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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Ghost of WorldCon Past

As I get ready to head down to San Antonio for LoneStarCon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention, some reminiscences of LoneStarCon 2 in 1997...

First and foremost, having WorldCons in Texas is good!  Both times in the life of JABberwocky that I've gone to San Antonio for a WorldCon, I have had a Hugo nominee on the ballot.  In 1997, it was Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population for Best Novel, and this year Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul for Best Novella.  I have to confess I wasn't expecting a win in 1997.  The competition was amazing, with Kim Stanley Robinson winning and novels by Lois McMaster Bujold and Robert J. Sawyer as well as Bruce Sterling to split the Texas vote.  (Several years later when Elizabeth was a Nebula finalist for Speed of Dark, I was rather more optimistic and told her at breakfast the morning of that I felt she has as good a chance as anyone and better have a speech ready, which was good advice!)  I'm not as up on short fiction as I used to be and can't handicap the field as easily this year, but I feel Brandon Sanderson has a good shot at winning for Emperor's Soul.

JABberwocky was very different in 1997.  It was just me.  In the early years of JABberwocky, I made just enough to get by and to have a little bit above break-even that I could afford to go to a WorldCon.  Now, there are six people at the agency, and I won't have to watch my pennies on the trip quite the same way.

A good example:  in 1997, I walked to LaGuardia to catch my flight, a little over four miles.  I also stumbled in the median crossing Astoria Blvd., broke my glasses and had to spend my earliest hours in San Antonio going to get them fixed.  And then continued for many years to walk to LaGuardia, without incident.  This year, I will take a car service.  In part because I now live a mile further away, in part because I will have a heavier bag since I will be gone longer.  But in no small part, because my time is now as valuable to me as my money, and it's a lot harder to justify walking to the airport.

There are some drawbacks, however.  In 1997, I didn't have a lot of clients at the convention.  I was able to take some time to sightsee, such as the sightseeing is in San Antonio.  I absconded to the movie theatre in the RiverCenter mall to see GI Jane.  This year, anything that I do like that, I'm going to have to do on the days before or after the convention gets underway.  I've got many clients to meet.  I've got a group of 20 for the JABberwocky dinner, which is the kind of event I never could have afforded in 1997.  I have an Important Dinner with an Important Client, his Brilliant Editor & Major Publisher.  Back in 1997, I wasn't Important Enough for such things.

In 1997, I was excited that I would get to place a first-time visit to a Borders!  Now, I will reluctantly try and get to the local B&Ns, just kind of because, and am instead saving my excitement because I might be able to pay first-time visits to two Whole Foods Markets.

In 1997, Eos had a big soiree at some restaurant on the Riverwalk to celebrate the arrival of Eos.  Now, Eos is Voyager, and if they are having a party, no one told me.

In 1997, there was a Bantam Books party at a Country Club.  It was outside of town and they hired vans to take people there.  I was expecting it to be in the 18th Hole restaurant thing at a Country Club.  Instead, vanloads of New Yorkers got out of the bus and discovered to their surprise that the "Country" in this club was country music.  This year, Bantam Spectra Del Rey Ace Roc DAW are having a combined party, the first major joint event of all the newly merged sf/f imprints.

I met Adam-Troy Castro on the plane out.  We ultimately became author and agent.

Those are some of my major impressions of the 1997 trip.  It will be interesting to see in 16 years what lasting impressions and memories I have of LoneStarCon 3.

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