Fourth Street Fantasy Convention

For those unfamiliar with it, the Fourth Street Fantasy Convention is a fairly small convention that ran during the 80s. It’s oriented toward, well, how to read and write better. Or, put another way, it’s a convention of people who like to read, write, and edit good books, and want there to be more good books to read, write, and edit.

We’re bringing it back. I’m heading up the programming. My approach to programming is: What are some questions I want to hear smart people argue about so I can learn stuff from it. A few of the panel topics this year are: “Pushing buttons for fun and profit;” “Stealing from the mainstream and doing it better;” “What the hell IS ‘structure,’ anyway?” Stuff like that.

Our Guest of Honor is Elizabeth Bear. The dates are June 20-22, 2008. The place is Minneapolis. For more information, check here.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, we’d love to see you there.

If you’re interested in being on a panel, let me know via my email address, which you can find on my web site.

Omegacon: Poor organization and good hearts

They started out by leaving me standing in the airport for an hour and a half. Eventually, I gave up on them and took a shuttle (after calling Reesa to find out what hotel I was supposed to be at). Then they didn’t have a room ready. Then they did have a room, but it was at another hotel. I was warned that the walk between the main hotel and the one I was staying at–two and a half blocks–was through a rather bad part of Birmingham and I should be careful after dark, but that’s okay, because they had no arrangements for transportation. I could eat if I could make it back to my hotel and charge a meal to my room, other than that, well, see above about lack of transportation. My experience was, let us say, not unique.

That’s one side of the story. On the other side, there was Nathan, and Paige, and Chris, and Josh, and Adam, all of whom worked their asses off to make up for the various screw-ups. There was a seemingly endless supply of friendly, intelligent people to talk to (Ben and Rene especially stand out). The panels were, for the most part, lively and engagingly. And I was taken out for some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had by the Ladies of Tor–perhaps the high point of the weekend. And there was jamming with Steve Hickman–a blast.

In the airport on the way home I was sitting in a back corner of the bar (a smoking permitted bar! Civilization is not dead!) and met a couple of musicians. Is that a drum? Yes. African? North African. Can it be tuned? Yes–see these lugs? Do you play it with your fingers? Yes, sometimes–here, like this, see? And like this? And then you can do this….and I stopped and got a round of applause from everyone in the bar. Hee hee. That was nifty.

I’d hate to guarantee it, but I have the feeling that, by next year, Omegacon will have ironed out most of the bugs and be ready to put on a good convention. As for this year, well, there was some fun, and I’m very glad to be home.