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18558Mythcon 38 Report

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  • Berni Phillips
    Aug 11, 2007
      Since David Emerson asked for one, here it is:

      Mythcon Merriment

      Mythcon 38 was held in beautiful downtown Burb-- er, uh -- Berkeley. (And if you're old
      enough to get that joke, you are the age of the average Mythcon attendee.) Guests of honor
      were the lovely and talented Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, but you knew that.

      After the giddiness that is the check-in, many Mythcon attendees crowded into room 102 more
      than half an hour early for the first book discussion: _Harry Potter and the Deathly
      Hallows_. This was a no-holds barred, don't worry about spoilers, discussion to get it all
      out of your system right away. And so we did.

      At the dinner, we discovered what would be the main annoyance of the conference. Since
      Clark Kerr Conference Center can't boast the poor cuisine and weak coffee which has
      characterized so many other Mythcons (I still shudder at the thought of the coffee at some
      of them), it had to improvise its own handicap. In true hippie tree-hugging fashion,
      Berkeley stepped up to the challenge. Every table was ornamented with a Baby Ent, an
      Entling potted plant which was cleverly devised to have a large ball of foliage set
      precisely at head height, guaranteeing to block your view of others at your table. It was
      amusing seeing how various tables dealt with this. No fan of Tolkien would unceremoniously
      dump it off the table, but most moved it, either from place to place on a not-quite full
      table, or off to the side table with the drinks, where it would sit forlornly as if wanting
      its mama. But I digress. And anthropomorphize.

      (Hey, speaking of digressions, the Crickhollow Mythies from Reno had great T-shirts. The
      front said something like, "If I can't digress, I quit." On the back it said,
      "Crickhollow: a little eating group with a reading problem." That is certainly
      Khazad-dum's unwritten motto as well.)

      The Procession and opening ceremonies were moved to Friday night as the GOH had made it
      clear that they were soooo not morning people. This was fine by me. I wore the costume
      I'd made in 1988, the last Mythcon chaired by the hubby. As this costume consists of about
      10 pounds of fake velour (yes, fake fake velvet) with an attached cape and the only lace I ever
      tatted (or will -- I gave up tatting as too hand-cramping), I was happy to find I would wear it in the
      cool of the evening. Who knew that as the weekend progressed, the cool of the evening would
      extend into the afternoons as well?

      The opening ceremonies featured a dramatic reading from _The Fall of the Kings_. Ms.
      Sherman narrated, Sherwood Smith read the crusty old lecturer, Chris Gilson was one of the
      young students, I think I'm forgetting someone else (Arden Smith probably), and, in the sort of
      typecasting which he revels in, David Bratman read the pedantic old fogie. (I type that with
      love, dear.)

      Papers, panels, and readings made up the rest of my Mythcon. Others have written of the
      broad humor that was Lord of the Ringos, the Beatles' Tolkien movie. I found it very
      funny, even though I didn't know half the songs sung by our quartet, Mike Foster and Lynn Maudlin
      on guitar with Anne Osborn (insert last name here) and Ellen Denham as back-up, adding the
      perfect touches.

      I did not go in for my usual stint with Golfimbul because I was still recovering from a
      fall and thought that exerting myself would be a really bad idea. It seemed to be well
      attended, and in closing ceremonies it was revealed that many newbies had distinguished
      themselves upon the field of valor. (Two of Diana Glyer's students came up with her and at
      least one won a Golfimbul award. Not bad -- they study, babysit, and are athletic.) Kudos
      to Bonnie Callahan for providing a new orc's head since Master Hunnewell maintains the
      original in his Midwestern home as if it were his Precious.

      The MFA/MSA announcement has been made so I won't repeat that. I was charmed to meet Susan
      Palwick, whom I've long admired, and was sorry her _The Necessary Beggar_ didn't win. (She
      has a blog, fans -- http://improbableoptimisms.blogspot.com/ a.k.a."rickety contrivances of doing good."
      She writes about her work as a volunteer hospital chaplain in addition to writing,
      teaching, and, of course, cats.) I admit I really loved McKillip's _Solstice Wood_ and
      wanted to run away and join the fiber guild in the book, but she has enough lions by now
      that they must constitute a fairly large pride. G. Ronald Murphy was genuinely touched to
      receive his second lion, and I really enjoyed his presentation the next morning on "The
      Holy Grail in Wolfram's _Parzival_."

      I'm very excited about next year's Mythcon in Connecticut -- hey, maybe we can be
      Connecticut Mythies in King Arthur's Court. I'm sure Jessica will come up with a fabulous
      T-shirt since her Drunken Hobbit verse was about not having a new T-shirt this year. Oh,
      hon, it's so hard to top that one from 1995! (But hey, no pressure or anything -- grin!)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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