At close to 10:00, we thought we'd head up to the Tor party, which was up on the 8th floor of the hotel...out of the "party floor" area, so we thought it might be a little more private/intimate. Ha.
The hallway outside the room was already pretty populated, and we could hear the colourful roar of many conversations going at full blast. Inside the suite itself, it was packed. It was possible to navigate, carefully, from place to place, and we did manage to go over to the food table in just a couple of minutes. But it was just too much. We should've tried to mingle, or maybe even schmooze, but we didn't see anyone there we knew that we could talk to, and neither of us was very good at introducing ourselves to strangers. If Jim Minz was anywhere around, we didn't see him. So we made a strategic withdrawal. So much for the big "publisher's party" opportunity. Maybe for extroverts, but not for us. "Pop" go all the bubbles of talking to authors whose books I like(not like those bubbles contained much in the way of rational conversation on my part anyway).
We made our way down to B.J. & Ann's room instead. The night before, they'd said that Mike Resnick was going to be reading some of his stories there at about 11:00. It was probably closer to 10:30, but there was several people there anyway, so we hung out there. I can't remember who all was there, but some subset of our writer's group complement, at least, so we had people to talk to in a low-pressure kind of way. There were also a couple of women in belly-dancing costumes, whom I had seen around the Con(e.g. in the dealer's room earlier).
Mike arrived in due time, and had three stories to read, two humorous and one serious. One was a Lucifer Jones story, one in another series I forget, with a P.I. in a magic-based world, and the serious one was an African alternate history. They were all pretty good; all recently sold, I believe, too.
And in between the stories there was belly-dancing. They had music, and they obviously had done some practicing. At that point in the evening, it felt highly surreal.
After that, we went back to our hotel(taking the much shorter John Street route, rather than the long, dark and scary Spadina Avenue one)and crashed.
Crawling a little further up the charts:
294. This Mortal Coil: Strength of Strings, from Filigree & Shadow
I have since learned that this song was a cover of a Gene Clark(ex-Byrd)song, but I still like this one better than the original. I've lost my liner notes for this album, so let me do a quick net search to see if I can find out who's singing... Okay, according to this page, it's Dominic Appleton, whoever he is. ...Apparently he's from a band called Breathless, who sounds kind of interesting, have to check them out. Anyway, the song has a wonderful sense of menace, especially from that eerie sound sample at the beginning.
293. Rush: Afterimage, from Grace Under Pressure
A wonderful song about trying to deal with the death of a good friend, and being confronted with memories at every turn. This album is among Rush's best at combining guitars and synthesizers, as evidenced on this song.
When all you've got is lawyers, make lawyerade. --d.
For breakfast I had my semi-usual bowl of Quaker-brand Life cereal. I've been eating that for many years now, as a happy medium between the "healthy" cereals and the "sweet" cereals. Every once in a while I get sick of it, but as long as I switch off with something else, I'm usually okay.
Usually, though, I don't see something black floating in my cereal bowl after I've had a few spoonfuls. Even less frequently so I notice that the black thing has little legs, which are moving to keep it from drowning.
EEEEWWWWW! A BUG! IN MY CEREAL BOWL!
I cannot stand bugs. I cannot deal with bugs. A bug that(it occurred to me later)I came close to putting into my mouth... No. I had a major case of the willies in the hallway while Nicole more-or-less calmly disposed of it, and the former contents of my cereal bowl.
I got out a clean bowl, and a clean spoon, and poured myself another bowl. A few unenthusiastic bites into that one, it occurred to me that a)the bug may not have been alone in the cereal box, b)the bug may have laid eggs or something in the box, and/or c)the bug may have polluted the contents of the box with its feces. Another bowl of cereal went in the garbage/down the drain. And the rest of the box, which luckily wasn't too much. (How much of that had I eaten unawares before now?)
I had some nice toaster waffles instead. Which put me a bit behind, but I didn't want to skip breakfast entirely.
Ew. Bugs. <shudder>
I was planning to continue my Worldcon memoirs sometime soon, but it's been low on my time allocation list. I will, however, fill in a couple of things I forgot to mention in my Thursday coverage.
First of all, when we were talking to Jim Beveridge, he told us about growing up in southern Ontario, and spending his summers working at the amusement park on Bob-Lo Island. This was the same Bob-Lo island that I wrote about last summer, which we tried to visit while down there for my brother's wedding. We had to inform him that these days, rather than hosting an amusement park, it is now an upscale gated island community. But it was interesting to run across it again...
Secondly, I forgot what it was we had been doing between registration and going up to B.J. & Ann's hotel room. A look at the "pocket schedule" would have enlightened me, but I didn't think we'd gone to anything... We had, though, gone to the Spider & Jeanne Robinson musical performance in the ballroom of the Royal York.
I'd seen Spider before, briefly, at ConText '91 in Edmonton. He'd been scheduled for a musical performance then, in one of the con rooms, but decided at some point to sing in the bar, instead. This proved to be a mistake, because the bar was full of people who were not expecting Con programming, and were drinking and smoking and talking instead. And Spider was insufficiently amplified, if at all. So after trying for a few songs to hear him over the roar, we gave up.
This was somewhat better, at least soundwise. Spider is a passable musician, sings pretty well, plays the guitar not too badly. His songwriting skills are also passable. I'm trying not to damn too much with faint praise, but let's face it, Spider is a better SF writer than he is a musician. He's a good SF writer, he's a fair musician. That's all there is to it. His musical tastes also do not intersect with my own that strongly, being more into folk and blues.
