Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Autumn/Winter 2003-2004

Some things are true for every worldcon: they have a dealers' room, present the Hugos, and Mike Resnick is there ...



Mike Resnick

Tuesday, August 26: I wasn't looking forward to this day. I hate long drives, and we had rented a minivan so that we could drive to Toronto with octogenarians Mary Martin and Margaret Keifer and also with Debbie Oakes, who was recovering from some fractured vertebrae suffered in a car accident.

We'd rented a 7-passenger minivan after ConJose last year, spent a few days driving around the Monterrey/Carmel area with five passengers, and found it quite crowded. In fact we had to ship some luggage home rather than stuff it into the van. So when I paid for the van Monday night, I noticed that it was parked next to a much larger 8-passenger minivan and wondered aloud rather wistfully how much more it would have cost. The girl at the counter just shrugged, said no one was renting the 8-passenger vans anyway, and gave it to me for no extra charge.

I had spent the prior week making audio cassettes filled with things Carol and I loved that I thought would please at least some of the passengers - the original Second City Players, a number of professionally-read science fiction stories (some of them not even by me), old radio shows, and the like ... so of course the van didn't have a cassette player, and at the last minute I had to hunt up a batch of CDs instead.

We left at 9:15 in the morning, caravanning with Bill Cavin and four other passengers in his minivan. Carol and I had planned to drive in two-hour shifts, but I felt so comfortable I just kept driving, even after we stopped for lunch near Detroit. I was still driving when we reached the Royal York at about 7:15 that night, the longest uninterrupted driving stint I'd ever done. (Carol and I were used to driving four and five hours at a stretch from the days when we showed collies. Every time we'd stop for coffee or lunch or to use the facilities, the dogs would wake up and have to be walked, so we learned to go hours and hours without stopping.)

The Royal York was exactly as I remembered it - a large, elegant lobby, friendly staff, wildly expensive main restaurant, and the smallest rooms this side of my guest closet. We unpacked and then, accompanied by ten other people, we walked a couple of blocks to Shopsy's, which was heralded by all the guide books as the best deli in Toronto. Turned out to be the worst meal we ate all week. Ran into Bob Silverberg and Karen Haber there; Bob and I were still trying to coordinate our schedules at that late date so that we could have our annual lunch together ... but we attacked it with less enthusiasm than usual, since we always try to eat at a deli, and dinner at this one hadn't been encouraging.

CFG (the Cincinnati Fantasy Group) always takes out a hospitality suite at Worldcon, and this year was no different, especially since we had 25 members there. But the suites were so tiny and so overpriced for what they offered that instead we took facing executive bedrooms, each of them capable of holding maybe eight guests on sofa and chairs. In all honesty they were totally inadequate, but the suites the hotel offered for twice the money weren't any better.

I was scheduled to give Janis Ian away at her wedding the next afternoon, and since I'd never met her spouse, I popped over to their room to do so, and stayed to visit for maybe half an hour. Then it was down to the lobby to greet old friends who were starting to arrive, and finally off to bed at a relatively early 2:30.

Wednesday, April 27: We woke up about 8:30 (maybe six hours earlier than usual for me), went down to the Epic -- the hotel's upscale restaurant -- and had breakfast with Pat Snyder and Janis, who were being wed a little later in the day. Then, in the company of some CFGers, we took the subway to the Bata Shoe Museum.

That's right: a museum dedicated to nothing but footwear. And absolutely fascinating. From the earliest caveman foot coverings to the shoes that were made for Chinese women who'd bound their feet, to wooden clogs, to moonwalking boots, the museum was filled with every imaginable kind of shoe. There was a celebrity room where you could see the shoes that Gene Kelly wore when he made "Singing in the Rain", shoes that Astaire and Rogers danced in, Michael Jordan's first pair of Air Jordans, Pierce Brosnan's latest 007 shoes, the memorable boots Elton John wore in Tommy, the shoes Maury Wills wore when he stole his 100th base, a pair of Shaquille O'Neal's size 22's, and hundreds more. There was a room that displayed nothing but the bride's wedding shoes down through the ages and from all across the globe. There was a room with Canadian footwear from prior centuries, mostly made from the skins of animals. And the nice part was you could do the whole place in under two hours.

We took the subway back to the Royal York, got into our flowery shirts (the wedding party was told to dress Hawaiian), and walked a mile to City Hall, where we signed as witnesses and joined a little wedding party composed of Janis and Pat, Carol and me, George R.R. Martin and Parris McBride - and the New York Times, which got wind of it and sent both a reporter and a photographer.

