As I wrote in a previous blog post, Readercon 21 was the official book launch for my anthology Is Anybody Out There? which I co-edited with Nick Gevers for Daw Books.
I arrived at the meeting room for the book launch about fifteen minutes early. A panel was still in session, so at the 1:55 p.m. mark I opened the door and gave the panelists the "time" sign. With me in the hallway were a dozen other people whom I assumed -- hoped! -- were also waiting for the book launch. And if all twelve actually attended the launch, then I would be satisfied.
In addition to me and author Paul Di Filippo, contributing authors Yves Meynard and James Morrow were also present.1
I spoke a bit about the genesis of Is Anybody Out There? -- from conception to publication took approximately three years. Then the authors each spoke in turn on the inspiration for their stories. Yves, in particular, told of a story he had had in mind for years, but he knew something was missing -- and he was unable to get a handle on the overall framework of the story. That is, until Nick and I requested from him a story on the Fermi Paradox, and then Yves hit on that missing piece. So he thanked Nick and me for inviting him to contribute to this anthology, which enabled him to complete a years-old story.
1 Contributing author Alex Irvine ("The Word He Was Looking for Was Hello") had planned to attend Readercon and participate in the book launch but on July 8 he emailed me that, regretfully, he would be unable to attend. Well, we missed you at the con, Alex, but we understand, what with the new baby and all.
2 My thanks to R. B. Wood for a) blogging about the book launch, and b) allowing me to repost the James Morrow photo on my own blog.
You can view the rest of R. B.'s iPhone photos taken during the book launch here.
3 Charlie Stross's story "Palimpsest" was originally published in his short fiction collection Wireless (2009) from Ace Books. If you're into short stories (well, in this case, a novella) that span millennia, then I would like to recommend "Understanding Space and Time" -- a story that would have fit nicely in this Readercon 21 panel -- by Alastair Reynolds. The story was first published as a 400-copy limited edition chapbook by the Birmingham Science Fiction Group for Novacon 35, November 11-13, 2005, to commemorate Alastair Reynolds's Guest of Honor appearance. I later included the story in Al's Zima Blue and Other Stories (2006), which I edited for Night Shade Books. This collection was published in three editions: limited edition hardcover, trade hardcover, and trade paperback. Unfortunately, all three editions are out of print, but you should be able to find this title in the secondary market. A highly recommended story (particularly if you are a fan of Elton John). And you may also read my blog post about working with Al on Zima Blue.