So after last year's exhausting day at readercon, I decided to go just to the free Thursday night this year.
(Actually, my natural cheapness was at work. Soon after I started a new job across the street from the readercon hotel, I checked the website for early registration. It was more than early registration for Arisia, and they don't have the whiz bang costumes and movies and special effects to pay for. And I wasn't sure what I'd be up to in July. Early July is usually a hot sunny time when people go to the beach. That hasn't happened this year, but how were we supposed to know?)
At 8pm I went to a reading by Elaine Isaak. She read from an as-yet-unpublished novel. It has an interesting premise, in that the main character is a barber-surgeon from the Middle Ages. Actual magic occurs, so it is fantasy, not historical fiction. I heard some kludgy words in beginning paragraphs, but later the story got more interesting as the main character developed depth. I would like to read what happens to him when the book comes out. Though I know, of course, it's bound to be bad, for you don't want to be one of her heroes.
Around 8:30 I poked my head into the panel discussion on authors talking about reviewing books. One author (Malzburg?) was giving a tribute to a reviewer named Burgess, who'd been reviewing SF books since 1965 and who died two years ago. Maltzburg turned to another panelist, Gene Wolfe, and said: "You know, Burgess called you one of our Greatest Living Science Fiction Writers".
Wolfe replied, "Burgess was very insightful."
That was a great response, and got a big laugh. It seemed a little bit too true in this case, at least to me.
I know that authors need to be egotistical. On the other hand, I gave up after the second book of Gene Wolfe's Torturer series, because it was just going on too long and he didn't move the story forward and he was just too pleased with himself and what he could write. The details of his world were just too gruesome to put up with any more without it moving the story forward at a more reasonable pace. After the first book, I thought he was a great writer and had created a compelling character. I got the second book to read more. After the second, I decided he was too egotistical to be a good-enough writer for me to keep reading him. Of course, he's the famous published author on the podium, and I'm not.