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Renovation World Con – Day 4 – The Hugos

Renovation World Con – Day 4 – Hugo day

Having run myself ragged for three days straight, I realized the need for moderation – sort of. There was only one panel that I was really hot to go to, and that was the Weapons and Armor Demonstration for Fantasy Writers.

This was as cool as it sounds.

Eytan Kollin is a big guy with big weapons and he knows how to use them. He demonstrated the weapons and discussed how they were used, how force worked, why one weapon was better for certain tasks and some points on how to identify a quality weapon. He also discussed how weapons needed to be cared for and the tactics of an experienced warrior. There were repeated examples of when the unimpressive short sword (the one hanging at his side) was more practical and versatile than a fancy or gigantic mega magical weapon. This demo was two hours and could have gone on two more. As it was, he had to rush the armor portion of the demo a little bit, but he still got a lot of essentials across.

Eytan Kollin shows off his Zweihänder

The Cleaver

Is this in her job description?

This covered entirely melee weapons. I think I’ll recommend that they add a panel on projectile weapons as well, and that they break this demo into two parts because there was so much good stuff to cover.

I hadn’t realized that the weapons demo was two hours and I had signed up for a Writer’s Workshop which was being held back at the Peppermill (about a mile, or a shuttle ride, from the Convention Center). So I scarfed down a con-dog and scurried over there. I had the convenience of it also being my hotel so I knew my way around a little bit.

The Writer’s Workshops are a critique group with two professional writers and three attendees. We had already seen and critiqued each other’s work. The pros running my section were Cassie Alexander and Russ Crossley.

The crit group was excellent. Everyone gave good thought and feedback to their comments. It made me feel great when Russ said when he sat down on a warm afternoon in his backyard to read my piece, which was the first three chapters of my novel, that he just read it from beginning to end and enjoyed it all the way through. Everyone pretty much agreed that it was an easy read and they enjoyed it. And most of the things they brought up were things I had been thinking might be issues for some people. I learned some new things to look out for, too. Having completely fresh eyes on it was very helpful. Now I’m certain of some things I need to address, and with the two Fantasy panels I attended on the previous afternoon, my brain is just bursting with ideas to help improve it. That it got such a positive reaction from complete strangers is quite encouraging.

That ended at 3pm. The Hugos started seating at 7:30pm. I could have gone back for another panel and then been jostling for space on the return shuttle, but this is where I decided on moderation. I went up to my room and worked on the Day 2 blog post, called my boyfriend etc. Then I got a tweet that Vylar Kaftan, great author and fellow Codexian, was putting together a dinner get-together for anyone who felt like showing up. As I was facing needing to figure out dinner plans I decided to join the party. We met at Chi in the Peppermill and had a group of nine. It was pretty perfect. We only had to steal one extra chair when Keffy arrived. Then we went as a group to the Hugo awards upstairs in the Tuscany Ballroom.

Let me start by saying that I don’t usually like awards shows. A lot of blah blah and fake humility and an industry patting itself on the back – okay, so maybe I’m thinking about Hollywood awards shows. The Hugo Awards, however, were quite different.

As I mentioned, the established pros of this industry have a great sense of community. They also have a great sense of humor. I think it comes from the fact that most SF folk were misfits growing up; no one takes themselves too seriously. Jay Lake and Ken Scholes were the hosts and they were very funny. Here’s a link to the video of the show if you want to watch the whole thing.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/16783348

One of the funniest jokes went something like this:

Jay Lake: Every winner suffers from imposter syndrome.

Ken Scholes: Except Harlan Ellison.

And the crowd roared with laughter.

Another highlight of the evening was when Chris Garcia, editor of The Drink Tank fanzine, won his Hugo. He was overwrought with emotion. At one point, he had to turn the spotlight over to his assistant? Or co-? editor to speak and he just sat down on the stage cradling the Hugo. When he was able to talk, his acceptance was incredibly heartfelt.

I guess one of my other favorite bits of the night was when Robert Silverberg got up to present Best Novella. He talked about how he usually presented with Connie Willis and how they would banter endlessly back and forth, building the suspense until the few remaining authors waiting for results couldn’t stand it anymore. But that since Connie wasn’t presenting this year, he wouldn’t be doing that. Then he went on to banter and talk for a good ten minutes. His comic timing was perfect and had us laughing the whole throughout. And this was near the end of the night so that was no small feat.

Here’s a link to the list of nominees and winners: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/08/announcing-the-2011-hugo-award-winners

After this, I was wiped out. Sorry gang, but no parties for me tonight. It seemed like it would be intensely chaotic and crowded. I got a coffee and an insanely huge chocolate chip coverered biscotti and sat in the café to wind down. I thought I might work up the energy, but no. I did enjoy the music playing next door in the bar though. Then came the usual story of the week. I went back to my room, and collapsed.

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