I am about as tired and about as happy as I can remember after an amazing weekend in San Juan, PR, where I got to attend the International Space Development Conference, where the folks at Baen were kind enough to send me. They were also nice enough to bestow me with a shiny chunk of crystal that I was only too pleased to be pulled aside over for a little extra chat with the TSA. “¡Usted es el ganador del gran premio!” Si, TSA dude, I totally am and I’m over the moon. The prize was judged by several of the editors over at Baen as well as David Drake, whose story “Rolling Hot” was one of my favorites as a teenager (since my mother did not know what kind of language was in the book and therefore did not confiscate it) (I hope she does not read my winning entry either, because even though I’m pretty sure she can’t confiscate something off the entire Internet, I wouldn’t like to see her try). “Rolling Hot” also inspired a little of the feel of this story, and some lovely people I have known helped inspire the characters. The story is called “Dear Ammi” and it will go up on the Baen website on June 15–and I will issue PLENTY of reminders when that happens.
I got to meet some very lovely people while I was there, including the third-place winner, Ron Ferguson, whose story I very much hope I get to read; Rati Mehrotra, the author of one of my favorite stories so far this year; and all-around gentleman Bill Ledbetter, who is the contest’s administrator. Baen editor Tony Daniel was also there to give the award, and he was also kind enough to invite me to join him and his family on a trip to the El Yunque rainforest, which is so far above and beyond the call of editorial duty that you couldn’t see it with a telescope. (His family is also rad. I hope that my kids are as friendly and funny when they’re that age, and that I’m as adept at parental deadpan delivery.)
San Juan is a great city, Puerto Rico is a beautiful island, El Yunque is a beautiful place. I am already mourning the bay views and the lack of guava/plaintain/cassava. Also the tiny ladyfinger bananas. At one point I had been thinking about buying a banana plant but decided against it because of how cheap regular store bananas are–buying an enormotron box of ladyfingers at the San Juan farmer’s market and devouring them like stolen Halloween candy has put me back on the right path, though, I think.
I’m zonked for tonight, but I’m going to try to upload the video of my award acceptance speech to YouTube this week, assuming I’m able to listen to myself talk for two minutes without cringing so hard that I implode into a black hole. I think it came off all right? Despite it being incredibly apparent that I do not do the public speaking thing.
This seems like so few words to say what an amazing time I had this weekend, but I fear treading into You Had To Be There I Guess territory and also that thing about being up at 3:45 AM to catch a plane. I’m going to go eat my last banana and pass out in a state of geeky bliss.