(continued from previous post)
“My two panel discussions were both well attended, though not, it should be pointed out, because I was there. One, ‘Videogames as art’, featured the very popular American sf author John Scalzi; the other, ‘Videogames and Narrative’ featured popular Canadian sf author Dr Peter Watts. In that latter panel, I often felt out of my depth, surrounded by fascinating people with lots of interesting things to say about the design of games. My contribution was strictly from the point of view of a regular gamer. Mostly I just listened to my colleagues.
“I did a reading, in which for half an hour I could sit and read the first chapter of my new book. I’d never previously read the material, and while I’d proofed it and checked it many times, in the course of the reading I still managed to find loads of mistakes, glitches, and typos. The lesson here is to Check the Damned Printout Before the Reading! On the other hand, and very gratifyingly, while I’ve done readings at overseas Worldcons where the only person there other than myself was my fabulous wife Michelle, at Aussiecon 4 there were a good twenty-plus people, who listened attentively, and who seemed amused and interested during the entire half hour, much to my relief. Of course, by the time the new book appears, that first chapter will doubtless have been altered a great deal – and at the very least will feature far fewer errors!
“On the final day (the final day of a Worldcon is usually a bit of a death march, since the attendees, having partied hard, and attended a lot of programming during the five days of the event, are all thoroughly fried with fatigue), I had been assigned what is known as a ‘kaffeeklatsch’. This is a feature of Worldcons, in which a smallish group of interested fans get to spend an hour hanging out with their favourite authors, drinking coffee, chatting, and having a fine time. In order to get into a kaffeeklatsch, you have to sign up ahead of time. I was very surprised to have one of these events given to me, and figured I would be lucky if a few good friends (and Michelle) turned up to keep me company for what promised to be a very long hour. Instead it turned out that my kaffeeklastch filled up – there were about eight or nine people there, and apparently others had to be turned away! Nobody could have been more surprised than I was, and a lovely time was had by all, to my great relief.
“I was also very relieved to hear that the bookseller selling copies of my latest book, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, managed to shift a great many copies. I had signed a dozen copies early in the convention, but towards the end people were bringing me copies that they had just bought, which were unsigned, suggesting that those dozen signed copies had sold, and the bookseller had had to bring still more copies to keep up with the interest. I have found, in the course of several Worldcons, that the very best part of being an author is not the long, grinding slog of writing books, but the part where people have spent their own hard-earned cash on your book (out of the vast choice available to them) and would like you to sign it. Signing always makes me terribly nervous – I want to do a good job! – but I muddle through, and marvel at the delighted faces. It is without question the best part of the whole job, I think.”