Personally: Observations

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Worldcon: Day 3

The third day of Worldcon was jam-packed with events, from a reading by George to the Brotherhood without Banners Human Chess Match and private party in the evening.

The morning started, for us, with breakfast with George, Parris, and our editor on the new companion book project, Anne Groell. We met at the Cafe Oasis at the Hilton and discussed some of the pressing details of the project. We can’t get too much into it, but I think we can say some things for certain. First, the book is intended to be published after A Dance with Dragons, so its not coming out this year, whatever one may hope. ;) It will be loaded with art, a good amount of it original. It will definitely have a who’s who of characters. It will open with a historical overview of the setting. There may be a Targaryen family tree, at least, and possibly more. There will be heraldry. And, of course, it will rock. ;) We will commence working on it in September, once we get back to Sweden and catch up on our sleep.

Following the breakfast, we went to George’s reading, details of which we soon hope to include in the So Spake Martin collection. It was Jon’s first chapter, and was really just excellent to hear it. Interesting questions were asked afterwards. Following the reading, many of us decamped to an early prep session for the chess match. Linda and I departed briefly to freshen up and collect costumes and returned to do the process of sorting through a huge (HUGE) collection of costume jewellery provided by Ghost’s Companion (thanks!) which had most of the girls very excited (Linda, in particular, and she kept trying to find pieces for the guys too). And then it was time to change. The ladies were stunning, of course, and the guys ... well, they were game. ;) Including me, in my specially-sewn Red Viper costume made by Linda. It was, actually, quite popular. ;) We walked together from the hotel to the convention centre (no one who was in costume was very interested in walking that stretch on their own), and we found the chess board getting setup when we arrived and Daniel Abraham waiting for George (who did ultimately show up on time). There was a pretty large crowd. We were short a pawn, so we got a volunteer from the audience (thanks, Sam!) and started with George taking the Dornish side (he just couldn’t resist the beauteous Sandsnakes, not to mention our Arianne, Ellaria Sand, and seneschal) and Daniel handling Highgarden.

To begin with, to my eye, Dorne opened a little shakily, as George had to get back into the skills he hadn’t practiced competitively in 20 years. One of the first casualties was Dorne’s knight, Trev “Darkstar” Dayne, who cut himself in the dark (and was promptly avenged by yours truly, who accidentally _actually_ wounded the pawn in question; oops!) I don’t remember all the details, but some of the highlights were two of the Sandsnakes carrying out a raid across the Marches to rob a Highgarden pawn of his beer, Ellaria Sand (aka Linda) sauntering up and down the board (she was a rook) and causing merry havoc to Daniel Abraham’s well-laid plans, the vigor with which the Highgarden pawns acted out their deaths, and finally our victory as Mace Tyrell’s throat was cut when Daniel finally conceeded victory. Everyone got a chance to move, so that was great.

Pictures were taken, and the chess match was filmed—hopefully at some point the footage will be made available. We decamped to get out of costumes, but not before Parris and Linda insisted that I had to wear it for our party that night. What can one do? Linda worked so hard to on it that we just had to share it. But before it was time for the evening’s private party, we went back to the convention centre (in regular clothing) to squeeze in some panel-going. The panel we ended up selecting was Writing: The Long and the Short of It, moderated by Kate Elliott and featuring Nancy Kress, Ellen Kushner, William F. Wu and (I think he was present, at least) Nick DiChario. We came in a little late, but what we heard of it was quite interesting. The panel discussed why (and if) some people have a greater facility for short stories than novels and vice versa, and how the length of a story affects how you write it and what you can put in it.

The general feeling seemed to be that most writers are better at one or the other format, and that the advice to learn writing by writing short stories really isn’t any good for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with the medium. Some good recommendations for writing books were made (including Kate Wilhelm’s Storyteller, which ended up winning the Hugo for best related book) and lots of interesting points were brought up about different writing approaches. Towards the end, Linda asked a question about whether they felt that sf is more suited to short stories than fantasy, since it seems there are many more idea-based sf short stories whereas fantasy short stories often consist of treatments of existing materials, such as fairy tales. I think most of the panellists leaned towards this being true in general, though it was noted that there are of course exceptions to this as well.

Following this panel, we did something to pass the time until we were supposed to get changed for the parties, but I cannot recall exactly what. We may have visited the dealer’s room some more, and I know we popped up to the suite to see if they needed any help. They didn’t, and the place already looked stunning. Everyone (especially Steve/Aegon, who I gather provided a lot of the material and set preparation know-how) had done a _tremendous_ job on the decor of the party suite. Seriously. Easily the best looking party suite. And having seen it (the Dornish theme was strong), I was once again prodded by Linda to get into my costume again, as she thought it would fit in so nicely. So, we went and changed, and when we got back the party was in full swing. We had to turn away many, many people who wanted to try out our great party, and even so we still had too many people around to manage to talk to them all. George held court at various parts of the evening, discussing all sorts of matters, from Jack Vance (he still remembers the names of the Demon Princes) to Worldcon bids (Denver in 2008 won, to just about everyone’s surprise). At first, the trivia was supposed to have happened that evening, but it ended up getting too late for it, especially as George sent the wannabe knights out on a lengthy quest that kept them away until well after Linda and I had had to get back to our hotel. We still need to work on being able to party to early in the morning, but we had a great time even so.

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