Friday, November 03, 2006


This evening at World Fantasy Con, they had the mass autographing session. It was fun to watch. Take one large ballroom. Fill with long white tables in rows. Seat the authors, each with a name tent (that folded piece of card stock board), then open the door to the long line that stretched across the hotel lobby. Each person in line had at least one book, but there were a frightening number of wheeled carts stacked with boxes of books. The line filed in and chaos ensued.

It was fun to watch, but to be honest, I don't quite understand autographs. As both a fan and a writer, I've been on both sides of the transaction, and I can certainly appreciate being asked for an autograph. It's quite pleasant, but I'd feel the same by a verbal compliment. And as the owner of books, I have some that have been autographed, but here I part company with most fans. I don't feel any boost from having an autographed version.

However, just because I don't understand doesn't mean I won't make the effort. I take my place at the autograph table on conventions where I'm a named participant. I even put together a chapbook with the primary purpose to have something permanently available for those people who want something autographed of mine. (The magazine fiction is too erratic, and the novels haven't started yet.)

It could just be that I'm simply a reader, not a collector. I have stacks of books, but nothing like the collections my friends have. David Hartwell told me just today that he has 40,000 hardbacks. Last night Bill Crider and James Reasoner were talking about their respective storage buildings where they store their collections. The closest I came to collecting anything was a brief period when I was buying comic books. I stopped when I reached 12 long boxes full, and now I don't know what to do with them.

Anyone want to buy some light reading material?

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