Another Shore Leave is in the books, and man am I tired, but also very very happy.
I first went to Shore Leave in 1992 with the gang from The Chronic Rift. We interviewed a ton of people for the public access show (and also for my spinoff, Word Balloons: Interviews with Comics Folk), including Mark Lenard, Majel Barrett, Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, L.A. Graf, Michael Jan Friedman, and Howard Weinstein.
I went back in 2000 as an author guest, what with being a newly minted Star Trek writer, having had my Next Generation comic book Perchance to Dream released in 1999 by WildStorm, and with two novels and an eBook under contract.
I haven’t missed a Shore Leave since. It’s a fun, delightful, enjoyable, nifty convention, with a great mix of media and literary guests. Over the years they’ve expanded their focus beyond Star Trek and into other genre media, and also expanded their author focus. The Meet the Pros party Friday night is a huge corridor filled with scribes scribbling on their works, and the panels run the gamut.
In addition, the actor guests get to interact with their fans in a much more casual and fun setting than you ever get at the bigger shows.
Shore Leave 41 was a massive success on several levels. On the media side, you had:
- turn-of-the-millennium stars in Michael Shanks and Lexa Doig of Stargate and Andromeda fame
- a Smallville reunion with Aaron Ashmore, Erica Durance, John Glover, and Laura Vandervoort
- Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, who took fandom by storm with their amazing reinterpretations of Captain Pike and Mr. Spock in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery
- and biggest of all, Nichelle Nichols, quite old and fragile, unfortunately, stopping by Shore Leave as part of her farewell tour, as she’s retiring from con-going after 2019
On the literary side:
- I had a limited number of copies of Alien: Isolation, which got snapped up like whoa
- Four anthologies debuted this weekend: Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos, Footprints in the Stars, In Harm’s Way, and Thrilling Adventure Yarns (I was in three of those, too!)
- John Jackson Miller had some preview copies of The Enterprise War, his Pike-focused Discovery novel that tells what the Big E was doing during Discovery‘s first season
- Diane Lee Baron’s ode to Maryland convention fandom, The Fandom Fifty: 50+ Fascinating People of the Maryland Science Fiction Conventions, which included an interview with me, also premiered at the con
- On top of that, we had the debuts of Aaron Rosenberg’s Trails of Bone, Richard C. White’s Chasing Danger: The Case Files of Theron Chase, Azure Avians & Laura Ware’s Aftermath, several new books from Joshua Palmatier, and Michael Jan Freidman’s graphic novel Empty Spaces
For my part, I had a blast, starting with a nifty panel on themed anthologies with Mike McPhail, Susan Olesen, Hildy Silverman, and Joshua Palmatier Friday evening. Then Meet the Pros, which was a huge success Friday night. Oh, and between those, eSpec Books took the authors in their two launch anthologies (Footprints and Harm’s) out for drinks.
Saturday was the crazy day:
- Boogie Knights concert at 11am. We had some sound issues early on (so what else is new?), but once they were fixed, we were fantastic. I was especially pleased with “Leonardo” and “Arthurian Pie.” Look for video later this week on the Tube of You, as Wrenn recorded the whole thing.
- Panel at noon on Discovery season two with Rigel Ailur, Amy Imhoff, Dayton Ward, Howard Weinstein, and Dave Galanter, where we covered the show in impressive depth and breadth.
- Panel at 1 on Batman at 80 with Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, Glenn Hauman, and Russ Colchamiro, where we discussed why Batman has lasted eight decades where other contemporary heroes haven’t, and also discovered that we pretty much all were introduced to Batman by Adam West…..
- Panel at 3 on Captain Marvel, with Rigel Ailur, Amy Imhoff, Hildy Silverman, and Laura Ware (I was the token male), which discussed Goose, sexism, Goose, how it related to the comics, Goose, how awesome Annette Bening is, Goose, and also Goose.
- Self-defense workshop at 4, which has become a regular thing for me at several cons including this one. They put it in a different room that wasn’t quite as well suited to people standing in a circle as I would’ve liked, but it worked out okay.
- Panel at 6 on eSpec Books with eSpec co-founders Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Mike McPhail along with fellow eSpec writers Dayton Ward (one anthology so far, but that may change soon) and Christopher L. Bennett (who announced his new forthcoming duology from eSpec, Arachne’s Crime and Arachne’s Exile).
After that was a yummy dinner courtesy Andy Nelson’s BBQ with many of the author guests, then hanging out at the bar all night.
That last part is typical of Shore Leave — generally the authors and their friends take over a corner of the hotel bar. What was not typical was that, at separate points, both Anson Mount and Ethan Peck came over to chat with us.
Now one of the things that’s great about Shore Leave is that sometimes the actors will hang out in the bar after hours and commune with the fans over drinks. (One of the most memorable was the year Eve Myles of Torchwood was a guest.) But this was unusual in that both Mount and Peck went out of their way to talk to the gaggle of writers. Best moment was watching Mount and Greg Cox nerding out over their favorite science fiction novels (Mount was disappointed that Greg hadn’t read any of Greg Egan’s books; Greg was equally disappointed that Mount hadn’t read any of Richard Matheson’s). Even without the bonus actor drop-ins, though, it was a great time filled with fun, revelry, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Just a fantastic night.
Sunday was much calmer, as I had no programming at all, amazingly enough, and I just sold some stuff at eSpec’s table, hung out with people, did a signing at Novel Spaces, and chatted with folks.
Closed the con by going to Mount and Peck’s talk. (Hey, we’re drinking buddies, now!) Amy Imhoff led the discussion brilliantly. The picture atop this blog entry is one I took at that. (That’s the magnificent Meredith Peruzzi interpreting on the far right.)
Then Meredith, Sas, Anne, Wrenn, and I went out for our traditional post-con dinner, which was not at La Tolteca as usual, as they were closed, so we went to an Indian place called Royal Kitchen instead that was incredibly yummy.
Today I recover, work on an article for Tor.com, and sleep. Mostly sleep, I think….