So much to say.....here goes....spent the first part of last week in Toronto with my wife Traci on our first honeymoon (we'll do the second honeymoon this month in London). Toronto was one of the best cities we've ever visited. Phenomenally diverse! Loved it. Queen St. West is now one of my favorite streets in the world. Bloor St was terrific. So many jaw-droppingly beautiful churches all over. A new Frank Gehry addition punching through the Ontario Art Museum.
A day trip to Niagara Falls. Silver Snail and the Beguiling are two of the finest comic book shops I've ever visited. Bakka-Phoenix Books rules. And Toronto has some of the nicest people anywhere (example: Holly, the waitress at the Marriott who served with a smile for days on end and became like family to WHC barflies, who shall remain nameless). Traci and I often said, "We could live in this town." Our short honeymoon was fabulous, and we get to dream it all over again in London later this month.
(And by the way, for those of you who've emailed asking about wedding photos, I haven't forgotten. Photos forthcoming. Traci and I have been so busy, we haven't even had time to see them.) Meantime, here's an ultimate honeymoon cliche -- Traci and me at Niagara Falls.....so touristy, it's nauseating, but hey -- we couldn't pass the opportunity, and we're glad we went.
On to World Horror Con...impossible to do an all-inclusive report, but a couple of things that must be said. The con committee -- what an achievement this past week was. Stephen Jones is The Man. Steve, you shattered your own high standards, and crafted a convention experience for the ages. I look forward to WHC in Salt Lake City next year, but I don't envy them for following the performance of this year's committee. I suspect SLC will be terrific, but this year's result will be so tough to top. So professionally run, so well-organized. So many congoers raved about the programming slate and how much goodness there was, hour to hour. One of the best WHCs ever. My biggest thanks to Head Chair Amanda Foubister and Associate Chair Mandy Slater. Rodger, Lisa, Kelly, Alex, Marah, Evelyn, and everyone -- again, you outdid yourselves. Lastly, what a GOH crew -- Michael Marshall Smith, Nancy Kilpatrick, Pete Crowther, Don Hutchison, Pete Atkins, Gahan Wilson, and Sephera Giron...it was a true honour to be side by side with you.Highlights:Best WHC party: the PS Publishing Party at the Merril Collection
....Pete and Nikki Crowther hosted a memorable reception where they debuted several PS releases, including POSTSCRIPTS 10, a special Michael Marshall Smith issue with stories by Mike as well as Stephen King, Joe Hill, Lucius Shepard, Connie Willis, Tim Lebbon, Graham Joyce, and more. Cover by me. The book turned out beautifully and it was a very fast seller. There may still be a few copies left. The Merril Collection was a revelation. It's an expertly-maintained, climate-controlled archive of the best genre books and art, available for scholarly use. Partygoers took tours of the collection. Awesome. A great time. (Stephen Jones, Ellen Datlow pictured.)Best Convention Program in the history of Conventions:
TRAVELLERS IN DARKNESS, the souvenir book for WHC 2007, edited by Stephen Jones. Almost every con has a program, which is usually a magazine of varying production quality, sometimes slick, often not so. Not good enough for WHC 2007 though. This con had a gorgeous hardcover book with dustjacket! Artwork by Bob Eggleton, Randy Broecker, Les Edwards, myself and more and contributions by Michael Marshall Smith, Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Kim Newman, Robert Sawyer, F. Paul Wilson, Norm Partridge, Michael Rowe, and many, many more. Plus an interior color gallery of some of my cover illustrations. Make no mistake though -- this book was Steve Jones' baby. My reaction when I first saw it: "You've gotta be kidding me....." Utter awe and admiration. Rumor has it Michael Marshall Smith did the beautiful interior layouts. If so, further proof that MMS is one of the deadliest talents anywhere. What CAN'T this guy do well?Favorite Stoker Awards moment:
Joe R. Lansdale getting a standing ovation when he won the Grandmaster Award. Congrats to all of the Stoker winners. It was great to see Pete Crowther recognized for his stellar work with PS Publishing and great to see Joe have a night where he was honored like that, along with his family. (Pictured below at the Stokers, left to right: Brendan Vaughan, Brad Hutchings, Claire Booker, Ann Hutchings, Traci, me.)
(Bottom photo....the new Rat Pack?? Left to right: Pete Atkins, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, Jonathan Reitan)
General good times shoutout: to all congoers who were so gracious....so many good people who were so generous and kind.....it was a pleasure to spend time with all of you. As always, a blast to hang with comrades-in-arms Chris Roberson and Allison Baker, as well as Liza Trombi, George Mann, Jeremy Lassen, Liz Gorinsky, Michael Marshall Smith and his wife Paula (and little Nate!), Tim Lebbon, Rodger Turner, Scott Edelman, Gahan Wilson, Brendan and Claire Vaughan, and Brad and Ann Hutchings. So many more. Again -- Steve, it was an amazing con that you, Mandy, Amanda, Kelly, Evelyn, Rodger and everyone put together...a phenomenal weekend that Traci and I will never forget.