We walked back along a different street, window-shopping all the way, and registered at the convention center. No one tried to stop me from entering the hucksters' room a day early. (Maybe they were desperate for the business; after selling 300 tables at each of the last three Worldcons, Larry Smith was unable to sell even 90 at this one. The art show was even smaller compared to prior renewals.)

Then, at dinnertime, we were joined by the Boston Mafia of Tony and Suford Lewis, Rick Katze, and Paula Leiberman, plus a few CFGers, and we went to the Movenpick Marche, about a block from the Royal York, Fascinating place, with an enormous selection; you visited a little kiosk for each specialty - steaks, seafood, crepes, pizza, whatever - and had whatever you wanted cooked to order, then brought it back to your table. Same with the desserts.

So yeah, I broke my diet, and no, it wasn't by accident. I'd been on it since the first weekend of May -- I started it the day after the Kentucky Derby - and I'd lost 66 pounds by August 26. I knew I couldn't stay on it with the sumptuous meals that (I hoped) the various editors would take me to, so I just made up my mind to go off it for six days. I have to admit that I enjoyed the hell out of those six days; I don't feel even the slightest trace of guilt.

We got back to the hotel at perhaps 8:30, and spent the rest of the night hitting the bid parties to meet our fannish friends, and now and then I'd go down to the bar, grab an iced coffee (I don't drink) and meet my pro friends. (A lot of them don't drink either, but until the pro parties open up each year, most of them hang out in the bar.)

CFG was starting to attract a fannish crowd, but since it was so small and cramped, most of them filed right back out and spent their time at the competing Los Angeles and Kansas City parties, which had enormous suites (and, doubtless, enormous hotel bills.) I wound up spending the last couple of hours of the evening/early morning talking to Joe Siclari, Edie Stern, Jay Kay Klein and Rick Katze in one of the Los Angeles suites. (They had two huge ones and a couple of smaller ones as well, all clustered together.)

Thursday, August 28: We got up at 8:30 again, this time to grab coffee and go to the Toronto Zoo, accompanied by the newlyweds, plus Pat and Roger Sims and some more CFGers. Carol and I are zoo buffs, so much so that we even went to zoos in Kenya and Malawi after touring the game parks - and we both agree that the single most impressive zoo exhibit we've seen in our lifetimes is the gorilla pavilion at the Toronto Zoo. It covers quite a few acres, and is (I hope) a harbinger of things to come at all zoos.

There were a number of other indoor pavilions as well, doubtless so they'd have someplace to display the animals during the brutal Canadian winters, and whoever designed them all was underpaid no matter how high his salary was.

I had hoped to spend the entire day at the zoo, and indeed had told the Program Committee not to schedule me on Thursday. So of course when the preliminary schedule came out (so close to the con that changing it was almost impossible) they had me on two Thursday panels. I told them again that I was going to the zoo and to reschedule me. So they compromised and put me on only one Thursday panel.

I just love the Torcon 3 Program Committee.

We got back at 3:00, at which time I parked the car in the convention lot for $13 Canadian a day, rather than return it to the Royal York, which was extorting $30 a day. Then I went inside and shed my (figurative) fannish beanie and donned my (equally figurative) pro hat for the next three and a half days. I took a quick tour of the tiny art show, spent a little more time in the hucksters' room, and finally went to my 5:00 panel, a totally typical Humor in Science Fiction discussion, made bearable by the presence of Esther Friesner and Tanya Huff.

At six I met Carol and my agent Eleanor Wood - we were celebrating 20 years as Man and Agent, having entered into our licit relationship at the 1983 Baltimore Worldcon -- and we went to dinner at Canyon Creek, a surprisingly good basement chop house somewhere along the two-block walk from the Royal York to the con center. And I did something at dinner I have never done at any meal at any convention in my life: I signed a contract right there on the linen tablecloth. (It was for a new Widowmaker book, plus reprints of the first three, and Eleanor had been negotiating it for a few weeks, but it was still a unique experience to actually sign a contract at a con rather than just negotiating one or promising to sign it when it was ready. Made me feel like a Real Writer. I hope no one minds all the salad dressing on Page 4.)

