Back from World Tour!
Europe. I'll never quite get what the fuss is about Paris being so beautiful and romantic. I like cities, lots of cities, but I don't see anything special there. If anything, I had more fun in London. (And yes, of course one has to factor in that not being able to communicate effectively diminishes one's fun.) With so many south Asian people, it seemed nearly as cosmopolitan as Paris, and more compact to get around the downtown area.
As often happens, sometimes the lesser known gems stand out more than the "big" stuff that everyone "has" to see. I thought the Imperial War Museum was amazing, and really conveyed a lot of the glory and horror of war, and all in a very compact experience, whereas the Louvre and the British Museum are impressive for sheer size, but after a while, another 12' high statue of an Assyrian winged man-lion, or another 10'x20' canvas of some gaudy, 18th century artist all start to blur together. And the tiny (one full floor of galleries) art museum in Liverpool contained what were to me the most inspiring paintings - two of Dante that I immediately recognized from across the room, by some guy named Rossetti who was obsessed with him. The cathedral in Strasbourg also stands out now in my mind much more than I remember Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur. It was amazing to see it crammed in among so many tiny buildings in the downtown, towering over things built since it was, with modern technology. The stained glass was almost all destroyed in WWII, but the carvings on EVERYTHING are unbelievable for their attention to detail - every thing looks like it's alive, it's so covered with angels, saints, and gargoyles. Every surface has something on it - apparently, we were told, right up to the top of the steeple, where no one ever sees them (!).
NECON. Nice to see all my horror friends again. The zombie panel was well received, but the next day I had to put up with an hour of my favorite monster being maligned as part of (though not the cause of) the problem, in the "Killing the Genre" panel. But (I think!) it was all in good fun, as I had a good laugh with everyone afterward. Jack Haringa was on his tear about how "literary" and "intellectual" are used as pejoratives by too many fans, and I agree with him - and have even had those labels attached to me, by people who meant them as insults. (I can't wait for someone to use them about me and mean them in a good way! That'd be great!)
So, a very successful and full three weeks, and now for some sleep and hopefully get right to writing first thing tomorrow morning.