Kage Baker loved science fiction conventions.
She only went to them when we could drive there in a day, or she was the Guest of Honour – because she hated flying, waiting in line for flying, paying for flying, landing while flying, worrying about landing while flying … just about anything to do with flying except maybe sitting in a seat and drinking rum and Coke. Had someone ever managed to offer her a way to travel by other means – suborbital shuttles, teleporting, drugged insensible in a crate – she’d have travelled a lot more.
She even turned down trips to both Britain and Australia when she realized she’d likely come to pieces somewhere over a major ocean.
Thus, her very favourite conventions were in Los Angeles. The 2006 WorldCon and Hugo Awards was held in Anaheim, California, for example – Kage went and had a ball. We spent all our time cheering for friends, drinking in the bar, meeting people in the bar, and dragging Kage’s poor heroic agent all over Disneyland. I think Linn thought going to Disneyland with a pair of 50-0dd year olds would be – you know, more sedate. Nope. We were natives and we went nuts; until the poor woman collapsed from being a New Yorker and we had to take her back to the Con hotel.
Next best were conventions anywhere in California, all of which qualify as “reachable in a day”. At least, if you’re driving with me and Kage. Even sufficiently adjacent states qualify – I can, for example, make it to Portland in 14 hours, and that fits in a day. Seattle takes an overnight stay somewhere, but it still works. Nevada is a dawdle; Arizona is a pain but not because of distance – it’s like Mars in need of an air conditioner, not really human-habitable. Colorado would be a piece of cake if most of its conventions were not held a mile straight up in the air … but technically, it’s doable.
Kage’s favourite Con, though, was BayCon. It’s held Memorial Day weekend in the San Francisco Bay area – although, not in San Francisco, because there is no parking there at all and all habitation costs a freaking fortune. I love San Francisco, but I try not to ever have to sleep or park there … BayCon is usually somewhere around San Jose and Santa Clara.
This year, it’s near the San Francisco Airport, in the Marriott Hotel in San Mateo; May 27th through May 30th. It’s the first year at that hotel – we’ve been at the Convention Center Hyatt Regency for some years prior to this. However, it does get a little weird sharing the facilities with conventions of cheerleaders and missionaries (no kidding) and so this year, they have moved.
It’s also pretty much my favourite Convention. I know most of the folks who run it, and the folks who attend, and growing numbers of the writers and artists who show up. A lot of the folks involved also do Renaissance Faires, and the Dickens Fair in San Francisco: they are my own people! They loved Kage Baker, and all of them know and seem to like me: they are certainly supportive of my ongoing project to keep Kage’s work going. And so I get to mingle with friends, and swan about, and spend a few days in air-conditioned insanity with many of the people I love best in the world.
As per my custom, I shall be sending dispatches from the Con throughout my stay. It’s such a feast and festival of enthusiastic weirdness, I am compelled to document the wonderful things I encounter. If any of you, Dear Readers, live in the area, please do consider coming: the URL is http://baycon.org/bcwp/. The theme this year is “All About Space”, and Programming has given me some wonderful-looking topics. My personal schedule of panels will be posted at the end of this blog, in case anyone wants to come and make rude noises at me.
When I’m not in a panel, I am usually in the lobby or the bar or that portion of the lobby that is the bar, knitting and people-watching. If you are some of the people I watch, I shall be delighted.
In the meantime, it’s back to working on corrections for Knight & Dei. Kage always said, do not develop weird or eccentric habits as a writer – you’ll only have to edit them out of the finished product, and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Sadly, I did not listen, and never did break the habit of English spelling. It’s how I learned to spell as a child. I was (and am) a wretched speller, so I took my script from the multitude of wonderful English children’s books I read. And now, I have to edit all that out of the 400-odd page manuscript my patient agents are reading …
After all, I don’t want that hanging over my head when I’m partying at BayCon.
BayCon 2016 – My Panel Schedule
Colonization of Mars
Saturday 10:00 – 11:30, Engage (San Mateo Marriott)
Where are we setting up, what are we bringing and who’s running this show? When and how will we set up human communities on the Red Planet?
Jay Reynolds Freeman (M), C. Sanford Lowe, Kathleen Bartholomew
Magical Mystery Panel
Saturday 11:30 – 13:00, Convene (San Mateo Marriott)
Mystery: A thing which we do not tell you until you get there, but for which we blame M. Todd.
M. Todd Gallowglas (M), Kathleen Bartholomew, Jenni Brush (M), Dario Ciriello, J. L. Doty, Ms Sandra Durbin, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Bonnie Gordon, Taunya Gren, Xander Jeanneret, Wanda Kurtcu, Jacquelyn Bartel, Steven Mix, John O’Halloran, Cody Parcell (M), Tory Parker, Tom Saidak, Sumiko Saulson, Elnath D. Shanks, Douglas Shepard, JC Arkham, Fred Wiehe
The good, The Bad, And The WTF of Cover Art
Saturday 14:30 – 16:00, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)
Forget judging the book by its cover, sometimes you can’t even identify it. Our panelists discuss highs and lows and just plain weird in the world of cover art.
Megan O’Keefe (M), Kathleen Bartholomew, Thaddeus Howze, M Christian, Deirdre Saoirse Moen
Space for Everyone
Sunday 14:30 – 16:00, Collaborate 2 (San Mateo Marriott)
Is space for the able-bodied and neurotypical only? Or will some physical and mental challenges turn out to be adaptive? Perhaps better-suited to space than normal humans? Do the disabled have a right to equal access? Will there be an ADA for the rest of the solar system some day?
Pat MacEwen (M), Anne Killpack, Kathleen Bartholomew
Someone Else’s Space
Monday 13:00 – 14:30, Convene (San Mateo Marriott)
Whether you’re a visitor or you’ve inherited a legacy, what are the joys, challenges and obligations of creating in a space that someone else created.
David Gerrold, Todd McCaffrey, Jon Del Arroz, Kathleen Bartholomew (M)
“Nope. We were natives and we went nuts;”
Oh hahaha! I love this!
No-one has a better time at Disneyland than those of us who have gone there since we were in strollers. Kage and I were born in 1952 and 1953 – it was part of our childhood. My dad was on the crew that put the first glacial paint job on the Matterhorn, and painted many of the beautiful houses in New Orleans Square. Disneyland was part of our family.