Fans & Writers


…ah. I see why I got no comments on last week’s post. It’s because for some reason it saved a s a draft instead of actually publishing. Aheh.Well, this is rather a day late and a dollar short at this point, but I’ll post it today anyway, because it’s written. And for some reason the Magical Words site is posting invisible letters when I type, so if this is full of typos, it’s not my fault.

This is also going to be a very short, mostly fanboy post, because I’m on my way out the door to meet George R.R. Martin, who is in Ireland right now because they’re filming the pilot for hit television series A GAME OF THRONES, based on his best-selling novels.

So what I’m going to talk about, briefly, is one of the very cool aspects of SF/F fandom, which is that virtually all the professionals in the field are also fans. We’re all people who read in the genre, who admire writers in the genre, and who are generally genuinely excited to meet others of our ilk. I’ve watched authors who are well-known in their own right turn to gibbering idiots when presented with the opportunity to meet one of our greats, and that’s just pretty much flat-out awesome. I’ve also personally experienced meeting an author whose work I adore beyond reason, and realizing that “I love your books beyond reason,” I have almost nothing else to say to them. (This is more pronounced if the other writer is cripplingly shy, which in at least one instance was the case. Usually I can get a stone to strike up a conversation…:))

I think one of the things I love best about the professionals in my genre is that they’re almost always willing to share the limelight. Sometimes it gets difficult because everybody’s got something to say and they all want to say it Right Now–it’s not that we don’t want to hear what the other’s got to say, it’s just So Exciting!–but I haven’t yet met anybody who’s a diva. (I have heard nigh-unto-unbelievable diva stories about writers in other genres, so maybe I’ve just gotten really lucky with the SF/F authors I’ve met, but they’ve genuinely all been terrific people.)

Ithink possibly my faborite meet-a-writer story is my husband’s. We were at WFC a few years ago, and joined a circle of writers standing around chatting. Well, a circle of people, a few of whom I knew and who were writers. Introductions were made, including a white-haired gentleman who shook Ted’s hand, said, “Hi, I’m David,” cheerfully,” and on went the conversation. About thirty seconds later Ted got a glimpse of the guy’s name tag, and it was David Drake, one of Ted’s favorite writers.

Ted nearly had a heart attack from sheer excitement, and from the amusing fact that this guy, who has been writing for decades and is a pretty significant name in the field, didn’t think it was worth mentioning his own last name in a groupl of SF/F readers and writers. But that’s my general experience with our clan–so if this post has a point beyond ZOMG I GET TO GO MEET GRRM!!!, it’s probably “don’t be afraid to introduce yourselves. We very rarely bite and we’re almost always willing to talk.”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, ZOMG, I GET TO GO MEET GRRM!!!


11 comments to Fans & Writers

  • I’ve watched authors who are well-known in their own right turn to gibbering idiots when presented with the opportunity to meet one of our greats, and that’s just pretty much flat-out awesome.

    Katherine Kurtz came to ConCarolinas last spring, and I was so excited…until she was standing in front of me. At which point all I could do was smile and hand her the copy of “Lammas Night” I’d brought for her to sign. Eventually I calmed down and had an actual conversation, but it took me a while.

    I’ve always wanted to meet Tim Powers, although I know if I do, I’ll probably be like that Eddie Izzard sketch, in which he walks up to the girl he fancies, having prepared all sorts of poetry and wisdom to thrill her, but when he opens his mouth, all that comes out is “I’ve got legs!” πŸ˜€

  • Mikaela

    …so if I decide to go to P-con, you wont run and hide? Good! πŸ˜€

  • This is my experience too, and not just in fantasy. since I also write thrillers I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the big names in mystery/thriller writing at conferences: David Morrell (First Blood, Creepers), Doug Preston and Lincoln Child (the Pendergast novels), James Rollins, Lee Child, Clive Cussler and Michael Connelly (who is currently appearing as himself occasionally as one of Nathan Fillion’s poker buddies on CASTLE). To a one they have been gracious, pleasant, encouraging and generally great to be around. Gotta love gracious success.

  • Tom

    Wait. GRRM is starting filming a TV series about a series that isn’t finished? TELL HIM TO WRITE FASTER! Oh, did I type that outloud? So sorry. But tell him. LOL

  • Dino

    Both Tim Powers and GRRM are great fellows.
    I have known them both for years, having met them when my parents and I used sell jewlery and mineral specimens on the con circuit.

  • Yea for this post! I’ve met some divas in the mystery market, usually people who think they are bigger than they are! But everyone in the SFF genre has been realy cool! At Con Carolinas last year, I missed lunch and I was standing in the hallway and said (fairly loudly becasue I’m not shy at cons) “I’m hungry. Anyone want to grab a late lunch with me?” This soft voice said, “I missed lunch. I’ll go.” I turned around and it was Katherine Kurtz. I nearly swallowed my tongue. I am such a *huge* fan. I was shaking in my boots, but I went to lunch with KK, just the two of us, to a Tex Mex place. It stands as my best con experience ever.

  • I met GRRM at Archon many years ago, when I was just developing my Winds of the Forelands series. I had brought some work with me to the con, including my maps. George, for those of you who don’t know, is a map enthusiast. He takes the process of mapping his worlds very seriously. So he asked me what I was working on and I told him and mentioned that I had my maps with me. “Let me see them,” he said. I’ve never been so intimidated in all my life. But I pulled out my primary map and handed it to him. He looked it over for a few moments — I mean really looked it over. And then, handing it back to me, said “That’s a good map.” One of the proudest moments of my career.

  • Faith, David, those are both awesome stories. Yay! πŸ™‚

    *LAUGHS* I didn’t know Michael Connelly was appearing as himself on Castle, AJ. I’ve met him at a couple of cons, nothing he’d remember, certainly, but he was just wonderful.

  • To me it’s uber exciting to even talk with authors online… So when you weren’t as busy as you are the small chat sessions we had on Gmail were fanboy moments for me. I was “OMG, I am talking to CE Murphy. It’s crazy. Can you believe that?” I also get super excited, when I comment in such posts and then get a direct reply from the author. It’s a bliss. πŸ™‚ We people in the Sf/F [authors and fans] are really down to Earth, which is amazing.

  • April W

    I’m with you Harvey. I mostly just lurk, but I can tell you that coming to this blog is a high point in my day. Today, I’ve had a one of those Murphy’s Law days and I’ve barely been able to keep up and haven’t been able to get any words on paper. Coming here, I feel tied in and connected to other writers even if I just lurk.

  • I mostly lurk around here as well, and I agree, it’s great to be able to interact with writers both published and unpublished.

    I recently got married (Nov 1st) and months ago we planned our honeymoon which was a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary 2. Once onboard I found out that Christopher Buckley and Lynne Truss were traveling as well, and along with three editors/reviewers from the Sunday Times would be providing lectures and workshops on writing/publishing.

    I was amazed at how open they were and how willing to assist they were. I got one-on-one time with several of them and even had an essay evaluated by them.

    My voyage on the QM2 was incredible both from a “I just got married and I’m on my honeymoon on the QM2!” viewpoint as well as a “I can’t believe I’m able to interact with writers and editors on the QM2!”