Monday, September 03, 2007

Lou & John's Excellent Adventure

Also known as our madcap, surgical strike trip to Worldcon 2007 in Yokohama, Japan...I'm back home now and dead-tired, but before I crash, here are a few sights and thoughts from the journey. The whole experience was worth every bit of time and money, and I'm so glad I went. Met my buddy Lou Anders (AKA 2007 Hugo finalist Lou Anders of Pyr) over in Houston and we flew out together.

We were on the ground for 72 hours in Japan, and we did a heckuva lot in a very short time. Shoutouts to all of my new friends in Nippon, including Takahiro Hirata (left), Hayato Kato, Hiroyuki Ohashi, and the wonderful Yasko, who were so kind to me throughout the weekend. Taka even presented me with a beautiful gift (left), which was completely unexpected and amazing. Thanks not only to them, but all of the kind folks who showed up to my panels and signing events. Nice to know my work is connecting with its audience, even on the other side of the Pacific. Look forward to visiting with you again, at Worldcon in Denver next year.

The hotel and con facilities in Yokohama were first-rate -- the convenient, futuristic bridges connecting the con complex; the super-elegant bathrooms in the Pan Pacific Hotel; this stellar view from our hotel balcony; all of it. This year is Ultraman's 40th anniversary, and this brother was hard to miss, no matter where you looked. I had a friend in 3rd grade who turned me on to Ultraman, and I have fond memories of all of my playground pals back then striking this pose all day long.

Bought this fabulous little book celebrating the art of Naoyuki Katoh. I didn't know his work before this trip, but I sure do now. His stuff's phenomenal. Awards-wise, I was honored to be a finalist for two Hugos and two Chesleys at this year's Worldcon. Had more bling on my badge than I've ever had anywhere before. Didn't bring home any large hardware this time around, but with a Locus Award win earlier this year, and artist nominations for the forthcoming British Fantasy Award, International Horror Guild Award, and World Fantasy Award, it's hard not to be grateful. Thanks to all who voted for me in this year's Chesleys and Hugos, and I appreciate your kind consideration. I'm honored to be working in this field and I'll just keep plugging away and trying to get better. Big shoutout and sincere congrats to all Chesley winners and especially to Donato Giancola, who won this year's Best Professional Artist Hugo for the second consecutive year. Well-earned!!

In the end, these trips are all about the people, and Paul Cornell and his lovely wife Caroline Symcox are two of my favorites. (L to R: Caroline, Paul, Lou Anders, me, and Jessica Langer, at the Hugo Pre-Awards Reception). Spent quality time with Bob Eggleton and Marianne Plumridge. Zillabob had a terrific Art Show display. He's been doing a painting-a-day display on his blog for much of '07 and he's been on fire lately. (L to R: Bob Eggleton, Marianne Plumridge, me, and Lou)

Great to visit with Betsy Mitchell, editor-in-chief of Del Rey, whom I've had the pleasure of working with on the forthcoming ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS (coming Feb '08). Betsy debuted a few of my interior illustrations from the book, during her Del Rey slide presentation. (L to R: Betsy, Naomi Novik (congrats on the Campbell win), Scott Edelman, Charles Ardai (spiffy threads, fellas!), and Scott's wife, Irene. Frank Wu won the Hugo for Best Fan Artist (go, Wu), and although not physically present, his zany aura was still felt at the festivities, courtesy of Kelly Buehler.

Lou and I had the pleasure of spending the mighty bulk of Hugo Night with the aforementioned Paul and Caroline as well as Steven Moffat and wife Sue Vertue (pictured here). Steven won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form for his Dr. Who episode, "The Girl in the Fireplace" and his big Ultraman Hugo trophy sat in the middle of our rambling conversation circles all night long. As per Worldcon tradition, Hugo nominees received a gift from the upcoming year's Worldcon, which this year came in the form of a Japanese fan, embellished with artwork by Rick Sternbach. Jessica Langer models the one I received here, and does it much better than I ever could.

