In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely sure we were going to make it to Honorcon 2016. I caught a nasty cold on 22nd October that put me in bed for a day and left me coughing for the rest of the week, but we managed to get to the airport and fly to New York. (My opinion of United Airlines is not high, marginally better than Air Asia.) The flight was bumpy as hell and, when we arrived in New York, we discovered that our connecting flight had been bumped back four hours. In hindsight, I really should have arranged to spend the night in New York and flown to Raleigh the following day. But we made it.
Cindy met us at the airport and drove us to the hotel. It was very late and we were incredibly jet-lagged, so we just went straight to bed.
On Friday, after setting up the table, I went straight to my first panel – Handling Critical Remarks About Your Writing. Chris Kennedy, Mark Wandrey and Greg Cox (of Eugenics War fame) joined me and we had a fun discussion. (Leo Champion was meant to be the fourth panellist, but his flight was delayed – Greg, thankfully, took his place.) It was my first time moderating a panel, but I think it went ok. I then moved on to Chris Kennedy’s panel – Publicity for Newbie’s – which was interesting, although we couldn’t find a way to generate publicity (as opposed to marketing).
That evening, after the opening ceremonies, I was lucky enough to join a evening chat with David Weber (who surely needs no introduction) and Claudia Christian (of Babylon 5 fame), before going to sell books. Claudia Christian is very much like her character – she’s direct, forceful and down-to-earth. (And the debate over who should play Honor Harrington is now settled – Claudia is a great candidate for the role, although she complained that she was now typecast.) And it was great to meet David Weber at last.
On Saturday, I moderated my second panel – Building an Alternate History World, where we discussed the various factors that go into building a realistic AH universe. Lots of interesting discussion points, including the possible effects of Japan being beaten off at Pearl Harbour or the Japanese never attacking Pearl Harbour … thus leading to a greater disaster when the US tried to use War Plan Orange and replayed the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse on a far greater scale. Enough to drive the US out of the war?
I went on to Chris Kennedy’s panel on writing combat, Kal Spriggs panel on writing injuries to one’s characters and David Weber/Claudia Christian’s panel on female heroes. All three were interesting, particularly the writing combat panel. Claudia Christian had some trenchant remarks on overpowering one’s female characters, noting that Susan was acclaimed as one of the youngest officers in Babylon 5. Which may well be true – I don’t recall hearing that – but it does make sense after a truly devastating war. Earth Force was probably handing out promotions like candy to anyone with a gram of competence.
On Sunday, I sat on Chris Kennedy’s More Than Swords panel – the military and fantasy (something of interest considering the next book in Schooled In Magic.) Again, it was interesting, with a few factors I hadn’t considered beforehand. I’ll have to dedicate the book to the other panellists <grin>. And then we had the closing ceremonies …
Overall, it was the most successful convention I’ve ever attended. I managed to sell 58 books, mainly from the Ark Royal and Schooled in Magic series – selling out of my copies of the first few books in each series. Clearly, I’m going to have to bring more next year, if I manage to attend. It was also great to finally meet Greg Cox, Chuck Gannon, Joe Buckley and last, but not least, David Weber himself. And I carried a heavy suitcase of books all the way home to the UK.
Special mention is due to Cindy, who took care of me and the other Guests of Honour – and did a very good job (even with United jerking us around over the flight times). Thank you!
And Eric and Aisha had a good time too <grin>.