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Brief interruption

Charlie here: I'm writing this in a hotel room in Manhattan. It's been a long and exhausting week.

It started at 4am last Wednesday, when I left home in Edinburgh; I timed the door-to-door travel time to a hotel in Colorado Springs and it worked out as 24 hours and 6 minutes (with a seven hour time zone change on top). COSine, the local Colorado Springs SF convention was a blast, and I'd like to thank everyone (and in particular, con chair Joe Sokola) for inviting me. Then it all re-started again on Monday, with a 4am start and a couple of flights that ended at La Guardia. I'm now decompressing somewhat, but still rushing around: New York is where a huge chunk of the US publishing business is based, and I'm here because my agent and both my largest publishers are here.

Anyway, because I'm here, I might as well announce that I'm planning on holing up in a pub on Thursday evening: I'll be at The Ginger Man (11 East 36th St, NYC) from 6pm this Thursday 2nd. (No reservation, all welcome. Well, all who read this blog, or my twitter feed, or my Facebook page. I'd rather you didn't try to flashmob the place by inviting random strangers.)

49 Comments

1:

ANy chance you will ever stop by 'The Dubliners' in Dubai?

2:

None whatsoever. (I'm not actually barred from Dubai, but everything I've read and heard about it puts it on my Do Not Visit list somewhere above Texas.)

3:

I suspect that Dubai is one of the least likely haunts for the Stross. It's hot, and he suffers heat only unwillingly (he moved to Edinburgh from southern England, not itself known for particular heat). It's not known for a thriving local SF community running conventions that he might be invited to. Its breweries are not generally considered particularly excellent. And no major publishers are based there.

So, unless he has to do a stopover on a long distance flight, I'm going to guess, no.

4:

Whew, grueling trip. You must be to the point where the things in the room move when you're not looking at them.

5:

and oddity of oddities, when I googled "The Ginger Man" to see what it was about, the second result is for a chain of pubs in Texas.

Coincidence? Or conspiracy revealing one Mr. Stross's true status as a crypto-Texan bible thumper?!?!

7:

There's the possibility that Prometheano (Jim) is benighted enough to be in the vicinity of Texas, in which case Google may have come up with a different weighting than it did for you.

8:

Ah, but apart from major publishers, Austin in February has everything specified.

9:

Once again, I am reduced to raising my fists above my head and shouting "NO-O-O-O-O-O!"

One of my favourite authors is less than 1000 km away (859 km according to Google Maps), and I won't be able to see him!

Any chance of coming to Toronto, Detroit or Buffalo (NY) any time in the foreseeable future?

I'm not picky-- Ottawa would do in a pinch.

10:

Charles is usually less than 1000km from where I live, but I still don't get to see him. Next time he's in Bedford he's welcome to drop in.

11:

Would Dubai let in anyone with even a vaguely Jewish sounding name?
I have one friend who worked in Saudi, but, like me, he inherited a Scots name from his father.

12:

It's not about being let into Dubai, but being let out again. They have some ridiculous laws.

13:

See these 'drugs' arrests.

14:


There are several quite different Texases, and you might find a quick socioanthropological tour of the part near and south of I-10 interesting. In the winter if you don't like heat, because it does get hot there.

15:

Aside from the heat issues (if only NASA would lend you a spacesuit for a week or so) I think you may be dismissing the potential of Dubai too quickly. It seems like a highly sfnal place to me (certainly a rather dystopian type of sfnal place).

What with all the high tech buildings, amazing (if useless) artificial islands, bizarre and contradictory social and economic factors combined with strange hybrids of medieval religion and politics, 21st century information technology side by side with mind numbing wealth, economic slavery and corruption would seem to be an SF writer's dream for research and inspiration (Gibson had Tokyo, surely someone can strip-mine Dubai for ideas? Or nightmares.)