Then it was back to the hotel. I think they had a Meet The Pros party after opening ceremonies, but no one officially announced it and like most pros I never go to it anyway. This was the night that Josepha Sherman and I discovered the Charlotte suite, where they served the most delicious chocolate fondue you can imagine. Just about all the bid parties - Charlotte, Seattle, Los Angeles, Columbus, Kansas City, and Japan -- were open, so were the con suite and the CFG rooms, and there were a number of private parties as well, which is to say that by Thursday night the convention was going full speed. (The SFWA Suite didn't open until about 2:00 AM, but it was just around the corner from my 7th floor room, and because of the convenience I found myself visiting it a little more often than usual.)

I kept running into Bob Silverberg, and we got so much visiting done that we decided to put off lunch for a year and try again at Boston, when our schedules might mesh a little better. (I'd offered to drag myself out of bed on yet another morning, but he considered the prospect of facing me at 8:00 AM before I'd injected any coffee into a vein and promptly -- and wisely -- decided against it.)

Friday, August 29: At noon I had a panel on Travel As A Research Method. It consisted of Jo Sherman, Elizabeth Moon, Samantha Ling, and a moderator, a young girl who defined herself as a writer though she has yet to sell a word, and who completely dominated the discussion despite her lack of travel or writing experience.

When the panel was over I wandered over to the huckster room, met Stephen Pagel of Meisha Merlin Press, and went to lunch with him and his art director. They're in the process of transforming themselves from being a small press to the big leagues - they were the ones who bought the new Widowmaker book - and they couldn't have given me a nicer dessert then when they told me that Donato Giancola, who had painted the original three Widowmaker covers for Bantam and whose work I love, had agreed not only to paint the cover to the new Widowmaker book but to do brand-new paintings for the three Widowmaker reprints as well. (I named a star after him in the third book. I wonder if that had anything to do with his decision?)

After lunch I ran into Nick DiChario and his parents, spent a little time visiting with them, and then Nick joined me as I went off to do my 4:00 PM reading. I'd told a number of people that I would be reading "Travels With My Cats", which I think is one of the two or three best stories out of the couple of hundred I've written, and I was really disappointed to see the small turnout I got - maybe six or seven people, tops. When I left the room at 5:00, I bumped into B.J. Galler-Smith and Ann Marston, who had said earlier in the day that they were going to come to the reading, and asked them why they had skipped it. They insisted that they hadn't skipped it, I had, that they sat in a room with maybe 40 or 50 people waiting for me to show up and read and I never did.

OK. Originally the Program Committee scheduled me for a 30- minute reading. I told them that was unacceptable, that whichever of my upcoming stories I read, I needed more than 30 minutes. So on Sunday, a day and a half before I left, they e-mailed me that I was to read from 4:00 to 5:00 in room 206D. I never thought about it again. But on Friday morning, the committee, as it did every day, passed out a correction sheet with all the new venues for the program, and on that sheet I was to read in some other room. Basically, if you got your information from the convention's web page, you went to the room where I read. If you got it from the daily correction sheet - the committee handed out the pocket program on Thursday and immediately told everyone to ignore it - then you went to the room where I didn't read.

I just love the Torcon 3 Program Committee.

At 5:00 I went over to the Stars autographing. Stars is the major anthology Janis Ian and I co-edited for DAW Books, and we had a special signing with all the authors who were in attendance. It was the first time all weekend I'd managed to see Joe Haldeman or Rob Sawyer, but we didn't have any time to visit because there was a seemingly endless line of people wanting those books signed. (It stopped only when every last huckster ran out of copies.) And, since it involved Janis Ian, two Toronto papers and a Toronto TV station sent people to cover it, and even Publisher's Weekly sent someone to write it up. I usually give out a couple of interviews at Worldcon; at this one I gave out 6 to the press and 2 to television, and only one didn't lead off with either "How did you meet ***Janis Ian***?" or "What's ***Janis Ian*** really like?"

The session broke up at about 6:30. I went back to the Royal York, met Carol, and we went down to the DAW suite, where we joined Betsy Wollheim, Sheila Gilbert, and everyone who had worked on Stars, including my good friend Marty Greenberg (who was the guy who actually sold the project to DAW Books.) When we were all assembled we walked through the underground mall a couple of blocks (I read somewhere that it's seven miles long), emerged in some skyscraper or other, took the elevator to the top floor (the 54th, as I recall), and entered Canoe, which, if it isn't the finest restaurant in Toronto, is surely in the top three. Best meal we had all weekend, and while Carol spent most of her time visiting with Betsy, Marty and I put our balding heads together and worked out a number of projects - most of them, surprisingly, having nothing to do with anthologies - that we plan to do together. (He had inadvertently left his medication back in Green Bay, not surprisingly didn't feel all that well as the weekend progressed, and left the con a day early. I heard from him the day after we got home, and he's fine now.)

