Let me start by offering my congratulations to all the winners of the World Fantasy Awards, which were given out at the convention this weekend.
This was the first non-fan convention that I've ever been to, and as such was interesting and different for me. The biggest draw of the whole thing was the lounge, where people milled about, sat in comfy chairs and talked for hours at a time. The San Jose Fairmont has a great space for that, and it worked very well. I met friends, and friends-of-friends, and approached a few strangers when I overheard interesting topics.
I got to listen to Patricia McKillip read aloud. That was cool. I've always loved her work for the calm poetry of it, and this time was no exception. Definitely a fan experience for me.
I also heard Kij Johnson read. She's very skillful when she reads aloud. The story was "Spar," currently up at Clarkesworld, and a very disturbing story - but she read it in a way that gave it a whole new dimension for me. I was lucky enough to talk to her afterward; she's a lovely person. Then on Sunday she won the award for best short story with "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss." If you haven't read it yet, go find it! And if you have already read it, you can check out my analysis of it, and her response, here on the blog.
I went to parties - which I haven't done for ages. It was fun, mostly involved more standing around and chatting. My friend Janice was with me for most of all of this adventuring, which was totally great since she lives in Georgia and I almost never get to see her. I also got to spend a bunch of time with my friend Dario, and we even had a lunch with Keyan, so there were four members of Written in Blood writers' group there all at once! I got several opportunities to hang out with the Graysons, which was neat, since I don't imagine everyone gets a chance to spend time with their agent and chat.
The banquet was pretty much as expected, but I always enjoy seeing the amazing people who get up on the stage to talk and accept awards - like Ellen Datlow and Garth Nix and David Hartwell, and a whole bunch of others.
It was a great convention for me, not least because I didn't have to worry about pitching, just enjoying myself.