Monday, August 28, 2006

Musings on L.A.Con IV

Jeezus, look like you’ve been frakked hard and kicked through an engine. Where you been?

Got home late last night from L.A.Con IV. Gotta say, I’m pretty wrung out.


Lots of fun. Lots and lots of panel discussions. And beer. And scotch.

So get to it. How’d the Hugos go?

Guest of Honor Connie Willis was a delightful master of ceremonies. And Bob Silverberg’s repeated comedic attempts to wrest control of the podium from her kept the event entertaining.

No, no...the awards! Any surprises?

Not really. None of the voting seemed to go my way, but I wasn’t disappointed with the results. Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin won Best Novel. It was my number two choice, behind John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, but Spin’s a great book, and it’s not undeserving of a Hugo. Besides, Scalzi copped the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, proper tribute for a guy whose debut novel is, well, so 21st century Heinleinian and something Campbell certainly would’ve serialized in Analog 40 years ago, had Scalzi been alive back then.

This’ll sound shitty, but I was pleased that Michael Burstein got his ass soundly kicked in two categories — Best Short Story and Best Novelette. I can’t figger how that guy gets nominated time and again. Who’s he paying off? His stuff stinks worse than a Reaver’s armpit.

Speaking of Reavers, I hear Serenity won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, beating out Narnia, Potter, and some other big contenders.

Yessir, and by a pretty big margin, too. I couldn't be happier. And best of all, Morena Baccarin — Inara herself — was there to accept the award for Joss Whedon. That was a monster surprise.

I was also pleased that the Doctor Who two-parter, “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances,” won for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. That’s a very nice series.

How’d Morena look, by the way?

Cliché or not, even more beautiful in person than on the screen.

Serenity also nabbed a special Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society at Worldcon, right?

Yeah, that was shiny. And it's the first time a film has won a Prometheus Award...ever.

Any other surprises at the Prometheus ceremony?

I guess not. Ken MacLeod’s Learning the World, which was also nominated this year for a Hugo, won Best Novel. I think it’s one of MacLeod’s lesser books, so I was rooting for The Black Arrow by Vin Suprynowicz. Oh well.

Wait a sec! There was a surprise. The graphic novel V for Vendetta won the Prometheus Hall of Fame award. But that wasn’t the surprise. The surprise was that V illustrator David Lloyd was on hand to pick it up...and he gave a fine acceptance speech, by the way. And since there were probably fewer than 25 of us there for the ceremony, I got a chance to talk with David for awhile. A handful of us even went downstairs to the Hilton’s bar for a drink with him afterwards. Very cool.

Any other highlights?

Hmm. Watching Connie Willis defend Peter Jackson’s King Kong against a mob during the “Three Ages of King Kong” panel was entertaining. Marina Sirtis spun some interesting yarns about her years on Next Generation, and Walter Koenig gave a good talk about life as an original Star Trek crewmember, as well as his time spent on Babylon 5. Actor J.G. Hertzler, best known as Klingon General Martok on Deep Space Nine, showed up late for a military sci-fi panel dressed in a homemade “contemporary fascist” uniform and ranted about Dubya until he was shouted down by a member of the audience; fellow panelists Joe Haldeman and John Scalzi seemed pretty uncomfortable.

And of course there was Harlan Ellison. Harlan’s been the Lewis Black of sci-fi conventions since before there ever was a Lewis Black. He never disappoints. His talk on Saturday afternoon was typically four-lettered, pissed off, and terrific fun. Harlan announced during that talk and again at the Hugo ceremony that this was his last con. He said he’s 72, been doing the convention thing since 1951, and he’s tired. No wonder. Following his lecture, Harlan spent at least four hours autographing. The old softie didn’t turn anyone away. Not a soul.

Before we cut this off, I hafta ask about the parties.

I spent more time in the Hilton and Marriott bars than at parties, but I did peek in on Escape Pod’s shindig, where I had a nice though short chat with podio novelist Patrick Wayne Selznick. And I stopped at one Browncoat party. I also made a brief appearance at the frefen gathering in Brad Linaweaver’s room at the Hilton on Friday night. I shared a few pleasantries with Vic Koman and Kent Hastings, then had Brad sign my review copy of his new book, Post-Nationalism: George W. Bush as President of the World. Brad wrote this to me: “Wally, I woke up!” I’ll write more about that after I read the book.

Anything else?

Yeah. I’m going to bed.


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Anders Monsen said...

Man, I am so jealous. Morena Baccarin live in person. Sounds like a truly fun time.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger B.W. Richardson said...

And best of all, Morena Baccarin — Inara herself — was there to accept the award for Joss Whedon.

Morena was born to play Inara and (wait for it) Wonder Woman. But the gods of Hollywood probably won't grant my wish.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm *seriously* looking forward to your review of Brad Linaweaver's new book.

The statement "Wally, I woke up!" plus apparent resurrection of "New Isolationist" as a KoPubCo brand has really got my attention.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger Warren Bluhm said...

"Yeah, that was shiny. And it's the first time a film has won a Prometheus Award...ever."

I think it's a safe bet there'll be a second time in the coming year, with V hanging out there in the firmament.


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