Geek motherhood

I bought the twentieth-anniversary edition of The Princess Bride and watched it with my kids this week, successfully introducing them to an integral aspect of geek culture.

And it took! (At least with my son–my daughter rightfully thought Princess Buttercup was useless.) Herewith my son doing an exceptionally cute Inigo Montoya. :-)
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Harlan-gate, and roads not taken

Okay. Here’s what I want to know about Harlan’s inappropriateness: Why didn’t any of us do anything in that moment? I’m asking sincerely, because I get furious with myself, after the fact, for actions I fail to take. When the groping happened, I was horrified; I leaned over and asked the person next to me if he thought it was staged; I was uncomfortable and shocked.

But I didn’t do a damn thing. I didn’t stand up and boo Harlan off the stage, or shout that it was inappropriate.

Peer pressure is enormous: we see it when someone gets a standing ovation, in when people stand up and when they sit down; either action is started by one person. If one of us had had the guts to stand up in that auditorium and say Harlan’s behavior was wrong–in that moment, as it should have been–I think many people would have followed suit.

And I get mad at myself because there have been too many situations in my life where I would swear, in the hypothetical, that I would react one way, and yet when the actual situation presents itself I’m so…shocked or surprised or hurt that I react in another way entirely. (I’ve been the object of plenty of inappropriate behavior, and I’m willing to bet that Connie would have sworn she’d react differently, too.) I don’t believe that we know what we’d do in a given situation until we’re actually in it, despite what we might say. A week ago, if someone had asked you what you would do if you were in a Hugo audience and Harlan grabbed Connie’s breast onstage while receiving an award, what would you have said your immediate response would be? Do you honestly believe it would have been “nothing” or “I would have leaned over and whispered about it” or “I’d have blogged about it when I got back to my computer”? If not, why didn’t we do what we think we should have?

Because that’s not what I envision myself doing, and it frustrates me.

WorldCon, updated

I’m still logy from the con. After I posted my con report yesterday, it occurred to me that I left out John Joseph Adams and David Barr Kirtley, with whom I had several breakfasts, and didn’t mention once the person I spent the most time with, who was Chris Roberson. He held court in the bar with a group that often included Rani Graff, Joel Shepherd, Paul Cornell and his wife, me, John Picacio…and damn, I’m forgetting people again.

I did not take a single photo all con, sadly. Lou Anders sent me this great one he took of me and John Picacio right before the Hugos, though. (John won the Chesley Award for Artistic Achievement this year and was up for a Hugo for Best Professional Artist.)
hoak and picacio

See? I did not exaggerate in my last post. The guy’s impressive (and a total hottie to boot). :-)


WorldCon was an awesome time. The hotels and convention center were all conveniently close, and every room on the party floor of the main hotel opened onto a huge outdoor deck that made the room parties more tolerable than at any other con I’ve attended. (The floor was unfortunately a maze, though, that made particular parties almost impossible to find in the first place; I still largely avoided the room parties.)

I had a wonderful time visiting with my nephew, who is incredibly impressive to talk to about fiction. I’m trying to get him to start up a blog to discuss SF/F, since he feels like no one else his own age is into examining it the way he is. He was a bit overwhelmed by the con experience, but I think he had fun.

My absolute highlight of the con had nothing to do with the con at all, but you’ll have to hear it anyway because I was so delighted: I got carded!!! For real! At forty! My nephew was with me, so I even have a witness. :-)

If I mentioned every single person I got to talk to with this would get incredibly boring, so I’ll hit on a few highlights. (Please forgive if you’re not here–there are too many people to list!) I got to meet Fiona Avery and Josh Conviser, both of whom I copyedit and both of whom seem very nice. Bob Silverberg bought me breakfast, and I got the embarrassing if funny opportunity to explain to him and Allen Steele what furries were. They both genuinely seemed not to know, which I couldn’t believe of people who’ve been to that many WorldCons. (I’d had to explain to my nephew why so many people were walking around with tails and such, which is how the subject came up.)

Diana Gill was kind enough to let me into the Eos party, which I attended with Elizabeth Glover and Jenny Rappaport. It was not as fancy as previous years, but still nice.

Hottie of Publishing Liz Scheier told me she reads my blog and loves it, which was wonderful to hear. (She quite well deserves that GalleyCat title, btw.)

