Kage Baker ended up quite enjoying conventions.
She had not expected to enjoy them. She wasn’t fond of public appearances; if not for the growth of the Internet as a social environment, she might have been one of those authors who is seldom seen or heard. However, that is bad marketing – and while Kage was uncomfortable in public settings, she was canny about marketing. And, having been a serious fan of several things herself, she felt she had to attend at least one convention a year in order to play fair with her audience.
I don’t think most fans realize that it can be hard for some authors – coming out to make faces and strike poses for their amusement. Some writers, of course, adore it; some are happy and enthusiastic performers. But some, like Kage, just want to sit quietly and write. She came to conventions initially as a courtesy to the people who read her stories. And then she found out that hotels have bars and ball rooms and dealers rooms and restaurants; and panels have microphones and ice water; and the people are lovely, and it was fun.
Her favourite was always BayCon, due to its placement in San Jose and the Bay Area. Part of Kage’s heart was always happiest in that Northern light … The people who run BayCon, also, are especially nice folks. Lots of the attendees work Faires, too.
Since Kage died, BayCon has been kind enough to take seriously my ongoing attempts to keep her work alive and ongoing. They invite me to attend and I appreciate enormously the chance to promote Kage and my work. This year, for instance, I have a novel and a novella under consideration at Tor; I hope for interesting news to share on at least one of them soon. Cons are great places to spread news like that.
BayCon this year is Friday May 26th through Monday May 29th, in San Mateo, at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport Hotel. It’s a lovely hotel, and I will be on a variety of panels – Building Utopia (A Canticle for Liebowitz); Autism and Asperger’s In Fandom; Writing in Someone Else’s World; Historical Writing: Knowing Your Character’s Cultural Priorities and Personal Rebellions; and The Eternal Importance of Research.
That last one is on the Monday, and is a particular soapbox of mine – and I get to moderate it, too! You may well wonder, Dear Readers, how important research is to High Fantasy, hard science fiction or Alternate History: but if you don’t know how something works, you can’t write well about how else it may work. Also, it’s nice not to write your foot into your mouth by misstating some obvious fact (anyone remember that poorly-researched film, Krakatoa, East of Java?*). Not to mention being sure that no one has had your amazing original idea before you did …
James Cameron has a particular problem with that one. It doesn’t seem to bother him, but it quite torques my wa. Anyway, I get to pontificate a little on the subject, so I am very happy. I have spent part of today contentedly working on the ideas for BayCon, and making sure my faithful entourage (the indomitable and indispensable Neassa) is properly registered for the Con.
One always needs an entourage, if only to pick one up when one trips and falls on the floor. I am grown somewhat wobbly these days – although my eyesight is stellar, and I think I will have simply astonishing visual acuity by the end of May. That won’t necessarily stop me from missing a step somewhere – I am a famous klutz – but, by God! I’ll see where I fall!
In the meantime, I shall continue to peg away at my zombie story, as well as one about 2 little ghoul girls that has sprung into my head lately. There’s a Lovecraft pastiche trying to surface, too. They’re not really horror stories, but alternate casting ideas have been insisting on being heard. In any event, if I get a slot for a reading, I’ll have something with which to work.
And every day, I see a little better. And every day, eschewing too much attendance on the news, I feel a little better. ALIVE, that’s how I feel.
And, man, it’s good to feel alive.
*Krakatoa was – and still is – West of Java.