So, the first day of WorldCon was … actually, it was pretty relaxing. I had a calm drive to Chicago, possibly the least death-defying drive ever, where I didn’t see a single person do anything wildly stupid on the highway, construction was minimal, and given that I arrived in Chicago right at rush hour, honestly, traffic was not dreadful. The kittens were pretty quiet. Their new person arrived soon after I did and the transfer was accomplished with a minimum of wear and tear all round. The person is Judy Peterson of Fantanimals, who is a dealer at the convention, obviously, and so last night (Thursday night), I found her in the dealer’s room and she showed me pictures of the kittens settling down in their temporary home in Chicago. They’ll go with Judy and her husband to their permanent home after the convention.
Then all of Thursday and the convention itself was pretty relaxing. I woke up at my normal time (about four) which gave me a long morning at Craig’s place. I cut three thousand words from Tasmakat, about a thousand words per chapter, almost all at the sentence level. If I can do a thousand words per chapter, I should be able to drop about forty thousand words, or about, I don’t know, a hundred and twenty pages or something like that, which will put the length back to something reasonable. Well, reasonable-ish.
At the convention, the registration line wasn’t too long, and although the hotel itself is maximally confusing, I found the green room (where panelists are supposed to meet up) and the room for the panel (opposite tower of the hotel) with minimal trouble and (this was good) minimal-ish trouble from my knee. Have I mentioned I’ve been having knee trouble? I don’t think I’ve mentioned that. But I finished doing a series of physical therapy appointments last week and I’m hoping I manage to get through the convention without too much walking or standing (this will be hopeless). Speaking as someone newly mobility-impaired, would convention organizers kindly not put a room where you’re supposed to meet your co-panelists that far from the room where the panel takes place, like, ever?
The panel was pretty well attended, and I do have a few relaxing reads mentioned by other panelists that I’m going to try and that I’ll share with you.
Empress of Salt and Fortune — Nghi Vo
A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.
Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.
At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.
This description certainly does not sound especially relaxing, comforting, or low-tension, but it was recommended in this context, so perhaps it is all those things. Have any of you read it? What did you think?
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.
Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
Well, that sounds lovely. I think I have this on my Kindle right now. If I don’t, I should.
The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
This is supposed to be The Thin Man, but in space.
Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling—and keep the real killer from striking again.
That does sound like The Thin Man in space! That sounds like fun. It’s not out yet. It’s out in October. One of the panelists beta-read it, hence the recommendation.
I’m up early again today (Friday). It’s, let me see, not quite five as I type this. Back to cutting Tasmakat! But don’t worry, just at the sentence and occasionally the paragraph level. I don’t think I’m cutting anything that could be described as a whole scene.