A Multi-Part Story (With Pictures!)
Part III: Sunday, March 30, 2003
WITH C.J. CHERRYH & JANE FANCHER
Finally, the moment you've all been
Dragged ourselves out of bed at 8am, because the kaffeklatch was at 9.
Showered. Coffeed up. Made our way to the Garden Court (a big open space
where we'd had supper the night before) to await The Moment. Several others
arrived, including a pleasant gentleman in the business of making jewelry.
He didn't give us a blank look when we explained the baji-najis. (I really
should have asked about that plural, now that I think about it!) There
was some sort of unseen signal--unseen by me, anyway--and we all stood up
and went into the "Garden Room" and sat. Jane advised us to get the buffet
if we were going to order any food, given their previous experience with
the restaurant. We all followed that advice and sat down. There were a
few mishaps--two of us (not me or Dramliza!) mistook the butter for ice cream
(there were belgian waffles). But once that was sorted out, we settled
in for a nice breakfast and conversation.
Okay. Here's the dope--the next Hammerfall book is written and was
(I think) what CJC read from at the reading. I can't be sure about that,
though, since we had to check out at that time, and that was it's own fiasco.
So far as I understand, she is currently engaged in outlining the next
three Foreigner books. She has titles, but didn't remember them off the
top of her head. I think Sabina should send an email.....
The sequel to Cyteen is also in the future, she didn't have a chance
to write it this year, which has been understandably hectic for her.
It was at this event that the Giving of the Buttons took place, as
described in Perplexed.
Then Dramliza asked The
Question--who killed Ari? She laughed, and said wasn't it time to go? We
assured her it wasn't, but somehow the topic never came up again. Make of
that what you will.
I did forget one thing. Sabina had asked about fanart/fanfic type things.
Fanfic is definitely out.
Dang! I know what else I forgot!
There's another Fortress book in the works, Fortress of Ice.
[Edit: Added it to the Big Book List.
Haut's Cool Sound Files
Yes, I brought
a tape recorder. Yes, Mr. Haut transferred it to computer. And yes, I have
spent hours and hours slaving away over the wav editor to get the pertinent
information out of the 60 MB file he presented me with.
Vanye and Niun: It's a biggish file, because she discusses three names.
Jago: This is a longish file, because,
well, that J is pretty flexible. And I can't help but giggle every time
I hear it--we all had exactly the same reaction to it, and it's captured
on tape for posterity.
Cenedi: She and Jane emphasized that
it was like Canadian without the -an.
Brominandi was one CJC came up with
spontaneously, as we were trying to remember names.
Vowels: he commented that in most of
her work the vowels were the standard ah, eh, ih, oh, oo you get in most
European languages. Here's the file. It's longish.
Later I realized I should have asked about Geigi, but I think given
the others that's not too hard to figure out.
CJ was quite a contrast to the two friends that came with her---she was
so different. She is nothing like Selina (it's hard to imagine anyone else
like Selina), and Jane Fancher is somewhere in the middle, talkative and
funny and extremely nice, but not crazy-outrageous, either. CJ seemed just
as happy to sit and say nothing as to speak. During the panels she never
spoke first, but waited her turn, then made several excellent, well-worded
points and fell silent again. If someone interrupted her, she simply stopped
talking and picked it up again at the next opportunity, or when the interrupter
apologized and turned the floor back over to her. She never tried to speak
over anyone or get a word in edgewise---sometimes there was stiff competition
for that---and she spoke clearly in perfectly formed thoughts. Jane also
many good points and explained her position well, but other than that, IMHO,
CJ spoke less and said more than most of the other panelists---not that
I’m biased! I didn't happen to see Selina in any panels because she wasn't
in any of the ones with CJ that I attended; she was usually doing a different
During breakfast someone asked CJ if her brother, David, had the same
temperament as she. She said no, that he was the exact opposite. Then she
explained that she was so immobile as a child that she would simply sit
in one place until all the major parts were numb (or asleep---I wish I could
remember her exact words). She also commented that if she had known Jane
at a younger age she would have had to kill her (for being so hyper). Jane
agreed and said she had calmed down quite a bit, but also added, “The leg
still goes,” and demonstrated how she nervously bounces her leg up and
down with her foot.
Here are more pics I found at the convention site. These must
have been taken by a dealer because the first quarter or so are concentrated
in the dealer's room. If you scroll down a bit you'll find two nice ones
of CJ with Robert Sawyer (#25, #26), a couple more of her at the banquet
(#55, #56, #61), and one of Selina (#66) being funny---the woman behind her
looks like she's about to spit out her food.
For my last $.02, here are a few things
I remember from the rest of breakfast. Disclaimer: what I have put in quotation
marks are only quotes only as far as I remember them.
As haut already reported, CJC is working on outlining the next Foreigner
trilogy. CJ couldn’t remember the titles and laughed---since they’re on the
computer, she said she has "no responsibility to remember them."