As for Texas - a lovely place full of lovely people (and several excellent writers). When visiting Austin some years ago I was hugely impressed by a bookshop I browsed in that asked all who entered to leave their guns at the front desk. That's the kind of charming and thoughtful touch you just don't get in bookshops elsewhere. No wonder so many of them are going broke.

16:

Detroit isn't on my itinerary, but would Troy, MI suit you? I'm scheduled to be guest of honour next January at Confusion (January 18 to 20 2013).

17:

Hey, I *like* Texas. Well, the bit of it I've seen, which was mostly Houston. It was cute, in the way that only a city full of abandoned shopping malls and commuters complaining that their journey to work took a WHOLE FORTY MINUTES can seem cute if you normally live in London or New York. Pretty sfnal too. Not just the NASA museum. And we were taken to a bar in Montrose with 17 English real ales, delivered by hand-pump. No, I did't believe it either, until I drank it.

Also a short side-trip to Galveston, which is sfnal in a different sort of way, kind of Southern Gothic meets JG Ballard in a subtropical film noir set. Miles of oil refinery on the opposite shore, dried-up swimming pools, nuclear-powered missile cruisers, bars with no air conditioning and hypnotic ceiling fans, and pelicans.

18:

Mr. Stross, I'm a big fan of your writing, especially right here on the blog. Yours is probably my favorite blog, all told. Since I live in Manhattan and like The Ginger Man, so I really have no excuse not to show up. Looking forward to meeting you. Will try to not look too awestruck and will attempt to make intelligent conversation.

19:

I guess I'll add that COSine was a lot of fun--my first con since 1984. It's not a big one (rather cosy, actually), but with several other well known authors beside Charlie. Just what does one say when alone in an elevator with Connie Willis or Wil McCarthy, particularly if you haven't had a chance to read them yet? Most of the authors were from the area, or Denver, I hadn't realized there quite so many locally.

Ilia @18; Don't worry. I got over my loss of nervevoice and went for a beer with the Strosses, had a good time (hopefully had by all). Intelligent conversation is up to you, though I imagine NY will have a bigger crowd so less pressure.

20:

Back in the day when I was working, I sometimes worked in Texas. It was the only place I've been where people in suits looked at working class people in the same lines like they were an enemy. Like they needed to be kept under control. They were ahead of the time.

21:

Do you ever come by Berlin way, Charlie?

22:

"Any chance of coming to Toronto, Detroit or Buffalo (NY) any time in the foreseeable future? "

Or Michigan? It's sorta embedded in Canada, and is almost the same (aside from the rampant killings, trashed social safety net, etc.)

23:

I'm having difficulty working out whether you're trying to be snarky, or whether you did not actually bother to read Charlie's comment at #16 where he mentioned that he's going to be in Troy MI in just under a year?

Did you write your comment before his, and then post it half a day or so later?

24:

I've been to Berlin once; I'll be in Munich this summer, and Berlin is probably on the hit list for next year.

25:

Any chance of May?
Zero State is holding its first annual conference in Munich early May

26:

Will Washington DC ever be on the list? We have this cool law that means there is often great beer. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry/2011/04/06/a-bootleg-up-how-lax-import-regulations-made-d-c-a-craft-beer-haven/

27:

OTOH DC is the only place I've been in North America where I've been carded, at age 45!

28:

Munich sounds good (only four hours by train or so from Freiburg) - what brings you down here?

29:

> When visiting Austin some years ago I
> was hugely impressed by a bookshop I
> browsed in that asked all who entered
> to leave their guns at the front
> desk.

Any Texans not from Austin would probably move on to the next bookshop without stopping.

Austin is like a slice of Manhattan, somehow ISOTed into Texas...

30:

I take it you were in Dallas or thereabouts?

31:

Austin & San Antonio both have pockets of sf type people; And ther e is one town in West Texas (off the interstate) that is not half bad....

Unsure about Fort Worth these days; It may have been assimilated into the suburban (Dallas) collective.

