Phoenix Comicon

I generally don’t write about conventions and the like, but since my trip to Phoenix involved my very first comicon, I thought I’d make an exception, particularly since my first F&SF convention was almost thirty years ago, and that means this is likely to be one of the few convention reports I ever make.

Yesterday, I had just checked in as a guest author at the Phoenix Comicon when, out of the blue, sirens blared, and lights flashed, and loud-speakers announced a possible emergency and ordered everyone to walk quietly to stairs and exits and not to take elevators and escalators and to leave the building… out into 108 degree heat.  The problem?  A concession stand had been located too close to a heat sensor. And that was my introduction to the Phoenix Comicon.

Later on Thursday, there was a science fiction and fantasy author kickoff panel, and I found myself seated between Carrie Vaughn and Naomi Novick, and the three of us were flanked by Patrick Rothfuss and John Scalzi, with Scott Lynch and Seanan McGuire next to John, while a pair of troubadours named Paul and Storm serenaded us with a semi-rock parody ballad which was a sort of ode to George R.R. Martin” that extolled George to “write faster, write like the wind.”  I can’t remember much of the rest of the song because I was laughing too much, except for the line complaining about “killing all our favorite characters” and wondering if there’d be anyone left to kill after the next book.

I also discovered I had an actual table, conveniently next to Gini Koch, who writes books much funnier than mine, and across from Yvonne Navarro, and some twenty yards from the empty table of John Scalzi, who clearly has no need to talk to fans – actually he has to avoid them after his popularity almost caused a riot at the San Diego Comicon, or so several very reliable sources reported to me.  I did a signing at the Tor booth on Friday, and Tor actually gave out free copies of The Magic of Recluce for me to sign.  The time for the signing ended just about the time the copies ended; so that was for the best.

Saturday I had a panel on World Building economics, and it showed just how far F&SF has come in terms of economic sophistication. Twenty years ago, almost no one but me talked about or made economics central to their fantasy. At this panel, I had Pierce Brown on my left, who also has a degree in economics as well as spent several years in the financial industry, and Scott Lynch on my right, who has engaged in extensive studies of medieval and Renaissance-level economies and banking systems.  Possibly the best F&SF economics/worldbuilding panels I’ve ever been on… and Scott and Pierce were also most humorous.  Sunday brought back-to-back panels: “The Really Epic Epic Fantasy Panel” and “Keeping A Long-Running Fantasy Series Fresh.”  Both followed their descriptions.

On Monday, I got to the airport early, but possibly not early enough, because I discovered that my flight to Salt Lake had been delayed, and that I’d just missed an earlier flight, meaning that I’d miss my flight home to Cedar City.  As I write, I’m sitting in the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, wondering whether I’ll make the Cedar City flight in Salt Lake [highly unlikely, but barely possible, at least theoretically, if I sprint through the Salt Lake airport, provided there are no more delays] or whether I’ll have to cool my heels in Salt Lake for five hours and have to have my wife drive 60 miles to pick me up in Saint George slightly before midnight.

In any case, that’s the only cliff-hanger I can provide.

LATER NOTE:  I did have to hasten [half run/ half brisk walk] through the Salt Lake Airport to make my connection.  I made it, just as they were closing the doors, but my suitcase didn’t.

3 thoughts on “Phoenix Comicon”

  1. JakeB says:

    I’m glad you made it home without having to hang out in the airport all evening, although the missing suitcase is an annoyance. But not as bad as losing it for the outbound would be, at least.

  2. Ryan Jackson says:

    I do apologize for the issue Thursday. I love PCC and support it actively (where I got my wife and I’s side business started, so has a special spot aside from being out favorite con) But the Convention Staff seem to always be a slight bit off.

    Glad to hear it was an overall good experience though, means you might come back some year. Also glad to hear about what happened with the Tor booth. I came by at one point thinking I might grab a new copy and get it signed for my mother (Who got me into your work) but the staffer seemed confused by the notion. Came back the next day and they were gone, but hearing they went to fans to help promote you makes that all okay in my eyes.

    PS: Not that you have any reason to remember but in case you prefer names to faces, I was the gentleman in your Spotlight panel in purple, then at your booth later in the Cream and black uniform.

    Thank you again for your time, I will be looking forward to the next Recluce, Imager and whatever other works you choose to write.

    1. I did wonder who you were. I tend to remember names better than faces, especially when I’ve seen a name often, but, unless my memory is failing, which it well might have been at Comicon with all the new faces, I don’t recall you introducing yourself, only saying that you liked my books.

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