Sunday, February 16, 2014

Boskone 2014 Recap - Part 1 (Friday)

Sometimes I come home from a convention tired. No, let me restate that: I usually come home from a convention tired. After all, I've stayed up late two or three nights in a row preparing, I've driven into a strange city or for many hours, I've lugged books and vending setups, and I've walked miles back and forth between my hotel room, event rooms, and my car. And then I don't always eat full meals, sleep less on a strange bed, and either eat the wrong foods or have one too many glasses of wine or cups of coffee.

Despite all of that, I returned home from Boskone today feeling great.

Just as I want to do an investigation when cons go wrong, I now find myself investigating why this one went so right.

Let's start on Friday. I managed to get the day off work. That's a big plus. I wasn't thinking of work-related projects, I wasn't rushing out of the house into rush-hour traffic. Instead I was sitting on a commuter train into the city, listening to Mur Lafferty's "I Should Be Writing" podcast while gazing out at the beautiful snow-covered winter tableau.

I checked in and put everything away before registration or vendor setup even started; no rushing in at 7, late to the game, apologizing that I couldn't help.I helped set up the Broad Universe table with Elaine Isaak and Justine Graykin and met a Broad new to Boskone, Jill Shultz, and her husband. Okay, so I wasn't feeling guilty and I got to meet new people. Score one on that.

I was able to attend a panel when panels began at 5:00 —— a first for me —— on The Fine Art of Murder with Dana Cameron, Leigh Perry, and Charlaine Harris, moderated by Vincent O'Neil. O'Neil did a great job of moderating, something I saw repeated throughout the convention and that I heard others praise over the weekend. Did Boskone send out guidelines for moderating? Did this crop of moderators just remember to do their homework? Was it just because they were blessed with a panel of professionals? I don't know, but the panel (and audience) were excellent.

And how does mystery/murder fit in with an SF convention? It made perfect sense to me, and maybe to others, too, because the next panel I attended was the Blurred Lines panel, which discussed how the lines between genres are becoming more blurred. Again moderated by Vincent O'Neil, this panel included Joshua Bilmes (JABberwocky Literary Agency), editor Stacey Friedberg, and writer Paul G. Tremblay. In the panel they discussed both how genre categorization helps (helps readers discover other writers who write the types of novels the reader likes) and how it's not really that important these days. (I kept thinking that with the internet, it's not the genre that matters, but the keywords, and you can have multiple keywords, whereas in bookstores, yes, it's true that you have to figure out which shelf to put things on.)

Had a tasty dinner and engaging conversation with Terri Bruce, author of  the novel Hereafter, an adventure into the afterlife when thirty-six year-old Irene Dunphy makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. Terri is also one of the co-ordinators of the robust New England Chapter of Broad Universe. For dessert, we hit the Boskone Meet the Guests & Art Shop Reception that started at 9. Those who know me know that I follow a low-carb diet these days, but it's hard to resist the cakes and sundries there. (I was restrained: only a tiny slice here and there.)

Justine Graykin joined us as we ate our desserts and the three of us did check out the party floor before returning to our rooms, but Boskone is a very restrained con. The parties were convention bids for future WorldCons. That is, you went in and sampled their arrays of cheeses or snack food and they told you about their bid for the next WorldCon. It was nice, no pressure, and informative. But the three of us didn't hang out long. Bed was beckoning.

[to be continued]

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