Every hour I spend here feels both more real and more illusory. The first order of business today was a tour of Author Services, Inc, where the WotF anthologies get produced. It’s a palatial building filled with light wood panelling, and nearly every square foot of wall is used to display a pulp magazine cover, a glass trophy, or a framed letter from an author like Ray Bradbury or Steven King. There were also pictures of the various celebrities who’ve associated themselves with the contest. My favorites were the portraits of Bradbury, Nnedi Okorafor, Mark Hamill, and one delightful photo of a young Pat Rothfuss grinning in a tophat beside a young Sean Astin. Seeing those, and knowing that I am in my own small way associated with them, felt surreal.
Our first two sessions took place after the tour. I was familiar with many of the concepts discussed, but hearing Tim Powers and Dave Wolverton expound on them and provide examples for how they can be utilized helped bring them to life. Dave and Tim are very personable and play off each other well, constantly disagreeing with one another’s assertions and juxtaposing their creative processes, which is how it should be.
Tim gave each of us a random object to inspire our 24-hour short story, the countdown for which begins tomorrow. My object is a battery powered gizmo, or possibly a doodad, of indeterminate purpose and dubious function. It could be worse. One guy got a bean.
I’ve found a kindred spirit in Tim Powers, who, like me, is devoted to the high and lofty concept of lunch. During our very first conversation last night, he asked if I knew where we’d be eating today, and when the golden hour finally rolled around he very enthusiastically led a pilgrimage to the local In-N-Out. I got to make a Pirates of the Carribean reference while in conversation with him, which was splendid, seeing that Tim wrote the novel that inspired On Stranger Tides.
WotF provided us with professional quality author photos in the afternoon. In the evening I hung out with several of my fellow writers at the hotel bars, getting to chat with people who may well be the next big names in fantasy. Maybe I will, too. Stranger things have happened.
Thanks for reading! I’ll check back in tomorrow night.