This is by far the hugest con I have ever been to, and Thursday was the light day! Over 110,000 people milling around among massive amounts of booths, artists, and famous people. It was, in a word, overwhelming. My son Tim went with me and we're both a little phobic about crowds. We swam around (it's the only way to describe it), and in the process got autographs from Mystery Science Fiction 3000's Mike Nelson
and met the creator of Ghostrider. Also saw the actor who played the Hulk at a comics booth. There were so many booths I wanted to visit, but the crowd was just too daunting. After a while we collapsed on the floor in one of the outer hallways and waited for the signing time.
Made our way to the Bantam booth to find a big crowd waiting for me! Whoo hoo! Among them was our own Billagematurin, dressed as Mardus, with the very impressive and accurate Helm of Seriamaius (tons of Sculpy clay) under her arm.
I must admit, I really enjoyed sneaking up on her and introducing myself. Much squeeing ensued from gathered fans, which was a new and warming experience for me.
What followed was the biggest, best booksigning ever. Bantam gave away 100 free copies of Luck, and lots of people brought their own copies of my various books. Wow! It was so great to meet so many of my readers, and to put faces to screen names in many cases. Thanks also to Marina Martinez for the cute little Sculpy figures of Alec and Seregil. (That's her, to the right of Mardus) They were proudly displayed for the rest of the signing, and are in my office now. I will warn you all, I am awful with names, but I will very probably remember you by face next time we meet. Just the way my brain works.
Tim was suitably impressed, but did point out that it's balanced by the fact that he's seen me in the morning, sitting on the couch in my bathrobe playing the Sims. Keeps me humble. ;-)
At the end, when the crowd dispersed several people wandered by and saw that they'd missed my signing, expressing disappointment, not realising I was still sitting there. I chatted with them, signed a few more copies, and checked the name tags. In one case realized I was talking to R. A. Salvatore! Turns out his wife is a fan. 8-) Very nice guy and much younger than I expected, considering how long he's been around and how many books he has. Also had a nice chat with Chris Golden. Check out his new book "Baltimore" I hear it's fantastic!
Friends Laura Ann Gilman and Cory Doctrow were around somewhere, but finding them proved impossible.
After the signing it was off to the Bantam sales dinner where I had the very great pleasure of sitting with friends Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, who were on an evening's sabbatical from teaching at Clarion. We share a relationship built almost entirely over Bantam dinners, and they are delightful dining companions and very interesting people. Ellen and I have also developed a humorous mutual envy society, since we both get lots of chatter on our respective fan groups about each other. Briefly at the table was also with the creator of Hellboy, which greatly impressed Tim, who is a big fan. Other dining companions included my wonderful editor Anne Groell and my favorite Canadian in the world, her husband author Dave Keck. Also touched base again with Harry Turtledove, but we were at too distant tables for a decent conversation.
All in all, an amazing day, then the long ride home. It's taken me two days to recover. I can't imagine what shape I'd be in if I'd done the whole con. But next year I might try!