Wednesday, November 5, 2008

World Fantasy in Calgary...

...was brilliant. It was only my second World Fantasy and it has become my favourite convention.

I haven't made any pictures myself, so I will just point to the good people who have done so:

Laura Anne Gilman's pictures;

John Picacio's pictures (and blog post);

Ellen Datlow's pictures;

Lou Anders
's pictures (and blog post);

Kathryn Cramer's pictures;

John Klima
's pictures;

Marjorie Liu's pictures (and blog post);

Some of the many, many highlights included:

  • Unfortunately missed the Hades party at Wednesday evening because my flight arrived late, but the buzz in the Hyatt hotel bar was fine;
  • A relaxed lunch with David Levine & Kate Yule;
  • The Queensland Writers party;
  • The Johncon/Nightshade party in Jeremy's room, and going to a liquor store with Alan Beatts to get more booze when it ran out (and then needing to be subtly reminded by Alan that when Jeremy strips he might be indicating that the party is over, around 5.30 in the morning);
  • Doing the "Fantasy 'Zines Around the World Panel" with a monumental hangover but liking it nevertheless;
  • Great lunch with Gordon Van Gelder, Sean McMullen and Jenny Blackford afterwards the panel;
  • the Borderlands Scotch single malt tasting party (absolutely awesome! Both the whiskies and the party);
  • Having dinner with Diana Rowland on Halloween: she was dressed up as Sarah Palin and it took me a while -- we don't celebrate Halloween in Holland -- to realise just why she did that;
  • The first few days I had problems getting my bar bills paid: that is, the moment I went away for a few minutes (to go to the toilet, to talk with yet another fabulous person) and came back to get my check I found that somebody else had already closed the tab for me. I sometimes protested to be told not to worry about it. Then the last few days I made certain that I picked up a number of tabs from people -- often against their protests -- because good karma needs to go around and around;
  • Dinner with Marc Gascoigne (now Angry-Robot publisher), Sean and Catherine McMullen and Mike Gallagher: probably the best conversation I had in Calgary;
It was fantastic to meet so many people I didn't know personally (but was, in many cases, well aware of) like Shawna McCarthy, Daniel Abraham (David! Next time I'll buy Mexican lunch or dinner), Jenny Blackford, Robert Hoge, Justin Ackroyd, Shaun Tan, Nora Jemison, Steven Mills, Lawrence Connolly, Laura Anne Gilman, Jemma EveryHope, Nikki Kimberling, Rob Shearman (who might have been a wee bit shy initially, but looked like a veteran as the con progressed), Colleen Anderson, and several people whose face (and function) I remember, but whose name I forgot: I ask forgiveness.

And the many very good to good friends (and I'm not even trying to pretend this list is complete): Lou Anders, John Picacio, Paul Cornell (thanks for introducing me to Rob), Karen Newton, Bill Willingham (you should be working...;-), Chris Roberson & Allison Baker, Mary Robinette Kowal, Aliette de Bodard, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Doselle Young, Gordon Van Gelder, JJA (this anthology is METAL!), Marjorie Liu (next dessert will be on me), Jeremy Lassen (even if the 'Shade faded for a little while on Saturday evening...;-), Jim Minz & Jay Caselberg (don't mention the 'better' name tags), Ellen Datlow, Eileen Gunn, Jonathan Strahan, Garth Nix, Alan Beatts & Jude Feldman, Amelia Beamer & Liza Groen Trombi, Todd Lockwood, Kay Kenyon, Diana Rowland (creepy Halloween costume alright, and I'm glad I didn't look like her running mate...;-), Marc Gascoigne, Sean McMullen & Catherine McMullen (what not to do in Venice), David Anthony Durham, Steven Erikson, Rani Graf (I am finally remembering your name: so alcohol does not destroy braincells...;-), Christian Dunn & Mark Newton (obviously...;-), Graham Joyce, Daryl Gregory, John Klima & Mark Teppo, Adrienne Loska (good luck with the documentary!), Tony Richards, Farah Mendlesohn, Mark Rich, Leslie Howle, Walter Jon Williams, David Levine & Kate Yule, Ken Scholes & Jay Lake, Heather Lindsley (say hi to Al Golden --ehrm -- Robertson).

My profound apologies beforehand for all the great people I've met but forget to mention here, and all the great moments that I'm either skipping or temporarily (I hope) not remembering.

World Fantasy is the best!

Imaging President Barack Obama

First (and most important of all): many, many congratulations with President Barack Obama! To many of my American friends, and the many outside of it as well. Too many to mention, and you know who you are.

(I returned from World Fantasy on November 4, and was so jetlagged I couldn't sleep. Which was good, as I had planned to follow the US elections live anyway, but now I had no problems staying awake [I had those today]. At 05.30 am or so Dutch time McCain gave his concession speech. I feel so happy I nearly cried, and so many in the US must have felt -- probably still feel -- much, much happier than I do.)

Back in May 2005 I received a story from Ed Morris in the IZ slushpile called "Imagine" (Paul Di Filippo had urged him to try Interzone with it, and too good effect, and my belated thanks here). I forwarded the story to my (then) Interzone colleagues and Andy Cox published it in Interzone #200, on September 2005.

The last paragraph of the story is as follows:

"Well, we would have been denied our President Barack Obama, who just allowed me back into the States a week ago Tuesday. About him, at least, I have no room to bitch."

My question to the blogging masses is: does anybody know of fiction (not non-fiction) that imagined a President Barack Obama that was published before September 2005?

As a second query: what might be the first story (or novel) that imagined a black President of the USA?