This past weekend was the Locus Awards, held in Seattle in the shadow of the Space Needle. Connie Willis was a delight, as always, and she managed to insert Primeval and Andrew-Lee Potts references into an explanation of the Hawaiian-shirt legacy of Charles Brown; Paul Cornell was in stitches. Apparently the fingerless gloves give Potts a leg up over Harrison Ford. Hear that, fellas? Connie has spoken.
In addition to the awards ceremony, there were readings, panel discussions, and parties. “The Foundation of SF Success; or, Nibbled to Death by Ducks” panel was interesting. Kij Johnson had excellent points on success as a moving target, and how to wear an excellent dress. Some other comments brought to mind a recent SFWA interview with Connie, after her Nebula wins:
No artist is any good at judging his own work. Mark Twain thought Tom Sawyer was his best novel. Fred Astaire said he was “just a hoofer.” And when writers talk about what people like about their work, they’re usually dead wrong. I know what I like in books and movies, which is characters who are in over their heads and trying to do their best in impossible circumstances; mysteries that need to be solved; no-win situations; people who care about each other and about the world more than they do about themselves; revelations (both good and bad) that hit you right in the stomach and knock you off your feet; and irony. And I try to put all those in my stories.
I adore Agatha Christie, Thornton Wilder, Theodore Sturgeon, Dorothy Sayers, Mark Twain, Lenora Mattingly Weber, P.G. Wodehouse, Sigrid Undset, Vladimir Nabokov, Charles Williams, Robert A. Heinlein, Kit Reed, Philip K. Dick, Ursula Curtiss, Jerome K. Jerome, J.R.R.Tolkien, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Styron, Shirley Jackson, Alan Bennett, Rumer Godden, Lewis Carroll, Nick Welling, Richard Curtis, and Mary Stewart, and try to write like all of them.
And fail miserably. But whatever’s good in my books probably comes from them.” — from “Nebula Awards Interview: Connie Willis” by Helen Merrick, 12 March 2012
Other highlights included hanging out with friends, old and new; the anticipation of the incoming crop of Clarion West students; the Ray Bradbury memorial, with stories from William F. Nolan, author of Logan’s Run; Keffy pulling off three acceptance speeches on behalf of Cat Valente; Connie Willis’ Friday night reading, which ended in a massive cliffhanger (Note to self: Find that story when it comes out). All in all, a most excellent con weekend. I only wish I had signed up for the Hugo House class as well.
I also realized that I’m rather terrible at fielding questions about Clarion and Me. I stumble through a morass of “Nope I didn’t attend” and “That is, I’ve never applied” and “It sounds awesome!” which I mean with utmost sincerity though I worry it doesn’t come out that way. And then when I feel like I’ve dug the hole deep enough, I stop talking and try to escape the conversation. Geez, just typing that made me feel anxious. Note to self, next time just say I attended Viable Paradise instead. Or that maybe I’ll apply when I finish my Ph.D.
And lest I forget, here are the 2012 Locus Award winners!