Oh, and speaking of hotties…Supremely talented artist John Picacio (you ought to have this book of his work–it’s gorgeous) has absolutely the sexiest swagger I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. I highly recommend a walk behind the man, just to see him move. (He’s also really nice, in addition to all else, and sweet enough to blush and get self-conscious if he knows you’re watching–don’t tell him. ;-))

I got to attend the pre-Hugo excitement, courtesy of a fluke extra ticket. I’d always wanted to see what that was like, and…well, it wasn’t nearly as fancy as I’d imagined. It was still nice to see everyone in all their finery, though.

I hung out a bit with the gregarious Paul Cornell (who was up for the Hugo for one of his Dr. Who episodes) and his lovely wife, and I got to meet Cheryl Morgan of Emerald City, who was very nice and who says I’ve won some type of Emerald City Best-Dressed award. :-) Tor art director Irene Gallo is very sharp.

And…I’ve just run out of steam. I can’t even name everyone else I hung out with, but I did have a great time.

And now it’s to work. Ernesto looks as though it will pass straight over us as a tropical storm sometime tonight or tomorrow, and I’m worried we’ll lose power, which can take a while to get back here on the island. (I actually had this fear all WorldCon that a hurricane was going to come and my family would have to evacuate without me, so this isn’t too bad.) I’m going to use my computer while I can.

More ReaderCon photos

Here are some more ReaderCon photos I’ve collected over the last few weeks! (Sorry–I won’t always have so many photos in this blog! I hope it doesn’t load too slowly for you.)

Paul Witcover sent me this pic of the two of us:

Ern Lilley of SFRevu sent me all these others.

Here I am with John Scalzi (like he needs the link ;-)).

With Robert Legault, another copyeditor.

And with Ern Lilley, who obviously didn’t take this photo himself. :-)

With Allen Steele (that’s the Slush God and the Slushmaster in the background.)

Now, this… Ern wanted to take a picture of me, but I was all hunched over and cold in my coat. (The hotel was freaking freezing.) I said I’d lean back and show off my belly ring. Scalzi made some funny comment along the lines of “And they try to call us geeks” (except it was funnier than I’m saying–you had to be there), and everyone was laughing. Scott Bakker must have said something amusing, too, because I think I’m looking toward him, there.

And at some point at that table (I don’t remember when, honestly), the Cell Phone Camera War broke out! You see Peter Watts, Karl Schroeder, Scott Bakker, me, Scalzi (behind Allen), and Allen Steele. I think there was someone at the end participating as well, but I can’t recall who. Peter insisted his was the best because it was an actual camera instead of a lousy phone. The others were comparing features and resolutions. Scott and Karl either didn’t have cameras or are secure enough in their masculinity that they weren’t participating in the male posturing. ;-)

Me, well, clearly I was having fun watching the male posturing. :-D

(And Ian, I know there was one of the two of us somewhere, but it wasn’t in what Ern sent. Did someone else take it?)

I haven’t seen one photo of me yet from this con where I’m not grinning ear to ear and having an utterly fantastic time. If you weren’t there, you really should have been. :-)

What I did at ReaderCon

ReaderCon was fantastic. I couldn’t have picked a better venue for my fortieth birthday. I got to visit with wonderful people and had a blast all weekend long. If you’re wanting panel highlights and such, though, this post won’t be for you. I barely attended anything, electing to socialize instead. :-)

Here’s a group shot of Neil Clarke, Robert Legault, Eli Torres, China Miéville, me, John Klima, and John Scalzi.

With Matt Cheney:

With China:

With David Barr Kirtley:

With David Louis Edelman: . (There’s a better one of the two of us here, though it’s mislabeled.)

With David Hartwell. He and I share a birthday!

With JJA:

Peter Watts being silly.

I found David Louis Edelman (I’d been lucky enough to copyedit his novel Infoquake, which was great), JJA, and Douglas Cohen (, of Realms of Fantasy) right away, and I spent a lot of the con hanging out with them. Ernest Lilley, of SFRevu, took tons of pictures of me that I can’t wait to see, and I had fun visiting with him and Ian Randal Strock (whose name I’ve been mispronouncing for the last several years, I found out, much to my chagrin). Allen Steele’s an old bud of mine from the WorldCon Early Risers’ Club (he and I are the only two in it), and it was great to catch up with him, too.

