Blogging Westercon – Friday

From left to right: Calgary’s deputy mayor, Guest of Honour S. M. Stirling, Publisher Guest of Honour Tom Doherty, Editor Guest of Honour David G. Hartwell, Canadian Guest of Honour Dave Duncan, Artist Guest of Honour Mark Ferrari, Fan Guests of Honour Eileen Capes and Cliff Samuels.

A busy day at Westercon yesterday. We attended the opening ceremonies, at which the Guests of Honour underwent the White Hat ceremony, making them honourary Calgarians, with the help of Calgary’s deputy mayor.

Then we had lunch at The Barley Mill in the Eau Claire Market with Robert J. Sawyer and some local Calgary writers, members of the Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Association.

At 3 p.m., I was on the Blasters and Battlestars panel, focused on space opera: what is it, and is it a good thing? I suggested the panel idea because Lost in Translation has been called space opera; I was delighted that David G. Hartwell, a senior editor for Tor Books, and his wife (and co-editor) Kathryn Cramer chose to join the panel, too. Since they’re editing a space opera anthology and Hartwell knows more about the history of SF than I ever will, I was fairly quiet, except for plugging my book a little. Hartwell has written an extensive essay on space opera, so I won’t rehash what was said–besides, I thought it would be gauche to sit and tap at my Harrier while my fellow panelists were talking.

Yours truly with David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer.

Danita Maslan’s book launch was also held yesterday afternoon. Her book, Rogue Harvest, is just out from Robert J. Sawyer Books, the new science fiction line from Red Deer Press. We bought a copy and had it autographed, and enjoyed chatting with others we knew at the launch.

Danita Maslan autographs Rogue Harvest for me at her book launch at Westercon.

We went off to Joey Tomato’s for dinner (Connie Willis sat at the table next to us, although we didn’t actually say hello to her) and then made our way back to the hotel for the Aurora Awards.

The ceremony was hosted by Robert J. Sawyer, who was also one of the winners (see the post below where I listed all the winners–I sent that by e-mail using my Harrier just as the ceremony was wrapping up last night).

Robert J. Sawyer, emcee, shows off the Aurora Award, one of which he would later win, at the Aurora Awards ceremony at Westercon.

It was marred–if that’s not too strong a word–only by the fact that only two of the winners were actually present, Rob Sawyer and Edo van Belkom. (Dale Spiers was next door at a panel, but that doesn’t really count.)

Then I had a brief reading to do at the Talebones/On Spec reading session, after which I went off to sing The Road Goes Ever On, the Donald Swann setting of poems by J.R.R. Tolkien. That went very well; a small crowd, as usual, but an appreciative one–one person told me I sent chills up her spine and I think I even saw someone wiping a surreptitious tear away. Another woman thanked me because, she said, she’d been waiting 30 years to hear those songs performed.

That was followed by Once More With Hobbits, a rewritten version of the Buffy musical episode Once More With Feeling with humorous Lord of the Rings lyrics. I played the Opera Elf, a one-line wonder: “They got the Wagner out!” Very clever lyrics and narration, so it was a lot of fun.

And that was that. Today I have Writers at the Improv, three panels, an autograph session and the Locus Awards Banquet. Fun, fun, fun!

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