I arrived back at the Westin Waterfront around 10 am on Sunday. (Hint: driving into and out of Boston on Sunday is apparently the best day for traffic.) I’d been asked by Tom Easton to sit in on the anthology (why anthologies?) panel which started at 11 (he was hoping to expand the discussion to include magazines). But as often happens discussion and questions from the audience kind of derailed that. I did manage to get a mention of Bud Webster’s passing and his Anthropology 101 series of articles in. (You can find it here.)
Just prior to the anthology panel I hit the freebie table again; I figured that most everyone had had a chance to pick over the bones and felt a bit less conflicted about grabbing the stack of SF Chronicles I’d had my eye on. The pile was still there, so I grabbed.
Why them, the Locus and File 770s? Well – collector to begin with. I had a smattering of all three already in the collection and picking up a substantial holding all at once (for free) is kind of irresistible. I’m also an armchair SF historian (who gafiated for a couple of decades) and this gives me a chance to fill in some of the gaps surrounding various stories, rumors and happenings that I hear from time to time but don’t ask about (because who wants to rehash that stuff?). And finally, think it might be fun to do a little data mining of the old fashioned variety and share the no-doubt juicy tidbits that I am likely to uncover.
My first panel of the day concerned the economics of editing a publication – the basic hows and wherefores. Decently attended (good mix in the audience). I got to meet Shahid Mamud, the publisher of Galaxy’s Edge and Phoenix Pick books, for the first time in person (a pleasure). The panel basically agreed that the publishing industry is full of quirkiness; that it’s good to have a plan but that Murphy rules (thought everyone was in awe of how much Murphy had ruled over the Amazing Stories comic book project – illness, death, blizzards, lightning storms) and that having a strong sense of stick-it-ness was a job requirement. I was kind of an outlier on the panel as Amazing Stories has a few revenue streams (IP, licensing) that the others aren’t involved in.
My second and final panel began right after the first and this one was on editing. Again I was a bit of an outlier as the other panelists are all experienced book and fiction editors, while my experience is more aligned with non-fiction. During discussion that dealt with the actual nuts and bolts of dealing with authors and changes, I skated by stating that I’m pretty much only involved at the beginning and end of a piece: at the beginning I may suggest a topic I believe would be appropriate for a contributor (this happens infrequently as most of our contributors already know what they want to write about) and at the end where I may have to ask “are you sure you want this in print?” It got a chuckle.
The other subject that got chuckles followed the question: how does one get into editing? The answer: move to New York.
At the end of the panel I asked Patrick Nielsen Hayden if he wouldn’t mind taking the tie I’d made and giving to to Kathryn Cramer (David Hartwell’s widow), since he was more likely to see her before I did. He accepted.
It was then off for a final round of good byes (and one last check of that freebie table). I ran into Erin Underwood (another of our contributors) who’d handled programming this year and will be next year’s Boskone Chair. I also ran into Michael A. Burstein and family – we’d been trying to hook up with him in person for three or four years now. I also had a hang out with Frank Wu and David Drake (our on-staff photographer). Congratulated Frank on his sale to Analog (Frank is now both a pro artist and a pro writer!) and we spent a bit of time warding off Cthulhu (his plushiness put in an appearance) and talking story. David will have some photos for us later in the week.
I forgot to mention a discussion I had on Saturday concerning the World Fantasy Con and its lack of a anti-harassment policy. We were all agreed that WFC needs to have one now and that the manner in which the committee is not handling this issue is only exacerbating the problem. My recommended solution is: find a good, already-existent policy and post it on the site under the heading of “preliminary” policy. Then go and tweak it – quickly but thoroughly – and get the final version up as quickly as possible.
Final thoughts? There were lots of smiles walking out the door on Sunday. The David Hartwell memorial was touching, much-needed and well-handled. From what I was able to see, everything went very smoothly (except for perhaps a few hiccups with pre-registration that I understand are already being addressed).
Boskone has always been a decent con. Having attended regularly for the past several years it seems to me that it is steadily improving. If you’re on the east coast, you really ought to add it to your con schedule.