This Thursday, I'm flying off to Dallas for FenCon, which promises, if their guest liaison prior to the event is anything to go by, to be highly enjoyable. Never before have I been asked what sort of cookies I'd like. I mean, by a convention. My life isn't that sparse and loveless. I'm actually getting on the plane back on the Sunday night, before work life won't let me do more than a long weekend. I'm going to be Toastmaster at the event, which basically lets me MC the masquerade and things like that, which makes me happy, in that it brings me one step closer to my life's ambition of being Kermit the Frog. I'm on the following panels:
Friday, 3pm: Meet me. This will be empty apart from me. It'll continue in the bar, but not until after -
Friday, 6pm: Just A Minute. Yes, I'm hosting again. With guests Keith R.A. DeCandido, Alan Porter, Tom Smith and Shanna Swendson.
Friday, 7pm: Opening Ceremonies.
Friday, 8pm: Orac Party. I don't know what the 'Orac' bit means. Perhaps it's standing around clutching glasses of wine being bitchy and overtly dogmatic. So like any other SF convention party, then. Except in the UK, where we'd be clutching real ale.
Friday, 9pm: Doctor Who panel. That's the proper time for one, really, so it'll be full of laughter and goodwill. For some reason, that's not the case for Who panels at SF events in the morning.
Saturday, 11am: A panel about Endings. Interesting.
Saturday, 1pm: Autographs only for Friends of the Fen. They really should bring this convention to Norfolk.
Saturday, 3pm: Reading. I'll be reading from my short stories, and maybe a bit from the novel in progress.
Sunday, noon: Star Trek vs. Doctor Who. Two much-loved long-running SF shows. But... which is better? There's only one way to find out...
Sunday, 2pm: Me and Keith DeCandido talk about writing comics.
Sunday, 3pm: 70 Years of Marvel Comics.
Quite a classy haul, I think. But what I'm most looking forward to is discovering what seems to be a chunky outpost of 'does a bit of everything' fandom, who have the good taste to have selected Lois McMaster Bujold as their Guest of Honour. I hope I'll get to see a bit of Dallas at the same time.
In other news, the first collection of Gail Simone's Secret Six, Unhinged, is out, and I'm proud to have written the introduction, so do look out for that.
And finally, I was saddened to hear of the passing away of Keith Floyd, the TV chef who lived in my home town for many years. I only met him once or twice, and knew his partner only a little better, but I do recall a pleasant day spent playing cricket with him, for the town's Sunday side (effectively the third best team). I was managing the side, which basically meant trying to get eleven people to show up. Keith opened the batting, and was the only man I've ever seen 'lapped' as he ran between the wickets, his partner having run three to his one. The other team were so enchanted by him they let him get away with it. He'd once played in the same charity side as Ian Botham, so that gave us all something to say at dinner parties. He brought along an enthusiastic crowd of friends, a brilliant lunch hamper, several bottles of wine and a lot of charming anecdotes, and was as sweet that day as you'd expect him to be from what you see on TV. It was a pleasure to share a town with him.
Until next time, Cheerio.