Friday, October 16, 2009

Bouchercon 2009, Day 2

Today had the fewest number of panels I wanted to attend, so we began the day with a brief walking tour of Indianapolis. Large swathes for Monument Circle were closed for renovations, so we moved on down a few blocks to the war memorials.
One thing I adore about places where the weather makes sense (if you live in Texas, you have to agree with me that our weather doesn't make any freakin' sense) is the fall colors. Or rather, the glorious riot of color that happens outside. We had a great time photographing the trees, frollicking with satyrs, misidentifying statues ("Look, it's Lenin!"), uncovering discarded gin bottles, taking artsy photos, stalking squirrels, and eyeing the local Scottish Rite building. We were going to try and get closer to the building, but Al thought he spotted some death-laser turrets on the tower. We settled for some performance art, instead. There was also a brief scare at the public library, with what we thought was a giant scary alien. Actually, it might be a giant scary alien, just one that moves rather slowly.

On the way back we stopped in an alley for a gag photo, where I saw this lovely piece of artwork, which you can click to enlarge if you can't read. Love it.

Around 3 we moseyed on over to the convention to sit in on the How I Met My Protagonist (Julie Kramer, P.J. Parrish, Charlaine Harris, Martyn Waites) and Murder At The Edge Of The Map (Leighton Gage, Christopher G. Moore, Tamar Myers, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Michael Stanley) panels. The first panelist had a talented moderator; it would have been easy for Charlaine Harris to dominate the conversation - not because she's an attention hog, but because she's the most famous - but instead the mod kept things pretty balanced. I may have to finally read one of Harris' novels, and I'd never heard of Martyn Waites, but his books sound interesting.

The Murder panel was fantastically intriguing: the focus was on writing mysteries that take place in far-flung (from the United States) places. The authors covered everything from superstitions in Thailand/Brazil/tribes of headhunters (no, really) to the local traffic of these places and exactly how good are hyenas at disposing of bodies? [Answer: they eat literally everything].

Between panels I did a bit of author-stalking. Liza Cody was wonderfully polite when I stopped her twice in the hallway. The first time was to ask the name of the novel she read from last night (Gimme More) during the Dirty Rotten Liars gameshow. The book proved difficult to find in the dealer's room because I guess it's not widely available in the U.S. yet. We even had to convert the cover price from pounds to dollars - not a difficult task, thanks to the fact that I spend far too much time on ebay. Then I pounced on the poor woman a second time to ask her to autograph the book. She was very nice, and although I considered that authors might not enjoy being asked for autographs outside of signing times, I took heart from the fact that she didn't tell me to go to hell; she does not appear to be the type of person who falters at being blunt :-). So, that was my exciting interaction with an author for the day, and I think I'm going to enjoy Gimme More, but I want to finish Hard Line first.

Dinner was at TaTa Cuban Cafe, where dinner - and especially the mojitos - was delicious.
After dinner it was time for a nap (or, in my case, troubleshooting the cable that connects my camera and laptop) so we could catch the late showing of Surrogates.

Three quick notes on Surrogates, because I just noticed that it's almost 1:30 in the morning. First, it is a brilliant example of successful world-building. Second, it's a bit slowly-paced, but well-written and interesting. Third, Bruce Willis kicks a fair amount of ass and looks great (and I don't even need to add the modifier "for his age"). 4 1/2 stars.

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