I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

World Fantasy Con, dawn redwood porn



Above is the bark of a dawn redwood, a tree which qualifies as a living fossil, like the coelacanth, in that it was considered extinct and only discovered in the last century by a Professor Zhan Wang--more on him later. The dawn redwoods on the campus of San Jose State, and San Jose's terrific collection of contemporary art, were two of the best parts of being in San Jose to attend the Last Drink Bird Head book release party.

For those unfamiliar with World Fantasy Con, one publisher told me it is the Frankfurt Book Fair of the genre world. This was my first--a great time to reconnect with Clarion teachers and fellow students, make friends, carouse, and discover new writers. The first Outer Alliance World Fantasy Con dinner took place in the lobby bar on Friday; I hope this becomes an annual tradition.

Some new (to me) writers I heard read are Jesse Bullington and Saladin Ahmed--their readings were funny and smart--and W. H. Pugmire, who read a sonnet at midnight on Halloween that brought down the house. (The Bullington reading was his first ever, I think, which is exciting). My friend Kater Cheek read a story she wrote at our Clarion.

I have to post these signs on the doors to the vendor room, which I think are an homage to Magritte (?):



Friends have pictured Halloween at World Fantasy Con as a wild revel of costumes and disguises like the Masque of the Red Death, but almost no one dressed up--except for some steampunk fashionistas who crashed the con to serve tea and exotic 19th century snacks and show off their couture. I was more grateful for the tea than I can say.

I knew that the genre world was friendly and welcoming, but was not prepared for such extraordinary hospitality as I received at WFC. The guys who ran the con suite were terrifically kind and the parties were great--I consider myself a partyologist, and so can sense when a party is particularly well-planned.

Because I had such a nice time, this post must be very boring, so how about some more dawn redwood porn:


The ancestors of this dawn redwood were discovered in China in the 40s by Zhan Wang, a naturalist, conservationist, and inspired teacher of dendrology and forestry. Here's a quote from the pdf. I just linked to; it will give you a sense of Zhan's Indiana Jones-like panache:

The Central Forestry Experiment Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry appointed Zhan as the Forest Administrator of the newly founded Forestry Survey Department in 1943; he worked in that position until 1945. In this post, he led the first field expedition team to explore the forest resources of Shennongjia, Hubei (Hupei) Province in southwest China–known to the scientific community as a remote, dangerous and mysterious area (Liu, 1993). The trip was triggered by stories that the Shennongjia landscape may have hosted the ”Wild Man,” a legendary humanoid primate. Zhan’s report clearly rejected this hypothesis, but, meanwhile, concluded that the area is very rich in species and more complex than any other part of China. Today, this region is viewed as a "hot spot" of plant diversity.
There are dawn redwood fossils in North Dakota dating from the Miocene. To have them growing in North America again is quite a comeback. Thanks, Zhan!



(At the time of my writing this, Zhan Wang has no wikipedia! I tried all the alternate spellings. The person who writes and posts an acceptable first draft Zhan article will receive a stuffed penguin in the mail from me.)

These redwoods are the only photos I have from the con that are decent. They are a photogenic species. 

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