This was a relaxed walk in the park compared to Balticon. I really enjoyed seeing people I know and meeting new people, and especially introducing my dear friend Caro to other people I know and like, including a much more rested Neil Gaiman than I saw three weeks ago.
Caro and I picked Neil up from the airport on Friday, by which I mean that I arrived at the airport a couple hours before Neil and worked on my laptop in the airport until he got there, and Caro picked us up outside. Because I stayed in the terminal after I arrived, I could meet Neil at the gate, which was fun. I got praised for the efficiency of walking up to him as he started to call me. :)
We took him to the Courtyard Marriott and once he was settled I handed him over to Liza Trombi and the Locus folks to go to dinner. Neil was very excited because they were going to Wild Ginger for dinner and a fan in LA had referred him to this restaurant and given him the name of the sommelier, who was a good friend of his. I heard later that Neil, as recommended, asked for this fellow by name and that when he came over he recognized Neil at once and took the dinner party in hand for the meal, selecting their food and bringing them a great deal of wine. Since Charles M. Brown of Locus is something of a patron or mentor figure to Neil, he particularly enjoyed watching Charles relax into this experience and get pampered.
While Neil enjoyed his dining treat, Caro and I went to her house so I could greet her husband and new baby Samantha, and then we went to their favorite mexican restaurant. At 8 we were back downtown for the SFWA cocktail reception.
It turns out I don't know many West coast authors, which added to the pleasure of running into Adam and Betsy Stemple at the reception. It was fun listening to Betsy and Caro exchange stories about mothers and mothers-in-law. Neil introduced a showing of his Short Film About John Bolton, and as he said in his journal, it was fun watching with an audience who mostly knew nothing about it. They laughed more than I would have expected. After the reception we went back to the hotel and a group of us hung out in the hotel bar -- I got the chance to meet David Marusek, and also enjoyed the company of maudelynn, David G. Hartwell, Gardner Dozois, Mark R Kelly, editor of Locus Online, and Liza Trombi, also of Locus.
David G. Hartwell and I got into a discussion about the changes in book distribution companies and how they are hurting the industry, a turn the conversation took after I brought up AASFA's new Books to Schoolkids program, and we went from there into when SF captures its audience (before the age of twelve, though not all are retained, according to David) and where (used to be partly through book spinners in drugstores, and the like).
I was really glad Caro was there to drive us home at the end of the evening... I turned into pumpkin after a long day of travel, which had, come to think of it, followed another long day and much travel in my return home from Traverse City. I'll write about Saturday in a separate post.