Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ROR in Melboourne

I'm lying on my belly on a hotel-room bed, taking a break before the assembled talents of the ROR group launches into a reading of ten out of the twelve scenes of the opera libretto I'm writing.

It's been a good couple days. I flew in on Monday, found the place, and got set up. Present also are Rowena Lindquist, Marianne de Pierres, Maxine Macarthur, and Richard Harland. Missing in action this time are Trent, Margo and Tansy, all of whom pleaded pressing business. It's a smaller ROR than usual, therefore. Also, since we're in some apartments in St Kilda, we don't have the usual atmosphere of isolation to throw us together. On the plus side, though - it's Melbourne. I'm not cooking.

Actually, I enjoy cooking at the ROR retreats, but the setup here simply isn't conducive. So tonight we're going down the road to fang into some Malaysian hawker food. You'd think with Borneo so recent in my past I'd be over it... but you'd be underestimating the delicious factor of Malaysian food.

So far, over two and a half days we've worked through Richard's latest -- a followup to his very successful 'Worldshaker', which is in my opinion a much more interesting and engaging book -- and a project of Rowena's which is a bit more secret. We've also gone through two short novels (linked) from Maxine, and they were a real joy to read. Can't talk about it, but I really hope she finds a publisher: they're tremendous fun.

The reading of "Queen of Bedlam" will bring the work of this ROR to a close. I'm not expecting a great deal of formal criticism, but I need to hear the lines, to know if I'm doing okay with the vocabulary and they rhythms - and who better to read complex Elizabethan and Byronic English than a bunch of professional writers?

Ah, yes. Speaking of Bedlam, those of you curious as to what's going on might try this website, here.

Don't ask any more... I'm not going to discuss it until it's closer to 'go', because there's a lot of work to be done yet. But I have heard some of the early music, and seen some of the dance material, and holy shit! I am totally going to have to bring my A-game to this shindig: these people are talented. When this production gets to the stage, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Okay. Tomorrow morning I head back out to the airport and collect the Elder Son. He's decided to become "Jake Flinthart" for the duration of WorldCon, which should be pretty funny. I've also teed it up with Mr Barnes to make sure the boy gets some time off and away, visiting Young Barnes, and having a good time outside the Con. The kid likes his SF, but I don't imagine he's really going to want to spend the entire weekend following me around, meeting writers, editors, fans, and the rest.

They've got me booked to a nice range of panels and activities - a reading, the odd 'kaffeeklatsch'... discussion of the Fermi Paradox on a panel which includes Alistair Reynolds; discussion of ghosts around the world; discussion of alt-history possibilities for Australi. Oh, and a YA panel where I'm filling in at last minute for Sean Williams, who has been smitten with some kind of evil virus from his recent New Zealand excursion. Curse you, Sean Williams and your feeble immune system... now I have to figure out what the hell to say to a bunch of people who are interested in tie-in novels, an area where I have zero experience!

Not exactly sure if I'll find time to get away for dinner with Chaz and the others, but --- ah, what the hell. It's a WorldCon. It's bound to be fun.