home again!

We’re home again from P-Con VI, which was one of the nicest cons I’ve been to. With the glaring exception of , whom I barely saw all weekend, I for once actually felt like I got to talk almost enough with everybody I wanted to. Almost. I keep thinking of more people I’d have liked to talk with as I type this, but, well, it was a damned fine try.

The panels all went really well, I thought. The whole con ran *extremely* smoothly, and panels were well-attended and there was a lot of lively discussion, which is always best. Off-the-top-of-my-head highlights (not necessarily at panels) included a discussion of jacuzzi-bathing snow monkeys reducing Paul Cornell to tears of laughter, an excellent revisitation of the Visualization Discussion, meeting Melissa from New Zealand, and Ted walking in to the room just as I finished discussing the fact that I had no real guilty pleasures (he got applause and cheers and laughter for his excellent timing, and I take no guilt in my pleasures, see. Juliet McKenna, however, had a genuine guilty pleasure which we all went ‘ooooh’ at. :)) The charity auction went well–the WALKING DEAD manuscript went for €50 and the FANTASY MEDLEY advanced reader copy went for €25, so I was glad we’d brought them–and I nearly reduced *myself* to tears by putting the Simpsons Movie, which I had promised , into the auction in hopes of forcing him to bid on it. He refused, and was given it anyway when nobody else wanted it. :)

The toast to life memorial for Frank Darcy was utterly lovely, if such a thing can be said about a service of that sort. The whole Darcy family was around all weekend (Ted defeated the youngest Darcy girl, who is ten and whose name escapes me, in a lightsaber Wii battle, and she used her Devastating Defeat to sell raffle tickets. Of course, she also said, “I let him win.” :)), and it was very, very good to see all of them. I could see a lot of Frank /in/ the kids, and we got to hear some wonderful stories about him as a father as well as the fan side that we all knew, so yeah. It was fantastic, in a heartbreaking way.

Peter, who ran the convention this year, is working to create a Friends of the Phoenix society of sorts, a community beyond the convention itself (“I was going to call it the Order of the Phoenix,” said he, “but then I thought no, wait, somebody had used that recently…”), and gave those of us who had been guests of honor honorary memberships to it, by way of presenting numbered certificates to us. Pádraig, who began P-Con six years ago, was given the number one certificate, and Frank Darcy’s family was presented with the #2 certificate. Both of these things were hugely, and rightfully, applauded.

I am, not for the first and certainly not for the last time, reminded of how much I like the people Ted and I have come to know through the Irish science fiction and fantasy convention scene. We’ve had some rough times in this whole moving across the world thing, but I would have been so terribly sad to have missed knowing all of them. They’re just such utterly wonderful people, and I’m really, really happy to get to spend a weekend or two a year with them and their generosity and welcoming spirits and big hearts.

miles to Minas Tirith: 145.5

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