Readercon and the SF community

In my last post, I noted how friendly and courteous the authors, editors and critics were at Readercon. Sunday, I was the beneficiary of an act that left no doubt in my mind that SF professionals are a joy to be among.

I planned to take two books with me to be signed, James and Kathy Morrow’s European SF anthology and Peter Watts’s Blindsight. As might be expected, I forgot to pack both of them. Despite that, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to be among a handful of attendees having coffee over the noon hour Sunday with the Morrows. In fact, I picked up two of Jim’s books — The Last Witchfinder and Towing Jehovah — at the con dealer room, hoping to get them autographed.

I told both Jim and Kathy early in the meeting (thoroughly enjoyed by the four of us who met and talked with them) how much I loved the European anthology. At the end, as Jim was graciously signing the books I brought (and his inscription in Towing Jehovah is priceless), I mentioned how much I regretted forgetting my copy of it at home. Out of the blue, Jim asked, “Why don’t we sign our copy, you can take it and mail us yours?” Given the fact both laid eyes on me for the first time less than 60 minutes before, I was stunned but, of course, happily agreed. They needed the sole copy they had with them for the “SF in Other Tongues: What Are We Missing?”, the last panel on Sunday and which I was planning to attend . After the panel, both Jim and Kathy made sure they signed the book and got it to me, telling me just to drop them an e-mail to get a mailing address. The inscribed copy is now on my bookshelves and the copy it replaced will be on the way to them via priority mail.

Their act was the highlight of my interactions with the Readercon panelists. Yet all the panelists seemed more than happy to discuss books, life and whatever with attendees. For example, not only did I have an opportunity to hear Kathryn Cramer on a panel on reviewing in the blogosphere and discuss book reviewing with her briefly afterwards, she was kind enough to leave a comment on my last post. My heartfelt appreciation also goes to John Clute, critic extraordinaire, and Elizabeth Hand, whose Generation Loss I am currently wrapped up in, for their conversation, courtesy and treating me like an old friend. Thanks also to Anil Menon (whose The Beast with Nine Billion Feet is set for release this winter) for a very enjoyable breakfast discussion and also to Joshua Palmatier and Jim Gardner.

I likely won’t attend Readercon next year but that doesn’t mean it’s off my list for the future. Instead, several people reminded me that the World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) is in Denver in August 2008. While various people told me it’s a three-ring circus, the ease of air travel to and from there and the draw of spending several days with such a large number of writers, critics and editors may be too much to resist.

Turmoil, he now believed, was the optimal condition of the soul.

“Between the Lines,” Jose Antonio Cotrina, The SFWA European Hall of Fame

1 comment to Readercon and the SF community

  • Every once in a while, you discover those who transcend the normal expectations of graciousness. One would almost credit them with “noblesse oblige”, except that they have none of the other characteristics of nobility, which makes them truly noble indeed. Strange world, isn’t it?