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March 26, 2003

Travel Wrap-up

Here's a brief overview of recent travels, with a focus on the florida conference that I posted to The Harrow's dicussion list. Thought it might wrap things up neatly. February found me in northern japan working at Future University, and coming home with lots of nice tech toys. Early march I drove to Austin for SXSWi, a big web and interactive conference, got to trash the notion that blogging and for more than an elite group of the privileged. This was great, cause all the A-list bloggers and blog designers were in the audience. But that's of scant interest to you all. Last week I was in florida (palm island) to write a paper on 12th C Latin Vampires, and then present it at IAFA in ft lauderdale. My knowledge of all the cool people in sifi and fantasy is limited, but the first person I met was Brian Aldiss. Just by luck, as he was just standing at the bar. Got to talk about philip pullman and living in south east asia. He pointed out all the regulars I should know. I only recognized the name Peter Straub, not being much of a horror person (sush! don't tell dru), I'd not read any of his books. I was there for the vampires. I did run into my parenial fav Joe Haldeman, and got him to autograph my 10th copy of The Forever Wars. 10th because I always give my copies away. Not this time. I commented that I thought it was a particularly interesting read in light of the attacks that had just started. He cringed and muttered something about not wanting to profit from this war. If you don't know Joe, he teaches Sifi and writing at MIT. Also got to chat with David Skal (Hollywood Gothic) a half dozen times. He has done great vampire work, and knows as much as anyone. though he says he's mined the field out. I spent the most time, dumb luck on my part with Chelsea Quinn Yarboro, after I'd been warned to only call her quinn. She is best buddies with Elizabeth Miller, who had dragged me to the conference in the first place, and made sure that I wasn't sitting alone in the corner tooo much. Never read any of her St Germaine series, but i did read one of her earlier books, which she also thought fondly of. Couldn't remember the title, but she did. :) The reason for mentioning her, was her willingness to discuss the struggles of someone who's been published for the past 30 years, and has made a living out of it. Mostly, she says, because she and her sister inherited the family home in berkely, and the fact that she can pound out 3 novels a year (I don't think she's really done 90 novels though). The impossibility of dealing with insane publishers who don't understand books, the future of epublishing (which she likes) and other things. If you can guess, everyone at the conference was also a presenter, so you didn't feel that the authors didn't feel hounded by fans, but just chatting with other marginally employed people in similar fields. Everyone should consider attending at some point in their writing careers... what you can learn just at the poolside bar is worth the price of admission. There as a film crew over to shoot a documentary for the DVD version of the upcoming movie ""Van Helsing"". They interviewed all the folks who will not be coming with us to Hungary and Romania in May. There are two more vampire conferences there, and the crew's coming along with us. They couldn't care about me, but Elizabeth's the ranking Dracula Scholar d00d. Anyone who wants a bit of dirt from Dracula's 'real' castle, let me know."

Posted by jason at March 26, 2003 08:32 AM