I was able to make an appearance at FOGcon in Walnut Creek for a few hours on Friday. I fear I won't have the time to be back for the rest of the weekend, but it was agreeable as far as I saw, and I was able to compliment Guy Thomas on presiding over a fine & pleasant gathering.
I got to hear Tim Powers speak on two consecutive panels on secret-history fiction. His words of wisdom included:
"Infodumps should be interesting."
"Leave out the parts that readers skip over." (quoted from Elmore Leonard)
"I want to lead the reader into expressing credulity to something they'll later be embarrassed to have expressed credulity over."
and, speaking as a reader to writers instead of as a writer to readers:
"You work for me. I'm not meeting you halfway. Bring it to me and make it tasty."
I got to hear Juliette Wade say, "I have this world, and it has cats in it." Well, what decent world doesn't?
I got to write down a number of tasty book recommendations, particularly from Debbie Notkin's "Lesser-Known Writers That Deserve To Be Read" panel.
I got to see a woman sitting in the back of the audience at one panel who looked a lot like Patricia McKillip. (Was it?)
I got to take Brad Lyau and Fred Moulton out to my favorite Chinese restaurant in the area (Sichuan Fortune in Pleasant Hill), where we feasted on mixed appetizers, lamb in something called XO sauce, and fried chicken wing nibblets drowned in chili pepper pods, not too spicy, actually. All excellent.
I got to see what seemed to be the only hall costume at the entire conference, a man dressed as Dr. Horrible.