Report from San Antonio

The gang at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing

Lori and Max and Jay

LonestarCon3. Worldcon. My first. Fun.

The best part was meeting fellow BVC authors Patricia “Pooks” Burroughs, Kathi Kimbriel, and David D. Levine, who should be paid to do voiceovers his reading voice is so smooth and lovely.

Kathi gets quiet and conspiratorial when she reads. Her stories feel sinister, and that’s good because they involve wolf-people. I could listen to Pooks read all day because she’s a Texan and even if her material was nothing but a looping rendition of the Charmin toilet paper label I wouldn’t mind. That southern lilt washes over you ever so gently and lulls you into belief. You just can’t help following that voice to its logical conclusions. You’ve all heard it. That persuasive lilt capable of delivering unreasonable people into positions of power in the political realm. You tell it, Pooks.

A very cool meeting: my publishers Lori Michelle and Max Booth III over at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (PMMP). A lot of people think that because the name of my book (The Perpetual Motion Club) is almost the same as the publisher’s name that PMMP is my own imprint. It’s not. When I was trolling for small presses that might take the book, I stumbled across Max and Lori and told them they totally needed to publish me because of the name. Oddly enough, Max actually liked the book and so here we are today. It’s a great fit. They put out a Vonnegut tribute anthology earlier this year. I couldn’t be more at home.

Along with Max and Lori, Jay Wilburn was manning the PMMP booth. Jay’s got a story in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 5, so I can only assume he’s a kickass author. And he’s way wicked funny so we had great fun at the bookstand and I bought his book to see if Ellen was right about him.

One of my favorite spec fic writers, Nick Mamatas, stopped by PMMP. He got banned from WorldCon programming because of an Internet flap he found himself in a few months back. Everyone’s still mad at him. Nick’s outspokenness is one of the reasons I like him. While the rest of us are cowering under the belief that we must be all things to all people, Nick is out there being true to himself and hence pissing people off. I love him. His writing is great too, pushes the literary envelope. You tell it, Nick.

The best part of the con, of course, was the news that our own Vonda N. McIntyre will be hosting the 2015 Worldcon. Well deserved, young lady! Vonda’s writing is not only great, but it’s important. Good on you, V. I’m proud of you. We all are.

Then there was San Antonio.

I tried hard to dislike this organized Garden of Eden with its ornamental-lined cement and restaurant topography. Usually I hate such engineered environments. Perfection that cons you like Vegas or the South Street Seaport. It’s not real and only the tourists are fooled. But we’re all tourists somewhere, and San Antonio was my Club Med. Its miles of canals won me over in the end even though they were only a few feet deep and a few feet wide. It could be that my hotel room was situated directly above the Riverwalk and the view was great. Whatever, I liked it.

It might have been the birds, too. Along with the perfectly manicured fauna of Riverwalk, I saw a good number of what I would consider exotic birds but are probably native to Texas. Herons and cranes and other unidentified types. Birds with long legs and long beaks. Water birds. I found the bird watching to be satisfying in a way nature in urban landscaping usually is not.

But honestly it was a bit too perfect. It reminded me of those science fiction stories that take place in engineered spheres in the vacuum. What happens to these fragile places when the gardeners get all anarchic? Unchecked growth. Parasites parasitizing electric wires. Wildfires, sprinklers engaged. Anarchy. What’s going to happen to this diamond in the desert when the yuppies move out to the airport and the San Antonio government goes corrupt. Ma Nature will take back what’s hers and the downtown will evolve the way downtowns everywhere evolve.

And that’s okay. I’ll still love San Antonio when the tattoo parlors, comic book stands, and piercing salons start moving in. When we start to see a little graffiti on the walls of the drained canals collecting up plastic beer can rings and used pampers. The place’ll start looking more normal and the tourists will go someplace else.

Until then, shine on you Lonestar diamond.

Sue Lange

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Report from San Antonio — 1 Comment

  1. You were just in the tourist area, which has a high enough overhead to keep out the tattoo parlors and such. Go about 2 miles away from the Riverwalk, in any direction, and you’ll find plenty of them. The river gets drained annually (with a mud festival to go with it), dredged, cleaned, and refilled.
    (Lived there for 18 years. It’s not a bad city, but it does work VERY hard to cater to the tourism and military that basically make up the lifeblood of the city’s money.)