In 2023, I had been scheduled to appear at Boskone, but ended up instead in the hospital. It was a big disappointment and so I was excited this year when I was again selected to appear on the program.
The second weekend in February happens to be also the second week of the semester, so I had a regular workday on Friday. I drove to Boston the night before and then had an early morning meeting and office hours. I had just enough time between office hours and class to run down to the parking garage to meet my confederates to open my car and help move in the books for the Water Dragon dealer table. After class, I was able to get registered, pick up my packet, and then spend a little time selling books before it was time for my first panel.
My first panel was Write My Doctoral Thesis: Science Edition. When I had signed up, I hadn’t noticed that this was supposed to be comedic event (another participant told me that they were under the same misapprehension, which made me feel better for having missed this crucial fact.) After the fact, it was a lot of fun. But during the session it was rather stressful: It was rather like playing madlibs with very smart opponents in front of a live audience. But I felt like I made good contributions and got some laughs. And I was pleased to meet the other participants who all seemed like great folks.
Saturday was my busy day with a reading followed immediately after by a panel, then a break, the book festival, and another panel immediately after. The reading was reasonably well attended: I read The Better Angels and the Military Morale Mishegoss, an excerpt of The Third Time’s the Charm, and The Better Angels and the Super Sticky Situation. Then I had to run to the Speculative Evolution panel. The participants were well selected, with people representing diverse perspectives. I was bit disappointed that the Book Festival was kind of a bust: I had a handful of people who came to speak with me, but it was a general problem: there just weren’t many people there. My last panel, Romance in Speculative Fiction was fascinating: it was an interesting group of participants. A number of audience members, afterwards expressed how much they valued my comments that provided representation for queer and non-binary perspectives.
I spent Sunday in the dealer room selling books. Revin’s Heart bundles sold well, although it became clear that people were planning to get copies of the fix-up which is now out (although I did not have copies to sell at the con.) This should surprise no-one. I was a bit more disappointed that, although people liked my pitch for Better Angels, it did not sell particularly well. People would listen to the pitch, say it sounded good, and then not buy the book. So realized a little tweak. Rather than calling it “light-hearted space opera” I’ve started calling it “fluffy military space opera” which will hopefully generate the right amount of cognitive dissonance.
Boskone is just a month after Arisia, but the two events are quite different. Boskone trends older — maybe 25 years older. And the participants seem clearer on what they want. And what they want is traditional sci fi like they read when they were younger. They seem therefore less interested in the new offerings of a small press. The booth just next to ours was MIT Press selling, among other things, books by Stanislav Lem (mostly written in the 1960s and 1970s) that seemed very interesting to the participants.
Sunday afternoon, we packed everything up and I drove home, getting back just before sunset.