Among the highlights of my weekend in Wisconsin were a pair of signings, one at Barnes & Noble and one at Borders. Both were pleasantly chatty and low-key, but books were sold – with the Borders event pulling ahead as far as attendance goes (it was held on Sunday afternoon, as opposed to B&N’s Friday morning event).
My friend and fellow writer Sarah Monette and her husband Allen came out to keep me company at Borders, which was great because (a). it’s always good to see them, and (b). my convention liaison Anton (a veritable powerhouse of personal assistanthood) was collecting signed things. I babbled at the assembled readers, as I am wont to do when I am allowed out of the house, and collected some awesome shiny things and tasty things (respectively) from correspondent Barbara.
And … I got one other really freaking great present that night as well. It was a book report, written by an excessively articulate 13-year-old boy named Matthew Klug, who I would henceforth like to hire to write my flap copy for the duration of my publishing career.
Matthew read and reported upon Boneshaker for his English class, and apparently he liked it. His report begins, “The novel Boneshaker by Cherie Priest was one of the most interesting and intense books I have read all year!”* And it goes right on trucking along that vein for three full pages, double-space typed. Reader, I squeed. I no doubt embarrassed us both with my squee, probably both of us and Matthew’s mother, too, for she had been kind enough to print an extra copy of the report and drive Mathew out to see me.
Seriously, check out this spoiler-free summary of the novel:
- “It revolves around a woman named Briar Wilkes, the widow of the (somewhat mad) scientist Leviticus Blue. Sixteen years ago Blue had vanished after testing Leviticus Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine, which ended up destroying several blocks of the city of Seattle in the Washington Territory. The accident also releases a strange gas called ‘The Blight,’ which is highly toxic and can turn people into ‘rotters,’ shambling living-dead abominations that eat human flesh. Ezekiel, Briar’s son, ventures into the city to prove the innocence of his father and grandfather, Maynard Wilkes, a strong and just lawman who died freeing convicts from a gas-choked prison. Briar then is forced to leave the relative comfort of The Outskirts and enter the walled-off, mad scientist-ruled hell that is Seattle.”
YES. That right there. Couldn’t have said it better myself (and more than once, I have tried – believe me; summaries are harder than they look). Thank you, Matthew – and thank you so much for being such an awesome, attentive reader. Best of luck with your studies, and have fun taking over the world :)
I believe I promised a mention of some mostly-naked college-aged rugby players. Yes, well. Here goes.
In addition to TeslaCon, the hotel also hosted a contingent of college rugby players who were in town for some sort of rugby-related event (if one could gauge from their jerseys and the presence of their coaches). They were a strapping group of lads – and they were not sure what to make of TeslaCon, but none of them were asshats about it, at least so far as I heard.
Anyway. My hotel room was on the second floor, directly across from a large window which overlooked the indoor swimming pool. Perhaps you can guess where this is going.
Once, as I was sitting inside, changing clothes (as you do repeatedly at such an event), I heard a chorus of titters, giggles, and rustling fabric. It sounded rather nearby.
I opened my hotel room door to see what all the excitement was about, and found myself staring at a row of approximately half a dozen bustles, jammed up against one another booty-to-booty, as the ladies who occupied these bustles clamored to get a good gander out that second floor window … down into the pool below.
Eric Larsen, director of TeslaCon, passed out an exit survey at the event’s closing ceremonies. This was a wise and reasonable move for a man who honestly wants feedback in order to improve next year’s convention experience, and I suspect that the vast majority of the feedback he received was overwhelmingly positive.
But as I sat in the lobby, waiting for some friends in order to go to supper, I watched one of the voyeuristic bustle-wearers (a woman nearly old enough to be my grandmother) fill out one of the surveys. With a big ol’ smile on her face, she scrawled across the suggestions portion:
“More rugby players. Smaller towels.”
* Excerpts posted with permission.