Notes on Capclave 2013

Capclave Dodo: "Where reading is not extinct"

Capclave Dodo: “Where reading is not extinct”

What an enjoyable convention! Many thanks to Bill Lawhorn, the Capclave committee, and all the volunteers. This year I got to attend all three days (a minor benefit of the federal furlough). I met some wonderful new friends. A few of my personal highlights:

Allen Wold’s Writer’s Workshop — This was my second turn assisting Allen with his frequently offered workshop. We had a large turnout this time – eighteen participants. We four reviewers (including Allen’s daughter, Darcy, who intends to take over management of the workshop when her father retires… “two years after he’s dead”) heard a lot of strong story beginnings, all composed “on the fly” in the first fifteen minutes of the workshop. Following the two sessions, I had a chance to have very enjoyable chats with participants Ron Jones, Chris Addotta, and Jennifer Delare (who recently returned to the U.S. after having spent eighteen years living and teaching in Italy). I had a terrific time, learned a few things myself, and would be very happy to continue assisting Allen.

Are Prose Superheroes Still Novel? — This was just a fun topic and a fun panel. Any discussion in which I get to bring up Robert Mayer’s Superfolks and Michael Bishop’s Count Geiger’s Blues is a darned good discussion, I’d say!

Name Drop and Quote Panel — The easiest job of moderating I’ve ever had. Didn’t have to say a word. As soon as we sat down, Scott Edelman and Steve Stiles started swapping stories about working in the Bronze Age Marvel Bullpen with Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Sal Brodsky; Michael Swanwick kicked in with tales of being a “young gun” among the old pros at the science fiction conventions of the early 1980s; and Steve told us all about his first and only orgy during the Swinging Seventies (the story not at all what you’d expect).

Fire On Iron Reading — I had an audience! Not a big audience, but an attentive and appreciative one. It’s always good to have an audience (not always a given at a fiction reading)! I read the Mikithi summoning scene; very vivid, lots of drama and action. Also lots of fun to read aloud.

Miscellaneous Smilies — It was great to meet Clarkesworld editor Kate Baker’s young daughters and to see them having such a wonderful time at the convention… fun kids! I hope they get to meet my boys at one of the Virginia conventions coming up this winter. I just loved getting to know Betsy Riley and to share two discussion panels with her (both of which I moderated), “Blood in Southern Waters” and “Self Publishing and You;” she is a real hoot! I’d like to pick up one of her books and see how well it reflects her lively personality. Alethia Kontis, thanks for reminding me that I have my own Harlan Ellison story to tell on some future panel devoted to funny Harlan stories! Barbara deBary-Kesner, thanks for sharing a wonderful but bizarro conversation with me – yakking it up about the federal acquisitions process in the con suite of a science fiction convention, rather than talking up sci-fi interests in the lunch room of a federal workplace! The world turned upside-down!

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