George R. R. Martin at Capclave 2013
George R. R. Martin read at my first science fiction and fantasy convention. I’m not sure he’s aware of that. Some year when I see him again, I might try to tell him. Or maybe I’ll just blubber at him and hope he signs my book. I bet he gets that a lot. His stories are amazing, and I’m not just talking about the Game of Thrones series. Sandkings is timeless and unforgettable.
At the convention, Martin read for the better part of an hour from his novella in Dangerous Women, twenty-one new tales from science fiction and fantasy greats. Martin’s novella tells the story that led to Westeros’ civil war before A Game of Thrones began. I was mesmerized. Dangerous Women from won’t be published until December, so I was learning secret information about House Targaryen! Like me, most of the rest of the black t-shirt and blue jean-wearing audience nodded along to the reading spellbound (though more than a few were also knitting while they listened).
The only way to really absorb a George R. R. Martin tale is not to fight it. Just accept that you probably don’t know exactly who he’s talking about when he mentions a secondary character, but even if you can’t remember that character, you probably remember the history of the family to which Martin’s referring. Think “bloodshed.” There. You have it. That person was part of the family that killed someone long ago for a poorly-informed reason, and that death had some heartbreaking consequence that rolled through the generations And Oh My God Are Any Of These CHARACTERS EVER GOING TO BE HAPPY?!?
So it was like that, except Martin was reading his insidious story directly to us from the front of the room. He was the Author Guest of Honor at Capclave 2013, the Washington Science Fiction Association’s convention “where reading is not extinct.” The convention also featured Sharyn November, Steve Stiles and my new favorite author, Howard Waldrop. The organizers set up at least 5 programming venues every hour for 2 ½ days. There were panels, guest speakers, readings, musical entertainment, interviews, presentations, workshops, etc.
I didn’t know what to expect from a science fiction and fantasy convention, but I was impressed right from the start. Everyone was so nice. Women made up at least 40% of the audience, which was also ethnically diverse. I’ve only ever been to boring work conferences in convention spaces, but Capclave was FUN. And there was a room with free food and drinks, which is apparently pretty common for fan-based conventions. I ate way too many dove bars, and I had a great time.
Next year’s Capclave is starting to come together. I’m already looking forward to it.