From the City that Never Sleeps, to the City that Likes to Sleep In
So here I am in San Francisco, and I thought I'd take advantage of the way it seems the only businesses that open before noon are there to sell you breakfast (to be fair, there are three 24 hour places in this city block; I can recommend the Omelet Del Mar at Lori's Diner) to write a somewhat belated trip report.
The flight on Etihad was remarkably pleasant, despite the best efforts of the small child who sat next to me on the trip from Abu Dhabi to JFK (after spilling water on me, he whined repeatedly that he wanted my window seat; I refrained from suggesting he'd have an even better view sitting on the wing). Tne inflight entertainment system enabled me to cross Ant-Man and Terminator: Genisys off my Quickflix list, quickly confirmed my suspicion that I didn't need to see the Fantastic 4 reboot or San Andreas, and also showed Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, which AFAIK wasn't yet showing in Perth.
Security theatre at Abu Dhabi was intense - I've never seen anyone so worried by a compressed t-shirt - but considering that the TVs were showing newscasts about the Russian airliner being brought down by a bomb, it was easier to understand than usual. Best of all, going through this procedure in Abu Dhabi meant that I didn't have to do it all again at JFK: I could just pick my bag off the carousel and catch the subway to Penn Station, which gave me a few hours to stomp around midtown before the train to World Fantasy Con.
I liked Saratoga Springs, though I was disappointed that most of the trees had lost their brilliantly multi-coloured foliage by the time I arrived: it was chilly at night, but at least the dire predictions that it would snow before the con was over proved wrong. The motel, two blocks from the convention centre, was pleasant, as were the locals I met, and it was wonderful catching up with so many old friends - including Gay and Joe Haldeman, Ellen Datlow, Jim Minz, Beth Gwinn, Rob Killheffer, Scott Edelman (far too briefly), David Hartwell, and the large contingent of fellow Aussies who I don't see often enough, including Garth Nix, Marianne de Pierres and Janeen Webb. I also met people who I'd only known electronically, including artist Kathleen Jennings and my Zombies v Robots editor Jeff Conner. It was an unusual WFC in that there were frequently more attendees at the panels than there were in the bar, possibly because the bar was unusually small (the hospitality suite did its best to compensate, and there were some wonderful parties after the panels were over.) I signed a lot of books (mostly anthologies, and many of them for book dealers who seemed to optimistically believe that my signature might add to the saleability) but it was wonderful that there were so many people there who remembered who I am, or at least who I was. Having my ARCs of North of the Dragonlands to show people, and being able to promise them that my expanded thesis on American SF and the US military would be published next year, made it even more enjoyable.
The trip back to NYC on Adirondack Trailways was less so. The drivers apparently realized that the only reason we caught the coach was that the trains didn't run often enough for us to get to the city when we wanted to, and acted like drill sergeants reduced to driving school buses. Then it was a rather frantic scramble for the subway to JFK, and Jet Blue to New Orleans, which I will cover in Fit the Second.
- Trip Report, Fit the First