Boskone: Day 2

This may be a short report.

Today, we got up, used coupons provided by the convention to reduce the cost of our too-expensive breakfast (it wound up around $10,) after which we went to the dealer’s room and stayed all day. Inventory took a little bit longer than we wanted it to, and people were coming in while we were still putting tallies in the spreadsheet. Then it was just doing the business of the table, which mostly involved watching people walk by with visible disinterest.

Around 2PM, I went to an nearly empty hallway and interviewed Steven Wilk for the SPBU podcast. Two recordings secured. Two more interviews tomorrow, one of which is going to be pretty special.

There’s not much else to talk about, really. Comparing this experience with Arisia, the people of Boskone are a little older and a little more standoffish. The vibe is different. Boskonians have seen some shit, and their time in the trenches has darkened the light of their eyes. I’m only exaggerating a little bit.

Let’s talk about two people that came by the table, and offered me entirely different experiences.

The first was a battle-axe that climaxed our conversation with the notion that the only reason N. K. Jemison received her Hugos is because she’s black. So, an idiot and a racist. I found this out because I asked her what she likes to read, and she mentioned a series with “cormorant” in the title, which I’ve never heard of. Apparently this is an award winning series, and how dare I not know what she was referring to! While writing this, I went googling for a Hugo winning story with “cormorant” in the name and I’m coming up blank. So, I don’t know. Maybe “cormorant” was the author’s last name?

UPDATE: Melissa found the book she was talking about. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. I’m not going to hold this lady’s behavior against the author or this story. I hope I never have fans like her, though.

Speculative fiction is big, and I personally think it’s fine if someone hasn’t read all of it. But she was somehow challenging me, so I said, “I’m not sure if I’ve chased any Hugo award winners since The Three Body Problem or The Fifth Season.” That’s when this angry woman showed me her racism card.

The conversation went on a few more minutes, but I didn’t really want to sell her any of our books, or provide her entertainment. She’s a definite outlier, as most of the people I talked with had the exact opposite notion with regards to SciFi and race.

The other person of note today was a young writer that’s nervous about seeking publication. They were uncertain they should identify as a writer, and I talked to them about the differences between being a writer and being a professional writer. They seemed to be enjoying the conversation, and they were eager for advise. They also seemed to be enjoying my stories and anecdotes around writing The Repossessed Ghost.

Eventually, they got me talking about Spin City, at which point their eyes went wide. They took a step back, looked at the cover of The Repossessed Ghost and said, “Oh! I thought I recognized your name.”

“What?” I said.

“I’ve read that book!”

Spin City? It hasn’t been released yet.”

“I picked up an editor’s copy from a store in New York. It said ‘Not For Resale’ but it had your name on it and it’s just what you were describing.”

That pretty much took away the rest of my words, because there’s really no reason Spin City should be out in the wild, at all. Our pleasant conversation wound down to its natural conclusion. I think they bought a copy of One for the Road and they still seemed genuinely happy to have talked to me.

Chances are, they fed me a line of bullshit about reading Spin City. I have submitted it a couple of times, but I can’t see any reason it would have been printed out, and it would be extremely unprofessional for my submissions to wind up in some random book store in New York. It seems extremely unlikely that my story would go that route, and even more unlikely that the person that picked it up in the book store would randomly run into me in Boston.

Don’t get me wrong. I want my story to be out in the world. But not like that.

Overall, it was a rather slow day in the dealer’s room. Many people grazed by, with very few willing to stop and take a bite. I joked with Stephen Brewer, “To get more sales, we need to plant the seed, bait the hook, load the gun, strike for the heart, then cut off the head just to be sure.”

“That’s going to cut into our return customers.”

“Maybe we can skip a few of those last steps, then.”

Here’s hoping tomorrow is good sales day. We’re going to close down at 2PM local time, and then somehow figure out how we’re going to get so many unsold books into our bags and through our flight. It’s going to be challenging.

When next I post, it will likely be from San Francisco, between flights.