A Couple Days in San Antonio

It’s strange attending a convention that I’m not participating in. In some ways it feels like I’m not actually here, but on the other hand, it’s also kind of freeing. I’m doing the best I can to look at things going on around me–watch people and listen better to their conversations, pay attention to their questions. Watch how they react to responses. These are my readers, after all. Or at least a good chunk of them.

What follows are a few notes about our first two days here in San Antonio.

Wednesday – Day 0: Wherein we meet-cute with IMPs

Day one of the convention was really day 0, meaning we arrived Tuesday night and then had Wednesday to walk around the city a little. This was good because Lisa is, of course, still working at getting around on crutches. She had a record day in this regard, posting well over 9,000 steps for the first time since her surgery. We didn’t sight-see, so much as fiddle around on the Riverwalk–though we did take a boat ride that gave us some history of the place. I admit I was a bit angsty at times. I assume this is pre-convention normalcy for me. But what do I know? It could just be that I’m tired. [grin]

Anyway, at the end of the day we did dinner at Casa Rio, which is a decent Mexican place. To get there we had to brave stairs, which Lisa is rejoicing in having “mastered” (if that’s the word). “Tackled,” is perhaps better. She was tired after a long day, and as we left she made the first half of the steps up without much issue, but struggled with the last half. A couple people passed us, then as she was slowly making her way up, one stopped and waited on her to make she was okay. I talked Lisa up, and she made it. When we paused, I looked up to talk to the woman who had stopped and saw it was JB Galler-Smith (IMP extraordinare, and co-editor of OnSpec), accompanied by another IMP (Sharon Bass), Lezli Robyn, and Ita (whose last name I’ve forgotten, but who is a member of the OnSpec staff). It was a surprise for all of us, and we had a very nice fifteen minute or so conversation.

So, that was Day 1. Or Day 0. Or whatever.

Thursday – Day 1: the Starting Gun Goes Off

The convention actually started today. Lisa and I did breakfast, then wandered over to register and set up program elements we might be interested in. As usual, Lisa’s load was light. Normally she would pretty much just run through the huckster room and the art show, then head to the mall. But her mobility slows her down in that fashion, so she did a couple events. Despite this “slothfulness, I think she finished with another 8,000 steps. That’s a big chunk for two days in a row. No wonder she’s a little achy tonight.

Highlights of the day:

1) Watching Joe Halderman read. I’ve done that before, but I watched his audience this time. He’s a master, you know? Also liked hearing him read an opening to his current book that he threw away because it wouldn’t work–but he read it because he really liked it, and I can see why. It was really interesting. Then he read the story as it starts now. I see exactly why he ditched the original opening. Quite a lesson, there. Have I mentioned that he’s a master?

2) Connie Willis, Emma Newman, Gark Wolfe, and Mur Lafferty playing “Just a Minute.” Mur is pretty good by herself (at least she is on her podcasts, of course), but Connie Willis is the point guard of SF panels, making everyone else better.

3) Learning a bit about biology. Or at least a bit according to one biologist. I liked hearing him chat over areas of controversy in such a simple question as “what is life?” I walked away with a couple themes that will probably show up in my writing soon.

4) Hearing the not-so-subtle differences in the reactions of professionals who are fundamentally on the “traditional” side of things, and professionals who are fundamentally on the “indie” side of things. Not surprisingly, they come to things from very different directions.

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