Saratoga Springs, NY -- largest World Fantasy Convention
to date. Whew. I won't attempt to be all-inclusive about the people pleasures of this con. Too many to count. Here's a brief set:
MC'd the International Horror Guild Awards
ceremony and was honored to be amongst this year's nominees. I figured since the IHG folks asked me to MC, then I was surely not going to win the IHG Artist Award, since I couldn't imagine them making me feel icky by having an MC also win an award. I was wrong. Paula Guran read that category and announced that it was a tie and Aeron Alfrey
and I had both won. Congrats to Aeron, and I'm pleased to be in his creative company along with the other Artist finalists this year: Camille Rose Garcia
, Chris Mars
, and J.K. Potter
. According to Cheryl Morgan
, the ceremony took 28 tidy minutes (minus the time for Jo Fletcher and Ramsey Campbell's brilliant speeches in recognition of Ramsey's Living Legend Award). A real pleasure and an honor to be part of the whole affair, and needless to say, much celebrating with Maudite on-tap ensued that evening with my pals Lou Anders, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, and company. Maudite is a Belgian ale and it means "the damned one," which summed up my head the following morning. Well worth it though.
The Art Show was world-class. To date, one of the very best con art shows I've ever been associated with. Props to Ted and Bonnie Atwood, and the committee who made it happen. The list of illustrators displaying at this year's show included Moebius, Donato Giancola, Bob Eggleton, Charles Vess, Gary Lippincott, Les Edwards, Todd Lockwood, Shaun Tan, Vincent Villafranca, and a ton of other amazing folks. I've gotta single out two guys though. Robert Weiner -- Robert didn't display any paintings of his own, but he's responsible for giving the con a rare 38-painting exhibition of some of the best of the legendary Jeffrey Jones. The bulk of the works were from Robert's personal collection and it was a herculean effort on his part to do that for the con. Personally, I can't thank him enough. It was the visual highlight of the whole weekend for me.
Derek Ford -- a pleasure to see this young guy's vision and abilities rapidly blossoming. He presented a fascinating set of ink drawings along with his first oil painting. Pretty courageous, that oil painting, considering the experienced competition surrounding him, but the talent and enthusiasm is oh-so-clear. Extremely pleased to see him recognized with a WFC Certificate of Merit for his drawing "Ganesh" and he was on Cloud 9 the night of the Art Show Reception, as you can see. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this guy's got a very, very bright future if he keeps trucking along. Way to go, Derek.
Amongst these luminaries, I managed to hold my own with my own display. Included were a set of original pencil drawings that will appear in the upcoming Del Rey release ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS
. That set of drawings won a Judges' Choice Award at the show, and I was pleased to be amongst the list of winners along with Tom Kidd, Stephen Hickman, Mike Dringenberg, and all the rest, which you can see here
WFC is very much a professional con, but let's be honest, most of the real action happens in the bar and after-hours. Left to right (back): Jae Brim, Sophia Quach, Joe McCabe, Karen Jones; foreground: Jen Heddle. Orbit
pitched a dynamite launch party on Saturday night at Tiznow's
. Pictured here like two stealthy animals caught in the middle of dark dealings: Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books
and Lou Anders of Pyr
I could attempt to list all of the good folks at this con if I tried, but I'd still miss way too many. Very quickly though....some folks not pictured, but equally appreciated -- Jess Nevins, Paul Cornell, George Mann and Marco Gascoigne of Solaris, Michael Rowley, David Louis Edelman, Cheryl Morgan, Rani Graff, David Anthony Durham, Jeff Ford and family, Irene Gallo, Todd Lockwood, Diana Gill, Liz Scheier, Therese Littleton, Jacob McMurray, Liza Trombi, Jim Minz, John Klima, Andy Wheeler, Ellen Datlow, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Bruce Coville, Ted Chiang, Chris Cohen, Jae Brim, Diana Rowland, Paula Guran, Steve Jones, Mike Willmoth, Beth Gwinn, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Hal Duncan, Sharyn November, Sheila Williams, Deanna Hoak, Jetse de Vries, Jeff Mariotte, Maryelizabeth Hart, and....oy, the mental list goes on, so I'll stop there. Apologies to anyone I didn't mention. Blame the Robitussin. Special thanks to Holly and Theo Black for sage advice about the childrens and YA book markets.
Congrats to all the winners
of the World Fantasy Awards this year. The banquet was cause for celebration for me. Not so much for my own nomination in the Artist category, but moreso, for good friends who were first-time nominees. John Klima was nominated for his work on ELECTRIC VELOCIPEDE
; Scott Cupp (pictured left, with Mark Finn and his wife Cathy) was nominated for his anthology CROSS PLAINS UNIVERSE
and Mark was nominated for BLOOD & THUNDER: THE LIFE OF ROBERT E. HOWARD
. I was also pleased to see Greg Ketter acknowledged for the first time. None of them won, and many of my other faves didn't either (congrats to Jeff though for "Botch Town"), but the entire winners list was diverse and fabulous. Special congrats to Shaun Tan who won the World Fantasy Award in the Artist category for the second time in his career.
More photos from the festivities:
Chris Roberson and Allison Baker of MonkeyBrain Books
, who as per usual, along with Lou Anders are pretty much the longest-running fixtures for me in my professional career and it's amazing that we all connected not so many years ago via the WFC. Much of the pleasure of winning the IHG Award on Thursday night was that it was a direct acknowledgement of COVER STORY: THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO
, which they published via MonkeyBrain. A team win shared by the three of us, as far as I'm concerned.
Left to right: Mark Kelly of Locus Online and Rome Quezada of the Science Fiction Book Club
Left to right: Paul Cornell, Lou Anders, David Louis Edelman, and yours truly. A tremendous weekend across the board. My body's still recovering. Back to drawing and painting. Onward to Calgary next year!