have ever seen, a Dibbler with a tray of sausages (named meats extra), a truly dedicated Death of Rats, and many small Feegles. Ten year olds are perfect Feegles. Throughout the weekend, we contributed a couple of Dukes, a small Lord Vetinari, a vampiress (Black Ribbon, I hope), several wizards, and more than one Assassin to the throng. (Only appropriate: to get into the spirit of the thing, we dressed as Assassins and displayed our special dispensation from Lord Vetinari, allowing us to pose as merchants selling our wares in order to gather information about our potential targets. We were very polite and did not inhume anyone all weekend.)
On Sunday we had a slow day, still equivalent to a good vending day anywhere else we’ve ever been, but slow enough that I could stand in the doorway and listen to the Good Omens panel. Although he wasn’t on the program, Neil Gaiman showed up, and he and Sir Terry spent two solid hours telling stories and jokes and generally being wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the story they told about auctioning the book to publishers when it was finished — as the bids grew higher and higher, Neil said he got more and more excited, and Terry admitted to being underneath the bed, holding on to the floor. <3 I am reassured by the news that, although it is not the same production company, it is largely the same people making the Good Omens miniseries as made the spectacular Hogfather. This is going to be good, folks. Also, I think I need to reread Good Omens.
Although the con was still running today, I was not; after three ten- to twelve-hour days (taking into account not only the vending but the frantic trips across town to the storefront and the suppliers to restock) I need a day off before I go back to the day job. But I’m pretty sure I had the best first con experience I could ever have hoped for, and oh, I will be doing it again. Hopefully next year, in Birmingham.
Geoffrey Moorhouse, Sun Dancing
I was a little disappointed in this book — it was advertised as an imaginative retelling of the history of one of the white martyr monasteries in early medieval Ireland, with documentation to back up the retelling. Most of the documentation was pretty vague stuff about the history of the Celtic Church, though, rather than anything in support of the actual events he was talking about in the retelling section. Which was interesting, but not awesome. I’m not sorry I read it, but I don’t think I’ll run out and read it again.
Ellis Peters, A Morbid Taste for Bones
After watching Derek Jacobi be awesome all over the TV series, I figured I ought to actually read the Cadfael series. I’d brought one of them home from the epic weeding project I did last spring, but it turned out to be not only very late in the series but actually a direct sequel to the first book, so I didn’t actually read it. severa lent me her copy of the first book, and I enjoyed it immensely. Pretty good medieval setting, excellent main characters, and a murder mystery that is supported almost entirely by characterization rather than by some kind of elaborate double-bluff. I am now plowing through as many of the rest as I can get my hands on.
Carrie Ryan, The Dead-Tossed Waves
The sequel to the amazing Forest of Hands and Teeth, almost immediately after I bought this I read a review that said it was terrible, so I took forever to get around to reading it. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t as good as the first one. It covers roughly the same kind of territory — growing up, and becoming an actual person, in a post-zombie-apocalypse society — but with a very different main character and a very different part of that society. It was a little slow to get going, but it really picked up in the second third and I enjoyed it very much by the end.
Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
The latest Tiffany Aching book. I love Tiffany. Best witch ever. Yes, even better than Granny Weatherwax — especially for narration, because when she makes mistakes, she doesn’t always know they’re mistakes right off, the way Granny does. This was also great fun because pretty much everyone had a cameo: Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Nobby Nobbs, Magrat, Carrot, even Esk… I was just sad that Tiffany didn’t get to meet the Patrician. Now that would have been entertaining.