Ain’t No Party Like a SFWA Party…

Monday night, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America hosted their annual reception in New York, extending an open invitation to all publishing professionals who work in SciFi and Fantasy to come mix and mingle at the fabulous Society of Illustrators. The Society is one of my favorite places in Manhattan; it’s a beautiful space, full of amazing art, the staff is always great, and it’s highly probable that there’s at least one portal to Narnia tucked away in one of its many nooks and/or crannies. Also, gremlins might live there. Artsy gremlins. And possibly elves.

Editor Diana Fox, Charles Adai (Hard Case Crime), and Liz Gorinsky

Agent Diana Fox, author Charles Adai (Hard Case Crime), and Tor editor Liz Gorinsky.

For some reason, I’ve managed to miss the SFWA reception in previous years, so this was actually my first time attending. As usual, my expectations proved to be a little off. I think I was hoping for something like a cross between Alan Moore’s wedding photos and the Evil League of Evil, but it was not to be. There were no bejeweled, dragon-headed canes, nary a velvet waistcoat…there was a near-tragic lack of capes. Sigh. In spite of the dearth of SF flair, the crowd turned out to be a satisfying mix of authors, artists, editors, bloggers, and assorted really cool people. The atmosphere was very relaxed and informal, and everyone was surprisingly approachable (a fact which may have been helped along by the generously stocked open bar).

Here’s what I learned: strange things happen at SFWA. At some point I experienced the absurd realization that I was standing next to 70s film icon Melvin Van Peebles.

Melvin Van Peebles is so awesome.
Melvin Van Peebles is so awesome.

A true Renaissance man, Van Peebles is a composer, novelist, and playwright, though he is best known for writing, directing and starring in the groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (which is probably why, when I introduced myself as a fan, he said “And you still recognize me with all my clothes on?!!”). Ten minutes later I found myself discussing Stewart Copeland, Aleister Crowley, Ian Fleming and espionage with Glenn Hauman from, and later wandered downstairs to check out the amazing art hanging in the main gallery (including a piece of Mary Blair’s original concept art for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland).

Author Joe Haldeman, Gay Haldeman, and film critic/writer/man-about-town Mike Sargent

Author Joe Haldeman, Gay Haldeman, and film critic/writer/man-about-town Mike Sargent.

That’s pretty much the way the night went; it was just a big mess of random awesomeness fueled by the love of SF/Fantasy…and, of course, the open bar, which may have had magical magnetic powers, or possibly invisible tentacles. In any case, it was extremely hard to get to work on time the next day, and everyone was pretty cranky—so let’s just blame everything on the wrath of fiendish, unstoppable bar-tentacles.  Looking forward to battling those again next year, now that I know what we’re up against. In the meantime, Irene Gallo has some pictures of the event here, and Kathryn Cramer has posted David Hartwell’s photos here. Enjoy!


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