Oh, let’s see…
When last we saw our intrepid hero and heroine, they had transferred the care of cats and house to the equally intrepid house-sitter, mounted Argent the Subaru, and sped off to Portland, Maine and business class seats to Boston on the Downeaster.
We arrived somewhat ahead of our departure time, so I got to play with Cygnus to see how quickly he picked up on alien wireless systems (answer: quickly, and almost seamlessly), and Steve got to talk to Paul Merrill from News 8 about Congress’, ahem, boneheaded notion to withdraw funding from the Downeaster.
The trip down was pleasant, which is the Downeaster’s norm. We read and picnicked on the cheese and turkey sandwiches we’d brought from home; the train arrived on time, we caught a taxi and arrived at the Westin Waterfront in plenty of time to check in, unpack and meet Tyler Stewart and his wife, Karen, for dinner in Cambridge before being whisked off to our signing at Pandemonium Books.
Friday, we sort of chatted our way through the Westin’s lobby as people started seriously arriving. Among the people arriving were the attendees of a dance convention which was either sponsored by or was itself The Pulse, with moms, sisters and occasionally fathers in attendance, all of which made for interesting people watching.
Later in the day we had an enjoyable dinner off-campus with Mem Morman and Kent Bloom, returning to the Westin in good time for me to rest a bit (I did Boskone on a stick and a bladder cast! but it was occasionally tiring.) before we went downstairs to the Galleria and The Reception.
We caught up with lots of folks — Martin Deutsch, Tricia Bray, Sam Butler, Andrew Seigel, Paula Lieberman, and others that I’m forgetting because I have rocks for brains, not because I don’t love you all.
Eventually, we found our bed, and collapsed, arising early next morning in good time to attend the Friends of Liad breakfast.
Despite the early hour (8! am! on Saturday! at a con!), the breakfast was well-attended (boy are you guys tough!), and a good time, as well as good conversation, was had by all.
After breakfast, was our first event of the day — actually, our first two events of the day. I read from “The Space at Tinsori Light,” while Steve sat in the audience, disappearing for a few minutes to dash across the hall and take part in the Baen Traveling Roadshow. The audience was appreciative, though I fear I had to leave them at a. . .tense. . .scene.
It was then Steve’s turn to read, which he did, from Dragon Ship. The audience stayed right where they’d been — a good sign — and I took a seat in the audience until it was time for me to go across the hall and take part in the Baen presentation.
Later on in the day, we were interviewed by Brother Guy Consolmangno (aka The Vatican Astronomer), which was a great deal of fun — Guy is a smooth interviewer, the audience was interested, and we all had a good time.
An autographing and a literary beer (wine) rounded out the afternoon.
Now, here’s where it gets weird.
We went to dinner with Toni Weisskopf (aka Management), Dan dos Santos, Chuck Gannon (aka Charles E. Gannon), Bob Eggleton, and Marianne Plumridge. Because of the stick-and-cast situation, we traveled the short distance to the restaurant by cabs. Said restaurant was, um, PACKED, and even though Reservations Had Been Made, there was a longish wait for our table to be ready, and time was starting to get a little tight, since Toni and Dan had to be back by 9, in time for the Boskone Saturday Night Meet-the-GOHs and Award Event.
When we left the scene of our really excellent dinner, one cab had answered the hostess’ call on our behalf, and, since Toni and Dan, as above, had to be back for the Event, Steve and I tried to give them the cab, saying we’d go ’round the corner and grab another.
“No,” said Toni. “Get in.”
So, all four of us — Dan, Toni, Steve, me — got into the cab, alighting in front of the Westin at 8:59. Toni and Dan rushed off to the Event; Steve and I went upstairs to take off our coats and put our badges back on.
We therefore arrived at the Event a trifle after everyone else, and the play was in progress as we took our seats. We had the idea that Toni was going to be the surprised recipient of the Skylark award, since her credentials are excellent and NESFA positively delights in misdirection when it comes to keeping the Chosen in the dark about what’s about to happen to them.
So, it was that we settled in and saw Trixie Pixie introduced, and Toni, and John Scalzi, heard that Jerry and Roberta’s get well card was at the info desk for members to sign. . .and there was a pause while Suford Lewis, NESFA’s president came up to the podium and began to read from a prepared statement.
She explained first what the Skylark is, and how long NESFA had been awarding it, and said that it usually went to an individual, but sometimes to a couple.
“Oh,” I thought, “not Toni. Must be Patrick and Teresa.”
For instance, Suford continued, past worthy couples had been Joe and Gay Haldeman, and Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden.
“Oh,” I thought.
And then Suford said the word “Liaden,” and Steve in the chair next to me said, “Eeep!” quite distinctly, and a whole buncha heads turned round to stare at us, smiling, while another whole buncha cameras went off.
We managed, when called, to go down to the front (after I thrust my stick and my bag into Seth’s hands — thanks, Seth!), and Steve said our thank you, and Suford said to me, off-mike, “How did we keep it a secret? We didn’t tell anybody!”, and Jane Yolen delivered the traditional warning regarding Big Glass Lenses and the Sunball in the Sky, and. . .wow.
Yeah, just. . .wow.
After, we took the Lens downstairs to visit those whose duties to the con precluded them from attending the Event before going back to the room, depositing it in a sun-safe place, and going out to party.
Sunday morning, Steve had a panel about the fine art of titling with Toni Weisskopf, Debra Doyle, Claire Eddy, and Priscilla Olson, which was well-attended and informative.
Sunday afternoon, Elizabeth Bear and I talked about sequels to an attentive audience, and then it was time to go home to Maine.
And so we did.