And now the latest installment of, "If this isTuesday, that must be Whitechapel."
Jet lags rules, but I think I am in Los Angeles. Beverly Hills, actually. A different city, a different world. But they treat me very well here.
Scotland was grey, wet, rainy, but the Fringe was in full roar. Music everywhere, and some great shows that we did not have time to see. (I was especially chuffed at having to miss the James plays, a triptych of quasi-historical dramas about the reigns of the Stuart kings James I, James II, and James III, all of whom came to bad ends. You'd think the Scotts might have taken the hint and started naming their kings Graham, Rory, Duncan, Alister, Andrew…. anything but bloody James. But no, the Scots are a stubborn folk.
When something isna working, by damn, they stick with it.
But I digress. I missed the plays, and most of the Fringe, but I did get rained on, appeared in several hundred selfies with fans, strangers, and the occasional drunk who did not know who the hell I was but wanted a selfie anyway. I also did two major interviews at the Edinburgh Book Festival. You can find those on line. I will post links when I get home. Signed many books afterwards. I also saw many other terrific authors coming and going, but did not, alas, have time to talk.
In Edinburgh I heard about Robin Williams, which made me very sad. Never met him, but I loved his work. We will never see his like again. We plan to offer free showings of some of his best films at the Cocteau in weeks to come. DEAD POET'S SOCIETY is my own favorite. Oh, captain, my captain…
Next was London. Or rather the Docklands, which are to London as Jersey City and Port Newark are to NYC. But who cares, it was worldcon… and not only that, but the BIGGEST worldcon in thirty years, finally breaking the attendance record set by the 1984 world com in LA. (Well, Anaheim). Worldcon cracks 10,000 at last… it comes twenty years too late, but better late than never.
Would that I could say the growth will continue, but next year's con in Spokane will be lucky to get 3,000. And the Hugo Losers Party, traditionally hosted by next year's worldcon, was a dismal affair, the worst I've seen since I threw the first of those in 1976 at Big Mac in KC, Does not bode well for next year. In the old days a Hugo winner who dared show up at the Hugo Losers party, Hugo in hand, would have been thrown into the hotel pool, or at least had whipped cream sprayed in his hair. Now all the winners get is… congratulations.
I was one one of them. "The Rains of Castamere" won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. David Benioff and Dan Weiss scripted that episode and came down from Belfast to represent, the first time they were able to get to a worldcon. ORPHAN BLACK — a terrific show — also had an episode nominated, and a writer/ producer on hand to accept. But we were both vast underdogs, since the other four nominees were all episodes of DOCTOR WHO, the 600-point gorilla that has ruled this category since its inception. "Blackwater" did break the Doctor'es string last year, but that was at San Antonio. No sane person thought that we had the slightest chance against the Doctor on his home ground, and on his 50th niversary to boot. Even the BBC must have been dead certain they were going to win, since they sent David Tennant to accept… but when the envelope was opened, it was David and Dan who sprang from their seats and rushed to the stage to grab the rockets. I don't think anything could have thrilled them more… well, aside from winning the Emmy on Monday, but the odds against that are long.
What they did afterward was even cooler. D&D did eventually make their way to that dreary Hugo Losers' Party for a belated bow, but they did NOT hang around the empty auditorium for that endless round of group shots of winners and presenters that has somehow become de rigeur after the Hugos of later. Instead they headed right down to the Fan Village where all the party tents were, and bought a round for all the fans in the house, to share the joy and celebration. Now there's a tradition I can get behind.
Anyway, that was cool. GAME OF THRONES collected its third Hugo in a row, in a stunning upset over DOCTOR WHO.
And now I am LA, wondering if we can do it again in the Emmys, and somehow shock the world by coming up ahead of BREAKING BAD and TRUE DETECTIVE. They are the overwhelming consensus choices… but so was DOCTOR WHO.
Tune in Monday night, and find out.