[Note: Sorry for the lack of copious hyperlinks in the post below, but the wireless network here is pretty slow, and I'm writing hastily between events.]
Well, it's day two of the convention now, and though I said I wasn't overwhelmed yesterday, I discovered when I returned to my hotel room for a brief break around 8 that I was completely exhausted and my legs felt like someone had rammed iron nails into them. The Hynes Convention Center is huge, a cross between a warehouse and catacombs, and to get from one event to another can require ten or fifteen minutes of walking. The variety of events is extraordinary, though I have found myself often unable to attend various panels because I have ended up in conversations with people in the hallways and by the time we finish the panel is almost over.
My worst moment yesterday came when I bought a copy of Justina Robson's Natural History from Borderlands Books seconds before someone else wanted it. It was the paperback edition, which was a bearable price compared to the hardcover that a few other dealers have (the exchange rate is awful right now, so British hardcovers are extremely expensive; also, most British hardcovers are badly made: the bindings are weak and the paper is not acid-free, so it bleaches easily and quickly). The other customer looked at my nametag and said, "Oh, damn you Matthew Cheney! Wait -- are you the Matthew Cheney of The Mumpsimus? I read your blog." So not only did I disappoint a perfectly nice and innocent human being, but I alienated a reader! If I were less greedy and selfish, I would have given her the book. But I'm greedy and selfish, and chose to alienate a reader so that I could have the book. (And Cheryl Morgan thinks I'm a "very nice lad" -- little does she know!
I went to a panel yesterday on "Rhythm, Meter, and the Use of Language", mostly because Greer Gilman was moderating and I wanted to wish her luck for the World Fantasy Awards, where her excellent "A Crowd of Bone" is up for an award. The panel had some good things to say, but fell apart a bit because of overzealous audience participation and a tendency on the part of the panelists to wander to various, somewhat banal, topics. It's a peril of panels.
In the evening, I went to the Wheatland Press party, where Polyphony 4 was the talk of the room -- I'm going to pick up a copy, so I will write about it, or at least some of the stories in it, here in due time. The party gave me a chance to meet Jeff Ford (who no longer sports a beard, by the way -- he and Jeff VanderMeer seem to have coordinated to be the Two Now-Beardless, Hugo-Nominated Jeffs) and a variety of people from Strange Horizons. Later I spent a lot of time at the Tor Books party, chatting with Jim Kelly, Tobias Buckell, Alex Irvine, Brett Cox, Judith Berman, Jack Skillingstead, Beth Meacham, and other people whose names I've either forgotten or never learned.
Now that I've devolved to namedropping, I'm going to stop.