Thursday, October 05, 2006

This is it, there is no more...

Mes Amis

So that was the usual incredibly detailed blather about B'Con. Elsewhere on the web someone has complained about "mystery dorks" and other people have asked whether anyone has anything bad to say about these things: surely, they say, not everyone can have had so much fun. After all, all the blogs seem to be "I met so and so and then had this great discssion and there were drinks and..." But its because, seriously, you go into this with the right frame of mind and that's what its like.

Look, they're not perfect (what is?), and in a way they're for the "dorks" only. Because B'Con is like a big freakin' party to celebrate the crime world. Its inclusionary in its way as long as you know what to expect. Its not a place for serious introspection. There are awards. And parties. And backslapping drinks at the bar. Because, fuck it, everyone needs to relax in a while.

Fans and writers and editors and booksellers and all sorts come together to have fun and celebrate one of the most diverse genre markets currently going. If you come expecting a serious look at the world of crime writing, you might find it on a few panels (which is the work part of the day) but on the whole most people are wanting to kick back and relax. To say, "we've done it again: survived another year in the cuththroat world of publishing!". The people who piss me off at these things are the ones who market themselves to the point of being intrusionary. Even Joe Konrath admits this year that sometimes you do better keeping a low profile. And even Joe's marketting, I must admit, at least has an enthusiastic honesty to it.

There are guys I meet at these things whose books I have never read. And I pick them up based on how they a) come across in panels or b) come across at the bar. Last year I picked up Sean Doolittle's books cos he seemed a nice guy. Steven Torres is so nice and enthusiastic about everything that I had to buy his books and yet he seems almost shy about their quality (he shouldn't be). You meet these guys, you see them on panels, you think, a guy like that's gotta write a good book and you check them out, but when someone says "read my book, read it ya bast!" it has an almost perverse effect on you. One guy I met sounded like he had an interesting book, but he kept trying to sell it to me so much, I just thought, screw it, pal, I don't care.

Look, there's reflection and discussion and even marketting to be had at Bouchercon if you know where to look, but for me, the best thing about it is that I get to hang with some of the coolest guys and gals I know. I get to learn a little more about a genre I love. I get to laugh at some of the insanity that plagues it, too (The 3 Musketeers mysteries? Doll Maker mysteries? Mad Cow Mysteries that have "a rousing climax"?). I get to try drinks like "Ambergeddon" and have an excuse to travel to new and exciting places (Yeah, Madison's exciting to me: its a whole other universe to this lad from Fife) And there are dorks and obsessives, sure. I'm probably one of them. But wherever you have fandom you have the insane brigades, and they're often such nice people, too.

Go into Bouchercon relaxed and ready to just meet some great people and have some cool discussions and you'll have the time of your life. Is there room for improvement? Oh, aye, some things could do with tweaking and no one ever quite gets the mix of panels entirely right (although this year only one panel marred my experience) but on the whole as a celebration of a genre and a community that is open and welcoming even to a wee nyaf like me, I think its a wonderful thing and long may it continue

Having said all of this, I will likely not be at Alaska next year. Matters of cash and all. But I'll be back in Baltimore. Apparently if I'm not, someone's going to break my legs...

On Sunday, I returned with the Jordans to Milwaukee. We sat around and talked and I realised how quiet it was and when I left it was with a touch of sadness that I was no longer being rushed around with people squinting oddly at my chest or introducing themselves or telling me I was actually supposed to be somewhere.

I'm back home, now, in my fortress of solitude and its great and rejuvenating and its nice to be back home. But after the insanity of B'con, I kinda miss that headache urgency of the morning and slow, loud socialising of an evening.

Until, of course, the next time it happens...

We now return you to the usual inanity.

Au revoir


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