We got back to the Royal York a couple of minutes before 11:00, just time enough for me to get to our room and pick up an envelope that contained three of my upcoming stories. You see, when I thought I was only getting half an hour to read, I made an arrangement to do a private reading in B.J.'s and Ann's suite at 11:00 PM Friday. I even contacted the Babes For Bwana Harem Division (which is to say, Julie Mandala and Linda Donahue, the belly dancers who regularly perform at the Babes For Bwana parties and at my autograph sessions) and got them to agree to serve as halftime entertainment between my stories. And just because the Program Committee relented and gave me an hour (well, actually, they gave me two hours, both of them at 4:00 on Friday), I saw no reason to cancel the reading or the dancing.

And for a private reading, I'd have to say it was pretty public. I think at one time we jammed about 35 people into that suite, and the belly dancers certainly kept them there between stories. We finished at about 1:00 AM, and I stopped by Pat and Roger Sims' room, where Leah Zeldes was throwing a party to celebrate her 30th year in fandom.

Then I went up to the Tor party. It still had quite a crowd, but both my publisher, Tom Doherty, and my long-time Tor editor, Beth Meacham, had already left. Still, I got to see a lot of friends I hadn't connected with yet, and pick up a couple of assignments to write stories for upcoming anthologies, and I was pleased to see that my jacket to The Return of Santiago and my daughter's jacket to The White Dragon were both prominently displayed on one of the walls.

The rest of the night was just a matter of making the rounds of the 6 bid parties, the Tor party, the SFWA Suite, and CFG. I found Walter Jon Williams, who's the head of SFWA's Anthology Committee, and volunteered to work on it. (I think my exact words were: "Can I join your gang?") He said I could if President Catherine Asaro okayed it, and since we're old friends and collaborators, I knew she would...but I had a chance to ask her five minutes later, because as I was walking from one party to another at about three in the morning, I passed by her room, and was confronted by our gorgeous president in her nightgown. Some noisy group had awakened her and she was standing rather groggily in the doorway, trying to figure out what had happened - so I took the opportunity to volunteer, and she took the opportunity to mutter an affirmative before going back to bed. I seemed to continually run into members of the Resnick Listserv - B.J., Ann, Toby Buckell, John Teehan, Guy and Rosy Lillian, a number of others - and finally toddled off to bed at about 5 in the morning.

Saturday, August 30: I got to sleep late - well, late for a Worldcon, anyway - for the second day in a row. Skipped the SFWA meeting as usual, woke up at 11:15, and made it to Larry Smith's table for my noon signing, where the belly dancers were waiting for me. It was a repeat of the last couple of years. For 20 minutes I thought I'd made a mistake; they drew hundreds of people, but everyone took photos and no one bought books. Then they began buying, and again I think Larry did about $450 to $500 worth of Resnick sales in my allotted hour.

We treated the newlyweds -- Pat and Janis - to lunch, and then I joined a very small and informal meeting of the anthology committee in the Royal York's lobby. They've got some nice projects coming up, not the least of which is an anthology of translations of foreign sf stories that Jim Morrow is overseeing.

At 4:00 I went to my kaffeeklatsch, half-expecting to find that the venue had been changed, but a bunch of people were there and we had a pleasant hour. I passed out signed cover flats to a number of upcoming books, signed trading cards from Chicon VI - I still have maybe 200 of them left - and answered questions about current and forthcoming projects.

Then I met Carol and Beth Meacham for dinner at Epic, the hotel's very fine and even more expensive restaurant. Beth's another one I talked into the Medifast diet; she's lost 50 pounds in 3 months and changed her hair style, and I literally walked right by her without recognizing her. Her husband is down over 70 pounds in the same time period. This is some diet, let me tell you. Then it was off to the Hugo ceremonies. Spider Robinson did a much better Toastmaster job here than he had done in Orlando back in 1992, and the movie excerpts were thankfully only about 30 seconds each, rather than the interminable ones they tend to show at these things. Rob Sawyer had a night to remember: his Illegal Alien won the Seiun (the Japanese Hugo) for Best Translated Novel, and then, about an hour later, his Hominids won the Hugo for Best Novel. I'll be writing the ceremony up in detail for Chronicle, and the results are available all over the internet, so there's no sense going into them here. There were no major surprises: Gardner Dozois won the Gardner Dozois Award (Best Editor), Locus won the Locus Award (Best Semiprozine), Bob Eggleton won the Bob Eggleton Award (Best Artist), and Dave Langford won the Dave Langford Award (Best Fan Writer).

