I hemmed and hawed for a while, but finally decided to take the plunge and register for WorldCon in Reno. When the flight prices horrified me, the Swedish Aircraft Carrier road trip tour was born.
I picked up one passenger in Seattle, and two in Vancouver, WA, where we all overnighted at The Snout Cave, home of VP XII alumnus Curtis & his wife DeeAnn. On the way down, we stopped in Crater Lake, where I got these fabulous shots. Yes, it really is that pretty, and was probably the best place we could have stopped for lunch.
The trip went well, although I did figure I'd been driving too long when we pulled up to a construction delay and my eyes went funky, the road appearing to still scroll by me with the car at a full stop. We arrived safely in Reno, where I got upgraded to this completely over-the-top suite. All excesses in taste are forgivable in my book in the presence of a jetted tub.
Speaking of over-the-top, while there is an explanation for why these lemons might be wearing condoms...
... I'm not sure anyone can explain this ceiling to me. I think it jumped the shark.
I had a great time hooking up with old and new Viable Paradise pals, and am still forever grateful the XIs (Julia, Eric, Chris, Kim, Heather) made me an honorary member of their posse at Anticipation in '09. I hadn't seen XIIs Jeff or Pete since VP itself three years ago (more math, Jeff), and it was nice meeting all the new alumni, and even the yet to be (Donnie). I had one of those weird moments at the VP party walking up to Kate Baker and saying "yes, we've met on Google Plus", which was a first for me. Congrats on your Hugo, Kate. And it was fun to make new friends like Warren.
Notable readings include John Scalzi's from The Work Which Shall Not Be Named On Pain Of Punishment That Swoops Out Of Nowhere To Clock One In The Skull. Mary Robinette Kowal read from an intriguing upcoming work about a black woman using magic to "pass" for white in the vaudeville era. Steven Gould read from his new sequel to Jumper. Connie Willis read from her WIP UFO abduction novel which sounds like a hoot. M.J. Locke's reading made everyone (including M.J.) cry.
The Hugo awards gave great show. Chris Garcia takes the cake for best acceptance EVAR. I don't think it's possible to be happier, and "Oh my fuck!" is my quote of the year. The Best Novel nominees probably think Robert Silverberg is an evil, evil man, but he does it with so much style, how can you stay mad? :-)
A highlight for me was Mary Robinette Kowal's giving an effective reading talk. Probably the most useful talk of the Con for me. Notable panels included one on novellas, with Dozois, Silverberg, Reed and Strahan as panelists, which made me ponder whether I'm a natural novella writer, as opposed to a novelist. Which kinda sucks, given that novellas are the hardest to sell, but puts a whole new spin on my word count issues. The short story panel was also interesting, and I did learn quite a bit from one panel on travel before the invention of the car. I flitted between too many panels to list here.
My fangirl moment came when I met David Brin, and sheepishly presented him with two tattered and well-worn paperbacks to sign instead of the pristine hardcovers everyone else showed up with. But he apparently likes my smile.
My most unexpected WorldCon moment came from Seanan McGuire, with whom I wound up trading cat pictures and who recommended Maine Coon cat breeder PineCoon in my area who also happens to be in Tricky Pixie. So now when I need to find a companion for my beloved aging Coon Diesel I know where to go.
I think my favourite panelist was Connie Willis. Here she is with her Hugo award for Best Novel. When I found myself in a panel that turned out to be less interesting than advertised, I'd see if Connie was speaking elsewhere and find that room, because she's just that entertaining.
But it all ended too soon. Our route back took us by Mount Shasta...
... Eugene, OR, where we dined with VP XII alum Kevin and his wife Stephanie, and Powell's Books in Portland where my brain short-circuited and I had trouble keeping myself from sweeping full shelf-loads of books into my basket...
... and these fittingly à propos chocolate zombie bunnies.
PS: credit all in-focus shots to Canon and all out-of-focus shots to Apple. And yes, Jeff, my iPhone 3G really takes the gimpy cake. No arguments from me.