Jeff Ford and Paul Di Filippo invited me to breakfast one morning, and I got to hear all kinds of wonderful writing conversation from them. Later that morning I met up with a friend of mine from high school who’s now a cardiologist at Boston Children’s, and it was great to see her.

John Scalzi pumped me up with enough compliments all by himself (and walked me around the dealers’ room counting the looks he said I got and dropped conversations I caused, of which I was utterly unaware :-)) to last me to whatever my next con is; he’s wonderfully gregarious and outgoing. (I was so impressed with him that I went and bought Old Man’s War and devoured it in five hours on the way home–it’s incredibly rare for me to read purely for pleasure any more, so it’s a big compliment. :-))

What else…? Oh, yeah. Matt Cheney wished me happy birthday every time I saw him. I discovered that I share a birthday with David Hartwell of Tor! (He led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to me at my celebration, which was wonderful.)

I found that Beth Meacham has a delightfully droll sense of humor. I saw Liz Gorinsky there, looking as gorgeous as always, and she was kind enough to praise my copyediting to other editors.

Elizabeth Bear propped another writer’s mouth closed when he was gaping at me in my birthday outfit (which I have to admit I felt pretty sexy in). :-D It was very funny.

I had a fantastic copyediting conversation with James Morrow and his wife; they both seem born copyeditors. We discussed linguistics and hypercorrection and the difficulties of writing when you want something to be just right. They invited me to the final dinner of the con, but I hesitated to crash the party.

Another great copyediting conversation ensued outside the bar later that day, this one with Michael Burstein and his wife.

I got to visit some with Robert Legault , a copyeditor whose comments here always seem right on target, and I spoke ever so briefly to fellow copyeditor Eli Torres (about how nice it is to cuddle with muscled-up men ;-)).

Paul Witcover bought me a beer and gave me a signed copy of his Dracula: Asylum for my birthday. Kelly Link gave me a yummy chocolate bar and a copy of Naomi Mitchison’s Travel Light. China came to my birthday celebration, which I thought was awesome considering his schedule there. I shared a beer with Ann Zeddies (another author of mine) and talked about all kinds of things. I listened to Tom Disch go on (and on and on ;-)) about how utterly gorgeous Rose Fox is, and how much she favors her father.

I talked to R. Scott Bakker and Karl Schroeder and Patrick O’Leary and Andrew Morse and John Bowker and Tempest Bradford and Alan DeNiro (who was kind enough to offer to buy me a shot for my birthday, though I turned it down) and probably a ton of other people whose names I’m shamefully forgetting.

I was complimented all con on how great I look, which was a wonderful salve for turning forty. :-)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden gave me perhaps my favorite compliment I had all con, though, saying how she had watched me keep my online cool under “intense provocation” and likening it to her favorite saying related to arguing: “Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the Valley.” :-)

So you see, I just didn’t have time for panels. Maybe next ReaderCon will be different. :-)


I’ve been working loooooooonnnng days (sorry for not participating more in my last entry–people had so many interesting things to say!) to try to get through all the work I’ve had so that perhaps I could go to ReaderCon. By today I’ve decided that I’m going to make it!

I sincerely doubt I’ll have time to arrange myself a birthday party (40 on the 10th, oh my…;-)) before I go, but I will celebrate there regardless.

And if I can manage to arrange a party, I will. Any of you who might like to come to such a hypothetical party (some of you answered here already), just leave a comment or otherwise let me know. :-)


I went up to OASIS just for the day, to do the panels I was on. It was fun. I sat next to Piers Anthony in the “Ask the Pros” panel, and he was very nice to me. (I was somewhat surprised because, well, I’d somehow gotten the notion that he hates copyeditors.)

At one point, after being asked whether it was a foregone conclusion that you could sell books once you’d had success with several, he replied that it wasn’t, necessarily, if you wanted to write other things than the novels that had done so well. He said, “It’s like being a beautiful woman. People only want one thing from you, and once they get it, they want it twice a day and then they think they own you.” Then he turned to me and asked, “Do I have it about right?” :-D

Heh. Actually, most of the guys I’m attracted to seem far more interested in my brains than my body. Comes from having a thing for writers and being a damn good copyeditor, I guess. :-D

Sex, hell, you can find that anywhere. A great copyeditor, though… ;-)