Then it was off to the parties. Most of the bid parties were closed, except for Columbus and Glasgow, since the votes had already been counted (and the 2006 Worldcon was won by Los Angeles, where the Anaheim Hilton remains the best party hotel on the Worldcon circuit - as opposed to the best overall hotel, which is Chicago's Hyatt). Ace gave a huge blast right after the Hugos, Boston hosted the annual Hugo Losers Party, Glasgow held a party, Calgary (which is hosting the 2005 Westercon) had a very nice party, and the ASFA (the American Science Fiction Artists guild) had a pleasant and reasonably uncrowded suite. I did a little business here and there, and went to bed at about 5:30 AM.

Sunday, August 31: I had asked the Program Committee not to schedule me before noon. Ever. So of course they gave me a 10:00 AM panel on Sunday, something titled "A United Africa", which is somewhat less likely to occur than, say, riding a flying pig from Cincinnati to Minsk. There were a couple of Africans on the panel, along with Steve Stirling, and everyone agreed that it was an asinine proposition. For this I had to walk over to the convention center on four hours' sleep.

I just love the Torcon 3 Program Committee.

When the panel was done, I ran into CFGer Jeff Calhoun and we wandered over to one of the coffee stands, where I got my morning dose of caffeine.

Then I went to my official autograph session (i.e., no belly dancers, plus it was late in the con, why reasons why I had less books to sign than at Larry's table). Carol and I had hoped to have lunch with Jo Sherman, but I was on display at 10, noon, 3 and 4, and she was on panels at 11, 1 and 2. I hung around the hucksters room (why do I spend so much time in the hucksters room when I buy so few books these days? Easy. It's where you find readers as opposed to watchers), signed from 2:00 to 3:00 at the SFWA table, and at 3:00 I showed up for a panel entitled "Dying is Easy; Comedy is Hard", with Connie Willis, Terry Pratchett, and Esther Friesner. I think there have been maybe 70 funny books published in the science fiction field in the past 20 years, and the four of us are probably responsible for half of them. We drew a huge audience - my guesstimate was 500 to 600 people, the most I've ever seen for a panel - and had a great time being funny rather than instructive.

Then, the moment the panel was over, I had to show up for another one, the Kelly Freas Retrospective Slide Show, with Joe Haldeman and Howard Waldrop. Kelly was supposed to have been there, but he broke a hip the week before Worldcon, it required surgery, and he had to stay home - a hell of a way to spend your Worldcon Guest of Honorship - and Alex Eisenstein took his place.

So there we were, all ready to do the slide show. Only one problem: no slides.

Since all of us are Kelly's friends and have known him for decades, we decided to kill some time by telling mostly funny stories about him while a committee member went looking for the slides. He returned after we'd ad-libbed for about 40 minutes to announce that he couldn't find any slides and it wasn't the committee's fault, that we panelists were supposed to supply the slides. It was the first any of us had heard of it, and indeed I doubt that any of us except perhaps Alex possessed even a single slide of Kelly's artwork. So much for the Kelly Freas Retrospective Slide Show.

I just love the Torcon 3 Program Committee.

We met Steve Saffel, my editor at del Rey, in the Royal York and then took a cab to Toronto's Greek Town, where we had dinner at Ouzeri, which had been touted to us by Rob Sawyer and other residents as the best Greek restaurant in town. I can't imagine there were any better ones; Ouzeri was just a cut below Chicago's Greek Islands, which is the best there is.

During the meal Steve mentioned that Eidos, which owns the Lara Croft character, had approved my manuscript - I'd done the first novel for the game, as opposed to the movie, franchise during the summer; it's set it Africa and Paris and is known unofficially around the del Rey office as "The Slightly Fictionalized Resnick Travel Diaries" - and that the book would be coming out in December. Evidently the numbers -- which is to say, the pre-publication orders -- look very good, always music to an author's ears. Steve also told me that his grandfather was Armand Denis, the African traveler/adventurer/zoo-animal- collector. I have some of Denis' books, and more to the point, I have a DVD of his rarest film, Wheels Across Africa, which was made in 1936. I'm having it copied for Steve, who's never seen it.

