BayCon 2012

Kage Baker was a very private person. But she grew to really enjoy science fiction conventions. She anticipated hating them, before she had ever been to one – then she attended her first as a writer and discovered how much fun they could be.

And she wasn’t even a wild party person. But the chance to meet readers, to talk to them – and to lecture a little, too – plus the dealers’ room, the costumes, and the general people-watching … well, it was almost as much fun as a Renaissance Faire.

And the occasional weekend in a nice hotel was never to be scoffed at. We’d enjoy the maid service and the weird bathroom soaps and lotions, eat out for three days, and usually end up teaching the bartender how to make a decent sidecar or Singapore Sling. Kage liked retro cocktails, and would patiently instruct any bartender who didn’t know how to make them. I played entourage and sat knitting in the audiences, being Madame Dufarge on the sidelines.

BayCon was one of Kage’s favourites. It’s held in Santa Clara this year, at the Hyatt Regency. It’s a very nice hotel, vaguely Japanese International in deco – although with a science fiction convention running around the place, the decor is hardly relevant. But it’s comfy, the beds are soft, they sport down pillows, and the lobby bar is elegant and pleasant. And the parking is free.

As you can see, my demands of a Con hotel are materialistic in the extreme. This is from lengthy experience of finding one’s self in strange places where the only surety of shelter may well be the length and width of one’s rented bed …

There are two main ways of surviving much travelling, Kage always said. One is to insist on making your space as much like your home as possible: but that requires a hell of a lot of luggage (I know people who pack quite large suitcases devoted solely to deco to make their room “homey”) and the other is to settle firmly into tourist mode. The latter was always Kage’s choice. Eyes wide and eager for adventure, plenty of brass in pocket and locate the bar right off! Have at least one boon companion, and accumulate minions if you can. Then you can deal with anything.

We got through many Conventions in a state of bliss with this attitude. And this despite screwed-up panel schedules, missing Guests of Honour, and a couple of hotels that had floors in alternate dimensions: you couldn’t get to them except by secret stairways, and most of the panels were scheduled there. One place that scheduled readings in what appeared to be an enormous industrial brick chimney. The inevitable occasions when Kage’s name disappeared from the program, and she had to scavenge panel space.

So, not this weekend but the next – Memorial Day Weekend – I shall be heading for the  lovely environs of Santa Clara for another BayCon. I already know that this time, my name is the one that fell off the program – but I bet I can find a few places to sit in. I’m fetching along a few copies of Best of Kage Baker, and I shall be talking up Nell Gwynne II. I’ll be shamelessly promoting this blog.

And I’ll be companion-ing with the always-game and saintly Neassa, who has tons of entourage experience and always carries chocolate in her purse. I shall be gimping it a lot – still can’t walk very far or fast – but I have a shooting stick/seat to rest on, a hotel room,  and no compunction at all about playing the Tired Old Lady card. Neassa was with us on Kage’s last Convention, when she was a gleeful wheelchair juggernaut in the halls, and can undoubtedly protect the populace from my tendency to poke them with my stick.

If you’re in the area, stop by. I’ll be hither and yon – the rotund little lady with the knitting and Buddy Holly glasses, snickering on the sidelines.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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20 Responses to BayCon 2012

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for the info! I have a question! At conferences, what do you like to be asked, and what do you dislike having to talk about (the same silly questions)? Or are there no silly questions with enthusiastic fans?! (PS I picked up “The Best of Kage Baker” last week before a work trip, and LOVED it! There were some new ones for me. I adored Maelstrom!!! I think I got my airplane seatmate to add it to her “must read” list!)


    • Kate says:

      Kage always said, there are no stupid questions. And I think she was right. Any question about the stories – where they come from, how the idea started – is fun and welcome. So far, the only thing that has bothered me is being asked if I miss Kage. That one seems rather obvious.


  2. Michelle says:

    oh oh oh! You will be here! I will see if we can swing by in the early afternoon Saturday with the baby. Hopefully we can track you down.


    • Kate says:

      Michelle – I’ll let you know Friday where I am likely to be the next day: schedules, room #, that sort of thing. I need to see Connor!


  3. maggiros says:

    Alas, I’ll be on the other side of the 880 in San Jose at Clockwork Alchemy, chattering with Thena and Joel and Dre and company, doing a couple of readings, flogging books of my own. I love hotels! Especially the part where someone else makes the beds and cleans the bathroom. Have a splendid time, and pace yourself! And if you have to, teach the bartender how to make a Singapore Sling. 🙂


  4. We (Avalon Rising) will be playing Friday evening, hope we can bump into each other!


  5. Kate says:

    Cat – hey, one thing I’ve learned over the years is how to duck fiddlers!


  6. Do you have direct access to a mobility scooter. They can change the whole mood of the convo for you. I know from World Con in LA, The Long Beach Sewing and Quiltin Convo, 2 cruises, and many trips to the mall w/ the beloved Granddaughters.


    • Kate says:

      I have seriously considered it, Mary Lynn. Especially a red one … but my doctor wants me to hold off, and keep walking as much as possible. I am in favour of maintaining my bipedality as long as possible, so I carry a shooting stick and walk slowly.


  7. Neassa says:

    We’re gonna have fun! I am experienced Entourage and will be ready with chocolate and my knitting


  8. John B. says:

    It would be great if we could met up for lunch or dinner. It would great to see you.
    There is Bennigans and Pedro’s near by or the hotel if you don’t feel up to going anywhere. Bring the Entourage too. 🙂
    I will not be avalible on sunday night though. Bay Bridge 75th fireworks,
    ps My treat.


    • Kate says:

      I would love to see you!

      How does a Saturday dinner sound? I travel poorly these days, so in-hotel would be my preference. Let me know about time and such – they left me off the program, so I am at total liberty!




  9. Doug says:

    Hope you guys have fun! Would be nice to see both you and Neassa…as it has been years since I’ve seen her. Alas i will ba at another Con a bit north of you guys. Have fun!!


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