32:

Definitely not. (I'll be there in June: speaking gig.)

33:

I visited DC 3-4 years ago; no obvious reason to go back in the near future (even though, yes, there is good beer there).

34:

Austin is like a slice of Manhattan, somehow ISOTed into Texas...

No it's not. I've been to Austin; if that's not Texas then I really don't want to see the real thing.

35:

And I'm about half the physical distance from Charlie that you are. The last time I saw hime was in July 2009. The next time will be next month at http://www.satellite3.org.uk/ Postal memberships are open until Tuesday, and Paypal or at the door after that.

36:

Love the fact hat you enjoy meeting new people and send outmaninvitemfor people to join you in the pub. I hope the evening goes well for you and everyone has a good time.

Love your books and your blogs btw. Thank you

37:

I can beat that.

I've lived in a flat 100 metres from Charlie's flat for 8 years and have never (so far as I'm aware) seen him!

I do however buy all his books and enjoy the blog and hope to make it to a reading/author event one day.

[*wishing I could go for a beer in NYC tonight*]

38:

What are you doing 25th/26th inst? We'd love to see you at Satellite 3 (ignore the "next month" bit; my wall calendar is slow).

39:

You win the internet.

(You might just be the type specimen for the anti-stalker, if you've really never managed to see someone 100 metres away.)

40:

The only one who actually said he is coming is Ilia @18. I guess I will too, though what do you say to a famous author?.

This rehashes the psycopath discussion somewhat but the NYTimes recently ran an article on an empathy pill.
...but the day before ran one on ritalin as a non-long term solution to adhd.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/28/are-we-ready-for-a-morality-pill/?scp=5&sq=empathy&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/childrens-add-drugs-dont-work-long-term.html

or how about plotting out your next next novel? Does crowd-sourcing work as way to write?

41:

Last time I saw him (qv) we spent most of the afternoon talking aeroplanes, with a time out for Charlie to fanboy Iain Banks!

42:

I'll also be there tonight, and like others above, this will be second go round for me.

Perhaps the Ginger Man could persuaded to start a conversation card program like the restaurant in Heaven at the end of Meaning of Life.

43:

You are too right, Charlie. Austin is horrible, even if it has proclaimed itself "weird" and the rest of Texas is worse. Unfortunately, hubby has a brother living in Austin with kids/grandkids in Houston, Dallas and Dallas 'burbs. Being a Californian, I'm really not welcome because I am a bit too democratic for that state, I treat all people equally and worse, I speak Spanish fluently. They are a proud folk, though. On my first trip to Dallas I was immediately shown the "grassy knoll" and the Book Repository. The cabbie then wanted to know why I was sobbing uncontrollably. Real nice people!

44:

Charlie, alas I'm stuck in Jersey working tonight until after 10. Any chance you'll be out hobnobbing again in NY before or after Boskone?

45:

Pity.
We debated having the ZS European convention at Solstice, but decided May 1 was more auspicious from a political POV. And probably cheaper.

46:

You're right, you don't want to see the real thing. Austin is not a bad place to visit (good beer and music), and there are some interesting people who live there (Michael Moorcock and Boz Skaggs), but it's definitely Texas. And the rest of Texas is a living reminder of the old joke about why the Devil lives in Hell: he's been to Texas. Also the Janis Joplin song about happiness being Lubbock, Texas in the rear-view mirror.

I've known a number of Texans living elsewhere who were really good people. I guess the good ones get out while they can.

47:

what do you say to a famous author?.

'What do you want to drink?'

Easy :-)

48:

One met his wife ten years ago to the day so I will take her out for dinner in the NJ suburbs, hope you have a great night in the city
Regrets

Rex

49:

He would say in reply, "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
There were about 30 people who turned up, but about 500 non-Strossians drowned us out.
Charlie is there any way that people who did come could exchange e-mails and try again in a different venue?
I met some really interesting people, but didn't collect anything except first names. Maybe you've started a movement.

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