Monday, October 8, 2012

Chestermere Expo Recap

So this past weekend is going down in the books as The Best Weekend Yet.

Somehow, by some crazy fluke, Chestermere Library managed to get six of the Black Library authors over from the UK for a two-day Expo. These are the people who write the Warhammer/Warhammer 40K fiction and they're damned good at it too. The fact they all ended up in a recreation center in a little satellite community east of Calgary is simply ridiculous. I first heard about it back in July; I was sitting in the truck on the road to Winnipeg with the joust troupe in the middle of the night when the link popped up on Facebook and we nearly had to pull over so I could deal with a case of the vapours. The best part? Chris Wraight, author of Sword of Justice and Sword of Vengeance, was going to be there. Marius Leitdorf crops up in Chris' books as a flashback character in the memory of Rufus Leitdorf, his youngest son. To get the chance to meet Chris and chat with him about his work without making the laborious trek to a Games Day was almost beyond comprehension. It wasn't a solo journey either; my best bro Cil volunteered to come along as caffeine-administrator, moral support, and de facto squire because, let's face it, I can't get that stuff on myself.

Now it's thrilling for any costumer to meet the artists, authors, or actors associated with their character but when the character is particularly obscure (and you've put upwards of 400 hours and over $1k into your costume), it's... pretty much the best thing in the world. I was a total bag of nerves on both days - the anticipated 'chat' was more a string of incoherence on my part (due to lack of sleep, nerves, lingering concussion stupidity from a few weeks back [more on THAT later], nerves, caffeine, excitement, and more nerves) but Chris was wonderful. And entirely posh too. He signed my books and was even good enough to sign the back of my right pauldron. Every time I think about it, my arms do stupid flaily things. Symptoms are expected to continue for at least three weeks.

And people recognized the costume. "Hey, you're the guy that takes buttermilk baths, right?" "How's Daisy doing?" One of the best parts was sitting in the general Q&A session when someone asked "How do you know you've become successful as an author?" Dan Abnett pointed to me and said "When people start dressing as your characters." [See comment re: Stupid Flaily Things above]. The Abnetts themselves - Dan and his lovely wife Nik Vincent - are absolutely great. Nik had terrific advice during the 'Writing for Black Library' panel she hosted with Graham McNeill and was always willing to talk shop about the writing process and getting the proverbial foot-in-the-door.

It was a terrific event: well-planned, well-organized, well-laid-out. A bigger crowd would have been nice for the sake of the organizers and authors but the small locale and the low-key atmosphere couldn't have been better. Doing bigger Cons, even San Diego, is one thing with a costume like this but when you find your favourite authors from your favourite series landing in your own backyard? You can only resort to internet-speak and rant and rave about the sheer amount of FEELS you have. And hope to god that all future Con experiences are not tainted by comparison.

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