Grand Tour

by wjw on November 11, 2015

pharaohThis grim-faced, big-eared fellow is I believe the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Amenemhat III (my notes are a little unclear).

Just before leaving New York, we caught a special exhibit at the Met featuring goodies from the Middle Kingdom, which was a period of economic growth, massive building, and foreign trade, sandwiched between the fall of the pyramid-building Old Kingdom and the invasions of the Hyksos.

Pharaohs were traditionally shown as eternally youthful and smiling, but Middle Kingdom pharaohs were famously grim and aged, showing perhaps the great burden of being in charge of a kingdom beset by dangers.

The royals seem to have shared the wealth with the middle classes, who began to be buried in elaborate tombs, complete with symbols of kingship, like flails and crowns. (Presumably they weren’t allowed to wear this stuff when alive.)

At any rate, the grave goods are truly impressive, lots of gold and turquoise and ivory and glass.  Particularly amusing were models featuring little fellows sitting down before an enormous feast, including well-scupted buffalo haunches and heads of cows.  Egyptian souls ate well, apparently, despite having no bodies to feed.

After which we hied ourselves to Saratoga Springs and the World Fantasy Convention, which was an enormous amount of fun.  Both here and in New York I had meetings with my agent, my editor, my other editor, and my other other editor, so business was discussed.  The Richard Powers exhibit in the art show was colossal— amazing that there was a time when you could put art like that on the cover of a book.

And as always, there were feasts and drinks and friends, the last of which included but were not limited to: Joe and Gay Haldeman, Rick Leider, Kathe Koja, Paul de Filippo, Deb Newton, Ellen Klages, Guy Gavriel Kay, Steve Saffel, Jeffrey Ford, John Joseph Adams, Steve Erikson, S.C. Butler, Ted Chiang, Howard Waldrop, Alyx Dellamonica, John Douglas, Greg Ketter, Ginjer Buchanan, and Andy Duncan.

And the place was full of Toolbox grads, whose careers seem to be coming along just dandy!  Christopher Cevasco, Danielle Burkhart, Fran Wilde, David Levine, Rosemary Smith, S. Hutson Blount, Ada Brown, Laurence Schoen, and Kelly Robson . . . and I keep thinking I’m missing one or two.

And Kathy’s sister Alice joined us for the weekend, so that was an extra pleasure.

My apologies to anyone I left off the list . . . memory is murky after good times.

But the good times, or at least those good times, are over, and now I’m at home and it’s time to get to work.

Brian Renninger November 14, 2015 at 12:37 am

Man, Richard Powers. His covers should still be on book covers.

wjw November 14, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Yeah, for a while there Powers had a kind of one-man Surrealist show on the covers of science fiction magazines. I know people who hated them because they didn’t directly illustrate scenes from the works, but I quite adored them. They conveyed the =feeling= of the book without tying the art down to a particular vision of the settings and characters, and allowed the free exercise of imagination both in viewing and reading.

Of course no one could put stuff like that on paperbacks now, could they?

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