But it was an enjoyable session, and the patter was witty--Spider is, admittedly, a pretty good comedian. The seating was a little haphazard--people moved their chairs out onto the dance floor from the tables along the sides. So if you wanted to sit down, then generally you had to get your own chair, then find somewhere to put it in the rough semicircle around the platform Spider was performing from.
I don't think we stayed for the whole performance, either, because Nicole was getting restless by that point...and I was, as I said, less than entranced.
Friday later, I promise.
Racing up the charts:
296. Tragically Hip: New Orleans Is Sinking, from Up To Here
I've always found the Tragically Hip a bit uneven. They are(or were)huge here in Canada, if apparently more of a cult phenomenon elsewhere. This was one of the few songs of theirs that I actually liked right off the bat. The lyrics are, like most of their songs, a little impenetrable, but dark and blurred enough to go with the music of the song.
295. Go Four 3: Death of Love, from Go Four 3
Another song from my favourite obscure independent band of the 80's, this one from their six-song debut EP. It has a brooding feel to it as well, and would probably go nicely with "New Orleans Is Sinking".
We promptly judged antique ivory buckles for the next prize.
By then I had a copy of Open Space, the anthology my story "The New Paranoia Album" was published in. I had heard some of the authors read from their stories at Worldcon, and I actually started reading the book at one of our mass signings. I finished it on the plane trip home. It was pretty good, though I'd have to say that I don't know if I would have picked all the stories that Claude Lalumière, the editor, did. (It'd be fun to edit my own anthology, or magazine, someday, if someone else would do the hard work of actually publishing it.)
When I got home, I pulled out the book Invoking Darkness, third in the "Passing of the Techno-Mages" series. Babylon 5 is the only tie-in fiction I read these days. Jeanne Cavelos's series is nowhere near as good as Peter David's "Centauri" series, or J. Gregory Keyes's "Psi Corps" series, but not too bad. A large chunk of this book, though, comes off as a bit forced when it intersects actual Babylon 5 episodes, and has to match the script while having many more things go on in the background. I can't even remember which bits actually were in real episodes. I also wonder if J. Michael Straczynski had all this stuff figured out when he was writing Season 3 of B5, when much of it might have only come to light during "Crusade". Galen the techno-mage from that series is the main character of these books, you see, and the main climax of this book takes place on Z'ha'dum at the end of Season 3 when Sheridan goes there to face the Shadow. But it's nice to be able to tie off yet another series.
I've spent years trying to relax my reading habits, and I think I've finally succeeded. I used to read books in strict chronological order, then I shifted some up into a "priority" queue, and then I created a number of slots which I read in rotation. Most recently, I've had a system of slots, where one or more books from each slot were on my shelf at any given time, plus some others I felt like reading, and I alternated between reading whatever I wanted in one month and reading the slots I was furthest behind on in the next month.
But with all the Hugo and Aurora reading I've been doing in the last few months, it's all fallen by the wayside, and I find myself in the position of reading more or less what I feel like. Case in point--after the Techno-Mage book, I picked up Lois McMaster Bujold's Komarr. Since Mirror Dance, I've gotten increasingly hooked on Bujold, and the last time I read her, I read Cetaganda and Memory right in a row. Nicole, who's even more into Bujold than I am, has told me more or less what happens in each book.
There's a SF plot in each book, but it's increasingly becoming a backseat to the interpersonal relationships. Komarr, for instance, had a plot involving high-tech sabotage and terrorist plots, but what we were really interested in was Ekaterina Vorsoisson, a newly introduced character who shared POV with Miles Vorkosigan(our hero). Miles has had trouble with his love life for several books now, and I imagine even if I hadn't gotten some spoilers from Nicole, I would've realized quickly that she and Miles had some kind of shared destiny. It was also clear that this would not be resolved in Komarr.
So after I finished that, I went right into the next book, A Civil Campaign. I don't even know if this one has a big SF plot, though there are some signs. The major plot, the campaign of the title, seems to be Miles's campaign to win the hand of Ekaterina, despite her horrible first marriage and recent widowing. But it is enriched by multiple viewpoints--not only Miles and Ekaterina, but also Miles's clone-brother Mark, who is a much edgier character; Mark's girlfriend Kareen Koudelka; Miles's feckless cousin Ivan Vorpatril; and possibly others still to come. There are so many plot elements active right now, it's hard to tell--one of them could push to the forefront. "Intrigue" is the term, I guess. But I know there is a certain amount of happily-ever-after due.
I also just finished going through The Great Hunt, second volume in Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, for my concordance. I might hold off on going straight into The Dragon Reborn. It is fun to reread them, but I'm also chafing at the slow pace. Most of the good stuff starts in Book Four, The Shadow Rising, and let's face it, we're up to ten books now. Of course, I may be finished it before Book Eleven comes out. There are those prequels due next year, though...just to complicate matters.
Back to the ever-faithful countdown entry, waiting patiently for its eventual conclusion:
300. Pete Townshend: Behind Blue Eyes, from Scoop
I like this version much better than the Who version, but then in general I seem to like Pete Townshend better than The Who. Maybe Daltrey's vocals are better suited to the character in the song, who seems to be stuck somewhere between autism and sociopathy, but somehow I like the sparer guitar sound on the Townshend version.
299. Side By Side By Sondheim: Losing My Mind, from Side By Side By Sondheim
This song is from a revue of songs from Stephen Sondheim musicals. At the close of the show, each of the three singers does one solo number, and this is one of those. I don't know the dramatic context, but it seems fairly self-contained, with a housewife wrestling with a passion that doesn't mesh with her domestic life. As a result, it is carried almost entirely by the force of the singer's vocals(I can't remember her name right now, unfortunately--Julie something?), and is nearly transcendent in the way such a song can be.
Can you help me at the center of the three bodies.