The dealers' room was well stocked with books and some other nice things, and the art show had some good work. The level of programming was pretty consistent— two panels and four readings (a half hour per reading) each hour.
Tom Doyle read his science fictional take on Indian mythology, The Garuda Bird. Geoff Landis read a very funny (and highly not safe for work) story called “Old Tingo's Penis.” Mary Turzillo read two partial stories, one with a sort of science fictional Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole feel to it, and one with a (literally) man-eating mermaid. Joe Haldeman read from an unfinished novel (I believe the title will be Starbound) set in a post-apocalyptic future. Carol Berg read from the soon-to-be-released fantasy novel/mystery The Soul Mirror, and Nancy Kress read two short stories, “Deadly Sins,” and a chilling story about the down side of genetic engineering.
Lost in Translation
Panelists: Gilli Bar-Hillel, Jetse DeVries, Tom Crosshill, John Klima, Jo Fletcher, W.J. Maryson
This proved to be a very interesting panel, and while it was supposed to be about translating humor, most of it was just about the translation of literature in general. Everyone on it had translated science fiction and fantasy, or had commissioned translations of it. Except for John Klima and Jo Fletcher, all of them were from countries where English was not the primary language. Some interesting tidbits I learned: many writers don't like to translate their own work even if they speak the language it's being translated to; English has more synonyms than most other languages (comes of being a polyglot language); Hebrew has no vowels; and poetry is the hardest thing to translate.
The Fantasy of James Thurber
Panelists: Ginjer Buchanan, Andy Duncan, David Levine, Sharon Reamer, Elaine Isaak
I missed part of this. It was more about how funny and under-appreciated Thurber's work was. I was impressed with how well the panelists knew his work. Also, describing a cartoon can keep some of the humor but it's just not the same as seeing it for yourself.
The banquet was nice. We met a nice mix of people at our table (all writers except my husband and a reader/book dealer). The award winners are posted here; listening to the winners' speeches was fun, as always.
I have been to eight WFCs, and enjoyed every one. They have a sort of family reunion feel to them now. I have friends I see (in person anyway) only at WFC. It's wonderful to catch up with them, and because WFC is kept small-ish in size (about 1,000 folks, roughly), you constantly run into your friends over and over. It's also easy to meet new people. I sat down to talk to a friend this afternoon and ended up chatting with Guest of Honor Dennis McKiernan and his wife Martha (he calls her Martha Lee; it's so cute).
In fact, even though we don't think we can make it next year, we will bought memberships for next year's WFC in San Diego (Neil Gaiman is the GoH!). If it does work out, time, money, and annual-leave-wise, we would hate to miss it because we hadn't bought memberships.
Next year in San Diego!