The day began with a 2 1/2 hour breakfast with Gardner Dozois, Susan Casper, and Joe and Gay Haldemann. The discussion ranged from what fantasy readers really want (Susan: "a big interesting world to explore;" Gardner: "dramatic, soap-opera plots;" Joe: "irrationality") to the state of publishing (transitional), to sex (the PBS documentary THE HUMAN ANIMAL, which I now want to rent), to collaboration. Gardner's new novel with George Martin and Daniel Abraham, HUNTER'S RUN, is out in the U.K. now and will be out here in January. Melinda Snodgrass joined us for coffee and so the discussion switched to the impending writers' strike in Hllywood, since Melinda writes scripts as well as fiction. The whole breakfast was enormous fun.
Roamed the dealer's room (Gardner's book not available anywhere) and the art show. Later in the day I went to Ellen Klages's reading (very funny). Late afternoon drinks in the bar with Ellen, Therese Piecynski, Walter Jon Williams, and the always entertaining Jay Lake. People wandered from table to table, schmoozing. This is what I like best at cons. As a writer, I spend a lot of time alone, talking to fictional people. Corporeal ones make such a nice change.
Dinner at an Italian restaurant with Sheila Williams, Jim Kelly, John Kessel. Sheila was very enlightening on the fiscal aspects of publishing ASIMOV'S. I asked if she does, indeed, try to choose stories that will create a smorsgasbord in each issue, appealing to a broad range of tastes, rather than choosing stories simply because she likes them personally. She said yes, although she never publishes stories she dislikes. Jon said that if he were to publish JOHN KESSEL'S SF MAGAZINE, it would have a readership on one because his taste is both specific and quirky. This may or may not be true; I know from experience that John is a good writing teacher.
My 10:00 p.m. panel (and what a time to schedule a panel!) was on "When Fantasy Becomes SF or SF Becomes Fantasy." Nobody was actually sure what that meant, but the topic was attacked with gusto by George R.R. Martin, Lee Modesitt, Walter Jon Willams, Joe Haldemann, and me (moderating). George expounded his furniture theory of fiction, which is that SF and fantasy stories are the same house but merely contain different furniture. I asked if that meant he could have written GAME OF THRONES as SF with no substantial changes, just different "furniture." Astoundingly (to me) George said "Yes." Joe disagreed and we were off and running.
The Tor party, afterwards, was held in a room packed with people and at roughly the temperature of blood. Shouted to be heard for a while, then went to bed, perchance to dream of Victorian furniture on a generation-ship.