Friday dawned and I was feeling much better. I made it back to Worldcon around 10 a.m., and as there were several panels I wanted to see, I ended up dithering and didn't make it to any of them. I did catch the "Turkey City turns 40" panel with Chris N. Brown, Eileen Gunn, Don Webb, Jessica Reisman, Howard Waldrop and Lawrence Person, which was good fun and, seeing has how I've attended half a dozen of them, I had some skin in the game. As my earlier "History of Steampunk" panel got cancelled, the programming folk subbed me onto the "Steampunk: Trend or Genre" panel, alongside Lou Antonelli, Gail Carriger and Jess Nevins. I've known Lou and Jess forever, and the panel went very well. I even learned from Carriger that the steampunk aesthetic arose independently of the literary trend, and has a variety of disparate, unrelated origins. A prime example of "steam engine time," that. I like to think I didn't dumb down the discussion too much. After the panel, I found my lack of advance preparation to be a huge mistake: Faced with a number of panels I wanted to attend, I couldn't come to a decision and retreated to the art show and dealers room yet again. After grabbing a bite to eat in the green room, I joined up with Joe Lansdale for the "Adapting Bubba Ho-Tep for Film and Other Tales" event. Playing ringleader to Joe's circus is incredibly easy--all I have to do is get out of the way and Joe keeps the audience in stitches with his hilarious stories. The lack of communication that plagued LoneStarCon 3 reared its ugly head here, though. Following the hour-long discussion of Joe's filmmaking experiences, the convention had scheduled a screening of the afore-mentioned Bubba Ho-Tep. Except they hadn't told Joe, who wouldn't have know had I not informed him the day before. Not only that, but the con apparently failed to make arrangements to secure a copy of the film for showing--Joe had to call up to his room and get his wife, Karen, to bring down a DVD (which they luckily had). Nobody from the convention showed up to operate the projector. That's a lot of assumptions and expectations to place upon a guest of honor when you don't communicate well. Following a hasty dinner of a mediocre kabab from the Rivercenter Mall food court, I dropped by the "Astronaut cocktail party" put on by Amy Sissom and Paul Abell. And when those two put on an astronaut cocktail party, they don't screw around: Cady Coleman, a veteran astronaut with 4,330 hours in space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and the International Space Station, was the guest of honor. And I have to say, there was not a party at the convention the entire weekend that was anywhere near as packed as this one was. I made the following observation when Coleman appeared during the Hugo Awards ceremony, but it bears repeating here: ApolloCon in Houston being a particularly juicy nexus for NASA involvement. That's a great thing in my book. Elsewhere, the Dell and Tor parties were great fun. I got to sit in on some great conversations and interact with great people, including Ron Collins (who I hadn't seen in 15 years), Ann Vandermeer, Gardner Dozois, Steve Gould, Laura Mixon... the list goes on. Around midnight I decided to conserve my resources and headed for home. After all, I still had three days to go.
Chicken Ranch Central