Millennicon 2006

March 19, 2006

Yesterday kayleigh and I went to Millennicon in Cincinnati. This year’s was much better than last year, perhaps simply because of the weather. Last year, it was dreary rain all day and yesterday was sunny but cool. Of course, kayleigh and I had been waiting on a day spent together at the first convention of the year as well, which probably had something to do with it.

We got there early, registered, then sat a bit watching people and going through the program. I wanted to attend a "Writing Short Stories vs. Novels" panel at 11, which we did after doing a quick run through the art show and the dealer’s room. This panel consists of GoH Elizabeth Moon, a very intelligent, nice, and admittedly talkative woman (former Marine who writes military science fiction); Dave Creek, a short story writer from Louisville who has sold a lot of stuff to Analog; and Joe Martino, who we’ve seen several times before at local conventions (always has a journalist’s vest on). Last year Martino had self-published his first novel after years of short stories dating back to 1961, but he was proud to announce he’d finally sold his first novel this year. Tobias Buckell was also on the panel but showed up late, wet-haired and hurriedly dresses and apologetic that the hotel had not given him his wake-up call correctly. Missing from the panel was Mike Resnick.

The panel was particularly interesting, with discussions on how each writer got into the business, what form they found easier, whether they outlined their novels and stories, and so on. Tobias told a story of his first submission of a short story which the editor returned, with a note of something like "you’ve got fights, archeology, history, mathematics [and he went on to list a litany of things he’d thrown into the 2000 word story]. Choose one!" That got a lot of laughter. He says he keeps the now-laminated rejection letter to remind him to focus.

Moon, Creek, and Buckell were in the next panel on favorite SF authors, as well.. There was a cartoonist named Levy who once had a cartoon rejected by Hustler’s Larry Flint as being in bad taste (!). Resnick showed up for this panel with a cup of coffee, complaining that the organizers shouldn’t schedule him in the morning. Considering it was noon, this complaint was a bit dubious. Resnick seemed more grouchy than his normally curmudgeonly self this panel, and when Buckell tried to get everyone to introduce themselves again since it was a new panel (though several audience members had stayed over), Resnick apparently didn’t hear him and went on to list several authors he liked. Buckell looked at kayleigh, shrugged, and mouthed "I tried."

I caught up with Buckell outside the dealer’s room later and opened the short conversation with a comment about how he’d missed Elizabeth Moon’s comment earlier in their panel that she hoped not to dominate the conversation as she tended to do. Buckell had been cut off several times in the first panel, and laughed. I introduced myself and noted that kayleigh and I had seen him at Context last year. He said he’d thought we’d looked familiar, and told me stop him any time in the hall if I wanted.

Later I bought his first book, Crystal Rain, and had him autograph it at the end of another panel about "Afficionados Only," which was about whether science fiction readers were elitist. That too was a very interesting panel, small, with audience participation practically demanded of the panelists, with all of us sitting in a circle. We discussed how we first came to SF, fandom, and the like. My idea was that by simply labelling yourself as a science fiction writer, or a fantasy reader, or a gamer, you became elitist by the labelling. I also pointed out that everyone considers themselves unique, so that we as readers got together with "other unique people to enjoy our uniqueness together," which got a clap of approval from Tobias Buckell. The panel also had Karen and Craig Jackson on it, the organizers of Context whom we run into all the time at the various conventions, and a woman from the dealer’s room whose name I embarrassed to say I can’t remember, but who was quite animated and vocal.

I picked up another of John E. Kaufmann’s prints, "Elfen Maiden," one I’ve admired at various conventions since I picked up one of his prints a couple of years ago at Context at the art auction for $20. I didn’t bid on this one and bought it outright as I wouldn’t be there at end of auction. It’s a picture of a woman – the elf maiden – whose pointed ear you can barely see, naked and bathing in a pool of water with a waterfall behind her. Her back is turned to you so you see her curves and part of her naked bottom. Nicely done, a bit erotic, with a fantasy overtone. I was also happy to buy kayleigh a companion piece of my "Reflections of the Shire," of roadsigns pointing the way to various Hobbit-related towns. She was very excited by it, and have picked up additional frames for my current prints and one other should I buy it at a later time at a convention. The good thing about his prints is that they’re all 16 x 20!

We took a break for lunch, going to Roly Poly, a wrapped sandwich place we’d not been to for several years, then returned for a bit for a “get to know the author” panel for Elizabeth Moon. We left the panel early, stopped by the Con suite for a pop and snacks, picked up our art and came home.

We were both tired by that evening but it was a damned fine day.


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