I was thinking I'd do a general write-up on my return, but I suspect I'll be too whacked for a day or so to face such an epic task, especially as the heat in England is reportedly much on a par with what we have in Boston at the moment - or not much less. So here - in the minutes I have before going out to mooch around Harvard with diceytillerman - are a few highlights (and a couple of lowlights), some illustrated.
Reykjavik airport - where I stopped over on the way here - is home to "The World's Most Famous Icelandic Hot Dog". Not just Iceland's most famous, note, but the world's. This tickles me more each time I think about it. I must try one on the way home tonight.
Queuing nervously in passport control, I started to feel faint and hot, and my nose began to run. It was the beginning of a low-level fever that stayed with me through most of Readercon, unfortunately, meaning that I had to keep going off to lie down when I should have been partying and meeting people. At first I put the tiredness down to jetlag and the alternating shivers and sweats to the climactic extremes inherent in staying at an American hotel (as discussed here previously), before I finally twigged that I really wasn't well. nineweaving caught me at a very low ebb on the last morning, though, and came to my rescue with a packet of Advil - after which things perked up considerably.
In between times I did get to spend some time with nineweaving, negothick, ethelmay and rushthatspeaks, and more fleetingly with sovay and vschanoes - all of whom it was lovely to meet (or re-meet in nineweaving's case). I saw some great readings by rushthatspeaks and sovay, and a bravura performance by nineweaving. I gave a reading of my own, attended by a select audience, fully one of half of whom was ethelmay, and I made a rather indifferent contribution to a panel on problematic books. The best panels, I decided, were the ones that dealt with specific questions (such as the importance of hair in fantasy) rather than baggy and complex subjects that are best addressed with long pauses for thought rather than off the cuff. I came away with a copy of nineweaving's chapbook and a novel by ethelmay's mother for the plane - though I've dipped into (and much enjoyed) both already. I was also introduced to the dubious but seductive concept of "trail mix" - my culinary discovery of the con:
At lunchtime on Sunday I was picked up by Susan Cooper, who took me to her house in Marshfield Hills for the night. By now unwoozy, I had a marvellous time, and it was great to see her again. Here we are in Scituate - but we didn't consider till afterwards that we might have asked someone to take a picture with both of us in it...
She has an amazing house, and we spent quite a bit of time mooching around it when we weren't working up to and then recovering from the traumatic task of boiling lobsters alive. (Next time, a salad will be fine.) And here I can't resist including what is, perhaps, the apotheosis of fandom. Susan has a "bragging wall", on which she keeps posters and similar items relating to her career:
See that black-framed letter at the bottom? Let's take a closer look...
That's right - it's a fan letter I wrote her fifteen years ago, just after my second novel came out, and which she liked enough to put up there. Here, my friends, is a squee that will never be harshed. Oddly enough, in that letter I refer to a fan letter I wrote fifteen years before that, when I was at university. What will 2028 bring?
But this has taken longer than I meant, and I must break of here to call a cab. More soon from Bristol, all being well.