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Epic Confusion - A Better Recap Post than Everyone Else

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Epic Confusion - A Better Recap Post than Everyone Else

Last weekend was somewhat surreal.  I'm not much of a fan boy, but I love books, and story telling, and intellectual masturbation.  And ConFusion was the embodiment of those three things.  I had personal conversations with a number of authors, met some of my fellow bloggers, and learned a lot listening to panels.  I drank beer, watched in awe as some women (and men dressed as women) walked around nearly naked (who maybe should have reconsidered), and felt a tiny bit out of my element.  What follows is a small sample of my crazy experiences.  Enjoy.


  • I had the opportunity to observe some of the biggest name authors in the business play a game of AD&D.  An homage to the game of old, they played 1st Edition rules with the The Keep on the Borderlands module.  Debut novelists Saladin Ahmed and Myke Cole DM'ed the game providing dynamic arrow thunks and armor pings throughout the game.  Ahmed especially may have a future in Audio book narration if the whole writing thing doesn't work out (it will).
Seven players total, including authors Elizabeth Bear, Jim C. Hines, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Peter Brett, Brent Weeks, and the indefatigable Jay Lake/Scott Lynch gnomish alagamation of death and destruction (read: color spray bot), made up a party of all non-human, non-good, non-sensical adventurers under the Sam Sykes definition.  With character names like D'ude (Hines), Darq Shadeuax (Abercrombie), and Master Lambernath (Rothfuss), the players blended perfectly the light hearted tradition of AD&D with a respect for the material and the integrity of the game. 
I expect a longer and more detailed write-up of this game will appear on another site at some point with extensive video evidence.  I taped around 3 hours of video that's now in the possession of THE AUTHORS.  When that happens, I'll post a link here.  Let me just say, there was a LOT of friendly fire. 
  • I spoke with Robin Hobb for like an hour.  What a nice woman, and an absolute fountain of knowledge about writing and publishing.  She attended panels she wasn't sitting on and chimed in with well thought out questions and comments.  Her assistant also tweeted me at some point to let me know that her boss was wearing her sweater.  This isn't relevant, but I found it hilarious.
  • Joe Abercrombie personally wished me luck with my blog.  He did it in a British accent though, so it's hard to be sure how sincere he was being.  I assume I'll be getting a weekly guest post from him.  Abercrombie didn't read from Red Country at the Con, instead going with The Heroes.  I was bummed, but again blown away by his writing -- his reading partner, Robin Hobb, seemed likewise enthralled.  It could have been his reading skills, which, along with John Scalzi, were the best at the Con.
  • Speaking of Scalzi, he read the prologue to Red Shirts.  Fucking awesome and laugh out loud funny.  That is all that needs to be said.  Scalzi also treated the audience to his rendition of women reacting to China MiĆ©ville in person.  Lots of screaming and cooing.
  • Brent Weeks is incredibly good with his fans.  That's not to say that the other authors aren't good with their's, but I just happened to be near Weeks several times when he really gave of his time.  He gets high marks from me for that... seriously.  He was the only panel participant to bring his laptop to the table.  I'm not sure if he had a few active e-bay auctions going, or was extra prepared.  Since he always came off really smart, I'll go with the latter.
    Photo by Myke Cole
  • I had two REGULAR cokes at this Con.  If you don't know, I'm a bit of a health nut and drinking non-diet soda is not a frequent occurrence.
  • Doug Hulick, author of Among Thieves, is 6'7 and dwarfed me.  I'm a large man.  We sat next to each other a few times during panels and our knees touched.  I think our relationship is stronger for that.  I did learn that for those of us eagerly awaiting the sequel to Among Thieves, it will be a little delayed.  Stay tuned on that front.
  • I met Patrick, from the YetiStomper blog.  He admitted a fear of meeting me in case I was a hulking hose beast of freaky nerd.  I'm not saying I'm not those things, but he seemed to take meeting me in stride.  His wife was also very nice, and patient during our discussions of the finer points of subgenre classification.  I'll point out that Patrick is far less a Yeti and more of a raging red panda.  That doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?
  • There are some frightening costumes at masquerades.  I'm not going  to go into detail, but... use your imagination... and you won't get close to wackier ones.
  • Peter Brett and Patrick Rothfuss finish each others' sentences.  It's adorable.
  •  Myke Cole moderated a panel where Rothfuss talked about a concept of 'daytime logic' versus 'nighttime logic'.  It was fairly mind blowing in how he related the paradigm to what fantasy taps into for the reader.  I wish I had recorded it.  Sorry.  It would be awesome if he did a blog post summarizing it.
  • While I'm on the topic of Myke Cole, he prefers beer with fruit in it.  Lots of buzz about his book Control Point at the Con too -- along with Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon.  I'm sure that had something to do with the fact they're both out in the next two weeks, but they're also REALLY good.
  • I had a great talk with Tobias Buckell about his new novel Arctic Rising.  I'll be posting a review of the novel, and a write-up of my conversation with him, very soon.  We talked a ton about environmental and technology, but also dug into his thoughts on publishing and cultural bias in the industry.
Can you find me?
Photo by Al Bogdan
  • Most of all, I seriously cannot express enough what a great experience the Con was.  From the organizers, to the other fans, to the authors, it was a totally inclusive experience.  Thanks to everyone that made that happen.


At January 24, 2012 at 7:27 AM , Blogger Paul Weimer said...

Sounds like I missed out. Thanks for the recap, Justin.

At January 24, 2012 at 7:43 AM , Blogger Scott said...

Awesome Recap Justin. That you even met those author's (let alone had discussion with them) is impressive and must have found you in awesome spirits!

Maybe I should have popped for the plane ticket and gone to this.

Looking fwd to the video.

At January 24, 2012 at 3:42 PM , Blogger Zafri Mollon said...

You're the man for standing up for 3 hours to record that thing. Can't wait to see it (but thanks for the recap in the meantime). It's appreciated.

At January 24, 2012 at 7:36 PM , Anonymous redhead said...

Yes, you were that handsome tall guy! (You look a little like my friend Joe, and I kept catching you out of the corner of my eye and wondering why Joe was at the Con)

Myke Cole, Jim Hines, and Patrick Rothfuss were also super cool with fans.

I am epically jealous of what you witnessed on Friday night.

and damn was there some crazy outfits!

At January 24, 2012 at 7:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful recap and much appreciated. I know a few of thes authors and know how wonderful they are with the readers and fans. I envey you getting to listen to such wonderful readings by the authors who wrote the stories.

ms laurel

At January 25, 2012 at 6:18 AM , Blogger Justin said...


If I ever write a novel, I'm going to put that first sentence under the author photo instead of a bio. #shameless


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