The Science Fiction Book Club held its 50th anniversary party on Sunday night, and since I've sold them so many books I felt obligated to attend -- and wound up enjoying it more than any other party all weekend. Somewhere around 1:00, as I was making the rounds and dropped in for the third or fourth time, I found myself with SFBC's Andy Wheeler, Jo Sherman, Jim Minz (my daughter's new editor at Tor), and former SFWA President Paul Levinson. Paul decided to tell a joke; none of us would let him get two lines out before criticizing it. He was still trying to finish it at 2:30, when I left to check on the other parties once more.

One of those other parties was in the SFWA suite, where Asimov's and Analog threw a party for Stan Schmidt, who was celebrating his 25th year as Analog's editor. Very crowded party, very good cake.

Baen Books also threw a party, hosted by Toni Weisskopf and, in Jim Baen's absence, by Bill Fawcett, with whom I've done a number of projects in the past. We wanted to talk, but it was too crowded the first few times I dropped in. Finally, at about 2:45 in the morning, we were able to put our heads together in a corner without being overheard and actually got some business done.

I kept making the circuit of the pro parties, plus Los Angeles, Columbus, and CFG until it was almost 6:00. Then I went to bed and read for a bit, and finally fell asleep when the sun started shining into the room.

Monday, September 1: Carol had remarked a couple of times during the year that she hasn't enjoyed recent Worldcons as much as the Good Old Days when I was just a fan and didn't have to do any business, that for the past ten or twelve Worldcons it seemed the only time she saw me once the con started was at dinner, so I made up my mind that at this Worldcon we'd spend more time together. As I mentioned earlier, we went to the Shoe Museum (and the wedding) on Wednesday and the zoo on Thursday. And since the Program Committee had evidently figured I would be ready to kill them all by Sunday night, they left me totally unscheduled on Monday. So we had lunch together, just the two of us, and then, joined by Beth Meacham and a couple of CFGers, we took the Hippo Tour. This consisted of getting into an amphibious bus, spending an hour or so riding past all the most interesting sights and buildings in Toronto while a guy with a microphone at the front of the bus gave us some history and anecdotes about what we were seeing, and then plunging into the lake, where the bus became a boat and chugged around the shoreline. Fascinating trip; I wish we'd taken it earlier in the con.

Carol and I are Honorary DiCharios. Nick and I have collaborated on so many stories that we actually produced a book of them a couple of years ago (Magic Feathers: The Mike and Nick Show, if anyone cares), and Carol and I couldn't be more fond of Nick's parents if they were our own. As soon as we learned that they were coming to Torcon, we set Monday night aside to have dinner with them, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. (Nick's dad is also going on The Diet. I seem to be a walking advertisement for Medifast, so I had Ralph Roberts, who not only publishes Alexander Books and Farthest Star, but is also a Medifast representative, send me about 40 business cards as a diet rep, not a publisher. Anyone who asked about my weight loss and expressed any interest in going on the diet themselves got a card; I came home with only 6 left.)

There wasn't much in the way of parties. The con suite was too crowded to turn around in, so a few of us went up to B.J.'s and Ann's suite (where I had done the reading on Friday night) and spent some time there. Then, as with just about every Worldcon, I wound up in what passed for the CFG suite, stayed until 5 in the morning, and went to bed just before the alarm clock went off.

Tuesday, September 2: I dragged myself out of bed about 7:30, helped Carol finish packing, grabbed some coffee, retrieved the van, drove back to the Royal York, picked up our passengers, and drove home. Took about 10 hours, including pit stops and lunch.

Came home to learn that our 17-year-old cat hadn't died while boarding at the vet's (we half-expected her to). There were over 700 e-mails waiting for me, a pile of mail about 25 inches high, and sitting on my desk as I write this is the little notebook I always take to Worldcons. In the front it has the room numbers of all my friends and professional contacts. Shortly after that it has a list of all the party and bidding suites, then a list of private parties in a code no one else can read (just in case I misplace the book and someone picks it up), then a list of all my panel and autograph assignments as well as a list of all my luncheon and dinner engagements, followed by a list of the dozen or so restaurants, with phone numbers and addresses, that we've culled from various guide books.

The very last thing in it is a list of all the things I've promised to send editors, writers and fans. As I look at it right this moment, I still have 27 things to send, so this seems a proper time to close.

Was it a good Worldcon? Not very.

Did I enjoy it anyway? I always do.

Am I looking forward to the next one? Like a kid looks forward to Christmas.


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