Lunch with editor Beth Meachem of Tor yielded a fascinating question. We were supposed to discuss my new novel proposal, but since I don't yet have a new novel proposal, instead we discussed the novel proposals of more together, more disciplined writers. These included newcomer Ken Scoles, whose quintology debuts in early 2009 with LAMENTATION. Beth said it is "SF that will be marketed as fantasy." I wanted to know what that means, exactly, so we talked about books like Anne McCaffrey's Pern series and Gene Wolfe's BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, which are actually science fiction but which create worlds that at first feel like fantasy, until the reader gets farther in. Beth was extremely interesting on what this requires by way of content, pacing, and style. She also mentioned how much better sales are for SF that can be marketed as fantasy than for SF that is clearly and unabashedly SF.
I had dinner with a group that included Ellen Datlow, Ellen Klages, Peter Straub, Leslie Howle, Carolyn Stevermer, and the very lively Elizabeth Bear. I have never met Peter before, and in a way I still didn't, since we were seated at opposite ends of the noisy table and I never got to talk to him. Then on to the mass autographing, a chaotic event where over a hundred writers sat at tables and watched the line for George R.R. Martin. This was followed by the Clarion party, as Clarion West gets ready to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Gardner Dozois was in fine form at this. SF would not be the same without him.
I was then tired of smiling and went to bed.