Ms. Cherryh said she only outlines before she writes when she knows the
characters well. With new characters, she writes down about 10 plot points
and goes from there because she has no idea what will happen. She said she
once found an old plot lying in her drawer and thought, "that looks like a
good idea, maybe I'll write that." Later she realized it was her original
outline to Downbelow Station. (I suggested she go ahead and write that one,
I had to ask if there would be any more appearances of Signy Mallory.
She said, "Maybe. It depends if I get an idea."
Someone at the table asked if she works on more than one book at a time.
The answer was a definite no, because each book takes too much concentration.
CJ said she and Jane Fancher read to each other during trips in the car and
discuss their writing as they go---this is their “writer’s workshop.” She
also said when she‘s at a certain point in writing, she gets so caught up
she can't be trusted to drive through intersections safely. Jane said she
knows when it's time to take the wheel.
The subject of gamers came up and their relatively new role in attending
conventions. CJ said she finds it troubling that they come and disappear for
the weekend into the gaming rooms. They add numbers and money and so you
can do more at conventions, but she felt that they are missing the most important
part---talking to people and making friends.
Anyway, we had a lovely chat, and
two hours later it was time for CJC to do her reading, and for us to check
out. Now, my friend and I weren't smart enough (or awake enough) to check
out beforehand, so we were rushing to make the deadline. Finally I told
my friend that we should put everything in the hall, she should check out,
and then we would get everything to the car. Which we did. Got to the
car, with all of our stuff (except the cooler, which wouldn't have been
a big loss if stolen, since all that was in it now was a few bottles of
warm soda). My friend couldn't find her car keys. So I went back to get
the cooler while she looked.
WINDING DOWN (& FENDING OFF REPORTERS)
On the way back to the car with the
cooler I was accosted by a reporter who exclaimed, "You're a girl, at the
con!" I smiled my waitress smile and said, why yes, I was. It was my first
and I was having a lovely time, and I had happened to notice a few others
of my gender around, what a shock. He asked if I'd like to be interviewed,
but my hands were full of cooler, and he said he'd catch me later. He never
did. Oh, well.
My friend had left the keys in the hotel room. That was easily fixed--but
after all that, we'd missed the reading, and the chance to catch CJC with
her computer and no excuse for not telling us the new titles.
Dramliza left. *sigh* My friend decided to check out the Tolkien panel,
which turned out to be very poorly attended, by panelists and audience alike.
Jane came with us, and managed to rope CJC into being on the panel. It
wasn't very well moderated, and sort of meandered along despite the expertise
and intelligence of the panelists. We ducked out (unfortunately not unobtrusively,
given how small it was) after an hour to hit the Writing the First Novel
panel. That was pretty interesting--the panel was all first novelists,
and they explained how they'd done it, and how they worked. They all said,
basically, put your butt in the chair and just write, every single day,
or whatever schedule, and just keep doing it. The published are the persistent.
Well, except for Mitch Graham, who seems to have had the experience they
always tell you you won't have--he read a novel his son brought home, decided
he could do better (never having written anything before), the thing won
a contest and the next thing he knew Dreamworks was optioning the movie
rights and he was talking to Spielberg. I'm not joking. The other panelists
said they hated him.
From two to three, I sat listlessly in the hotel lobby wishing I had
an ibuprofen and trying to rest my eyes without falling asleep.
At three was the Bossy Sassy Bitchy and Sexy panel, with Selina, Jane,
CJC, Beverly (also on the education panel, as Dramliza mentioned) and Laura
J. Underwood and Lee Martindale. This panel was moderated by Cullen Jackson,
who did a fairly good job. Let's see, high points. Cullen asked the panelists
who the first really strong SF heroine they'd run into was who'd fit the
panel's description. Lee Martindale said "any Heinlein heroine," and every
other panelist (except CJC) said "Morgaine." CJC somehow didn't answer the
question. That I remember anyway.
There was a lot of animated discussion, from audience and panel both.
Michael Sheard came in and sat quietly at the end of the table, listening.
At one point, someone asked what SF movie heroines would fit the bill, and
the entire room said, in unison, "Ripley!"
I was sitting right up front, and commented (during a discussion of
villains) that the easy way to make a female villain was to make her a
bitch. CJ asked the room if anyone could think of a villain who wasn't
just evil because she was a bitch. A few names came up, but I don't remember
them. Selina averred that we were getting very rowdy and pretty soon we'd
all break out belching and farting. There was some discussion of whether
it was important to a reader to know the gender of a character, and why
that might (or might not) be. It was the liveliest panel I'd been to all
When it was over, it was time for the closing ceremony, but it was
time for us to go. I wanted to get home and to bed. Which I eventually
did. And that's all there is, unless (extremely likely) Dramliza remembers
something I've forgotten.
And that's it. Again, much thanks
to Hautdesert & Dramliza for this wonderful report! --CKTC