MileHiCon and W00tstock: More Geek Than Should Be Legally Allowed

MileHiCon 42 was a lot of fun. At least the little bit that I saw of it was a blast. While I paid for a full weekend, I didn’t make it on Friday since I was too busy punching things, and today I was helping someone move. (Or more accurately, waiting up in Westminster to help someone move who didn’t get there until much later than expected due to a flat tire near the Wyoming border.)

So yes. Fun.

I got to go to several very interesting panels. One was a little workshop to make a two-sentence elevator pitch. I was very pleased with how mine turned out, since I tried to come up with one for Throne of Nightmares. I wrote my two sentence summary, the panel chopped about half the words out, and now it’s quite lovely. Are you ready to witness its awesomeness? HOLD ON TIGHT!

Drew suffers a traumatic injury at the hands of his former friend, and emerges able to see interdimensional predators. Soon Drew must choose between godhood and a normal life, between saving his friend and saving himself.


Yes. I can sense that you wish to shower me with dirty handfuls of cash now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Also I went to a panel about applying fiction skills to writing non-fiction. I was expecting it to be more about the actual writing process, but the panelists had a lot of useful advice on how and where to look for non-fiction work. So if I ever have time to do so, I will try to apply that advice. Some extra money would be quite lovely.

Late in the afternoon there was a fun panel about all sorts of misconceptions about fighting (of all kinds) that get perpetuated in books and film. Dan Dvorkin moderated it, and it was mostly a ridiculous amount of fun. I think “boisterous” or perhaps even “rowdy” would be a good word to describe the panelists.

And now… are you ready for the name dropping portion of this blog post? Because here it comes.

An event that I almost chickened out on – since I’m absolutely crap at meeting new people and not acting like a giant space moron – was “Speed Date a Science Fiction Author.” I’m pretty sure that’s what it was called. Anyway, I’m glad that I hung in and gave it a try. Something like 20 authors got packed into a room, and you could go around for three minute “dates” to get to ask them about their books.

I can’t quite go down the list of all the lovely people I got a chance to (briefly) talk to. It took about thirty seconds to cover the “What of yours should I read” and then after that, conversations normally veered off into all sorts of random topics.

Ian Tregillis was the only one of the authors in the room I’d actually heard of, since I’d seen his book Bitter Seeds mentioned in io9 and it sounded like something I wanted to read. He was very sweet and seemed a little shy, but he was a lot of fun to talk to. His day job is as a physicist at the National Laboratories in Los Alamos (that’s one hell of a day job) so I mostly just asked him questions about that. I’m really looking forward to reading his book.

Rather than repeat again and again that each and every one of these authors was nice, and charming, and lovely, I’ll just say here that they all were. Then again, I wouldn’t expect a writer willing to participate in an event like this would be an egotistical jerk. But yes, everyone was a lot of fun and I’m glad that I didn’t wimp out.

I spent a lot of time before the event chatting with Donita K. Paul prior to the event. She’s also doing an MDA lock up, so if you’ve got a few extra dollars, maybe consider helping her get out of jail a little quicker, since it’s for a good cause.

I’ve actually sort of heard of Daniel Abraham before, to the extent that I’ve seen the book cover for his short story collection on a blog and thought it was very nice looking. (I’m a sucker for watercolors.)

Rob Rice was definitely the most snazzily dressed of the bunch. And yes, he was wearing exactly the same thing as he’s pictured wearing on his website. He’d also been on the panel that did the elevator pitches, and he told me that he thought my novel sounded interesting. Squee!

Sarah Hoyt and the rest of the Hoyt trio were quite fun. I actually finished off the event talking with her son, who is in pre-med. We spent a lot of time mutually complaining about just how awful it is to be in school and have no time.

Melinda Snodgrass has the best last name ever. And I love her hair. And she wrote the script for the freaking “THE MEASURE OF A MAN” Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. I am unashamed of the amount of fangirling I did.

Nicole Kurtz was one I spent more than my three minutes talking with. She gave me a lot of really excellent advice. And she writes books where the heroines are best described as “sassy,” which I just can’t get enough of.

So that was at least some of the highlights of the speed dating. And I of course must also mention that I went to the one hour reading/Q&A that Paolo Bacigalupi did. I now now how to pronounce his last name, which means I’m at least one IQ point smarter than when I started out. (Clue: Not “bunchachalupas”) He read a bit from his new novella, and talked a lot about his interest in environmental issues, economics, and the interactions between them.

I want to be Paolo Bacigalupi when I grow up. But with a last name people can pronounce. And still be a girl. But really, I just mean I want to be able to write stories that involve big issues like that, and still have them be compelling and fascinating stories.

I fled from MHC at five, since I needed to get home for the Not-Quite-But-Almost-W00tstock in Boulder. I was hoping to get to eat dinner beforehand, but that was not to be. There was construction on I-25 and so I got home barely in time for David to collect me for the ride up to Boulder.

W00tstock was definitely worth it. Paul and Storm were HILARIOUS. Phil Plait’s litany of astronomical dick jokes was likewise hilarious. (And even funnier, that was the first time David had actually seen Phil lecture. So there you go.) And Adam Savage? Oh, the glee. He got the one standing ovation of the night for making an absolutely horrific Michael Jackson joke that almost caused me to pee my pants, I was laughing so hard.

The Captain’s Wife’s Lament took 23 minutes to finish. I know that’s not a record, but I still feel like I did my part.


Leave a Reply