Monday, May 30, 2011

A Weekend of Egan

I had a really wonderful weekend up in Oakland, CA. I stayed at the Locus house for a few days, and ransacked their archives for non-fiction stuff related to Greg Egan. Everyone was wonderfully nice and accommodating--especially Amelia Beamer, who ran me around to and from the airport, Carolyn Cushman who helped me find things, and Kirsten Gong-Wong and Aaron Buchanan who took me out for Ethiopian on Friday. I had gone prepared to go to Baycon and maybe record a podcast or two if I had time, but instead I found ample material in which to bury myself for the solid two-and-a-half days I had.

I was able to find almost everything I was looking for--and even better, I found lots of things that I wasn't looking for. I think that's the biggest difference between making use of search databases + inter-library loan vs. actually having access to a large archive. I was searching mostly for reviews of Egan's books and reader responses to his stories, mostly in venues such as Locus, NYRSF, Interzone, and Foundation. I also found interesting discussions about posthumanism in sf and definitions and arguments about hard sf. I was able to pull copies of Eidolon, Utopian Studies, and SFStudies as I found them referenced in other venues. I enjoyed flipping through the Letters columns of Interzone particularly, as one got to watch decades-old flame wars unfold in slow motion--and also some letters from well-known names, before they were well-known. Most importantly, I got a great overview of critical reactions to Egan's work, how they've evolved over time, and additional avenues of research to pursue.

This was probably my last trip of the year--in July, August and September I definitely won't be able to travel for reasons of pregnancy and infancy. I don't have anything planned for June. Curtis and I are tempted by World Fantasy in San Diego (we bought tickets in Columbus last year), but it will depend entirely on the baby's health and my own. If we're both doing well I doubt I'll be able to resist the temptation, but if either of us is sickly we'll definitely let our tickets go to a good home. Anyhow, given that this was my last sf-related trip for a while, I'm glad it was such a great one.

Another thing that became clear to me is that I'm going to have to take off my reviewer-hat for awhile if I want to preserve my sanity over the next year or so when the baby and the book are both due. I've got a couple of things on tap to review, but I won't be taking any new assignments until next spring. I want to conserve energy for the book and for editing the Locus blog. I've also got a couple of articles I'm writing--I hope to be done with those by August, and also not take any new commitments along those lines. This might actually mean that I'll post more here, since I won't be 'saving my energy' for more official venues. But no promises!