Beyond that, more great times with brilliant folks, including the mighty Karen Jones, Ted Chiang, Jannie Shea, Jennie Faries, Michael Whelan and family, Ellen Datlow, Greg Ketter, Lisa Freitag, Mike Willmoth, Jean Goddin, Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, Kurt Baty, Kevin Standlee, Gay Haldeman, Eileen Gunn, John Berry, Barry and Judy Newton, Sandra Childress, James Briggs, Marc Zicree, Maura McHugh, Geoffrey Landis, Mary Turzillo, Jay Lake, David Silver, Julie Rigby, Pat McMurray (congrats on the nuptials, Julie & Pat), Ben Yalow, Robert Charles Wilson, Tom Galloway, Karen Haber, Robert Silverberg, and many more. Lori Ono -- thanks for saving the day on Friday. Congrats to Rene Walling and the whole Montreal bid team for claiming the '09 Worldcon. Countdown begins for Denvention in '08. Right now -- I'm glad to be home with Traci. Off to bed. Whew. When I wake up, I'll be 38...


Anonymous Christopher said...

Sorry to hear you didn't win anything, but you're in great company and definitely on people's radar. And that's not such a bad thing :)

Looks like a blast of a trip. Everybody I know who's visited Japan has loved it; glad you had such a great time.

And happy 38th!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Lou Anders said...

Happy Birthday my friend. Our most excellent adventure was most unbogus.

9:07 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Christopher -- thanks very much. I appreciate it.

Lou -- we did good, didn't we? It feels surreal to know that we pulled off so much so far away in so little time...thanks, man.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude! I'm so glad you had a good time in Japan (though sorry about the lack of hardware). I saw a photo of you and the giant cut-out of my face - hilarious.

Frank Wu

1:47 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Wu -- Nice touch with the big face cutouts. That was classic. Big congrats to you on the Hugo win. I was thrilled for you as always.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Hiroyuki Ohashi said...

Happy Birthday!!

Thank you.
Let's meet again next year.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Happy Birthday!

I was quite fortunate to have a chance to talk with you. I also made friends with Lou. It was the best Worldcon ever, though this is my first.;-p

- hayato

10:39 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Hiroyuki....hi, Hayato --

It was was great to meet both of you over there.

Hayato -- I gave my friend Lou a photo of you and me and he posted it on his blog. Hope you don't mind. It was terrific to meet you. Please stay in touch. My email is john [at] ....(if you remove the spaces and the [at], course).

Hiroyuki -- You ran a wonderful art show. I learned about many Japanese artists that I was not familiar with before. I think Naoyuki Katoh is brilliant. There were others besides him. You did a great job. As I mentioned to Hayato, please stay in touch. Again, my email is john [at] ....(again, if you remove the spaces and the [at], course). Please give my best wishes to Yasko as well, and please tell her to contact me so we can stay in touch. She was terrific and so helpful. I appreciated everything you and your staff did.

12:18 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Hiroyuki and Hayato --

Please forgive my poor typing above. A redundant "was" and the phrase should be "of course" instead of "course". I only say this in case you're trying to translate my English into Japanese. You don't need my misfires to make it more difficult. :)

12:27 PM  
Blogger Yasko said...


I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the con and your stay in Japan.

Thank you so much again for your kindness and everything, it was a great pleasure to be able to talk to and help wonderful artist like you. You were as amazing as your arts!

So, my E-mail is bumtaiz [at] --please let me know when you come to Japan again someday... well, mail me anytime if there was anything I can help you.


I'll be 32 tomorrow (7th), by the way. ;-)

12:15 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Yasko!

Again, many thanks for your kindness and patience while running the Art Show. You were grace under pressure. I wish I would've been able to spend more time with you and Hiroyuki. Hopefully I'll be back in Japan someday. The people are extraordinary. It would great if you and Hiroyuki were able to make it to Denver for Worldcon next year! Stay in touch....and Happy Birthday. :)

9:05 PM  

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