Day 3 started late for me, as I got held up at home due to computer problems. I did manage to get to Icon in time to get GGK to his meeting at the Eshkol with the various media outlets of the sf, roleplaying and star trek media outlets. having left GGK safely in the hands of the likes of Vered Tochterman, Nir Yaniv, Mike Fiedler, and Dotan Dimet (ok, maybe "safely" is a bit of a stretch), I met some friends for a quick lunch at Odeon, which despite the previous night's ordeal has become a sort of home base for GGK and the entourage.
Two beers and some conversation later, I went back to the eshkol building, as the meeting was followed by a second signing sessions, this one for the volunteers who couldn't get free to wait in line the previous day. Not finding the time for the volunteers to meet OSC and get their books signed last year was a major issue, and I was happy to have the opportunity to do it this time. Last year, OSC arrived in Israel the night before the con, and left the night it ended. Therefore, he had to see everything he wanted to see in Israel on the mornings of the days of the con itself. This lead to us having a very, very, very tight schedule. But lessions were learned, and the fact that GGK had the weekend before the con to go to Jerusalem, meant he arrived at around noon every day, and we were pretty much able to schedule whatever we wanted.
After the signing, I went back to the con, and then joined GGK and company at Odeon. After drinks, GGK and several others went to have dinner, while I spent the time at and around the Cinemateque, talking with older and newer friends, as per usual. As has been the case with most Icons, I got to know some new people, and got to know others better. This aspect of the con is always my favorite, which is a good thing, as I didn't manage to find the time to go to any of the programmed events I wanted to. Except for the opening ceremony, if I wasn't on stage, I wasn't in it. This means I missed things such as Ilan Eshkoli's lecture, which is a shame, as he is an extremely entertaining and erudite speaker.
GGK et al made it back in time for him to make an appearance at the volunteers' meetup, where he thanked them, and they thanked him by way of the wave.
GGK went to prepare for his reading by going over the passage he had selected from Lions of El-Rassan.
Then it was off to the double header event – the Geffen awards and GGK's reading. The winners of the Geffen were:
Best Translated SF Book: Warchild by Katherine Lowachee
Best Translated Fantasy Book: Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Best Original Short Story: Dragon Checkpoint by Rami Shalhevet
I've already stated my opinions about the nominees, so needless to say I was dissapointed by the results.
This was followed by the reading, which I thought was excellent. It was interesting to see which turns of phrase and passages GGK is clearly still very fond of. The scene read was De Rada's raid on Rovigo's farm, an excellent stand-alone scene. I then got back to the stage, and did my usual (by now) bit of repeating, and sometimes translating, the questions. It was another lively session. I then called to the stage Itay Horev and Hadas Ferber, two of the three coordinators of the con, who presented GGK with a present from the con.
I next had to do some fast thinking – GGK wanted to go for drinks and invited me and Rani Graff to come along. But we also wanted to vote for the new board of the ISSFF, at the meeting that was taking place at the same time in Eshkol. My solution was simple – I got GGK and company a table at Tapeo, a tapas bar in Haarbaa street, right across from the eshkol. I then went to the eshkol with Rani, where we got Shmuel Shmuel to call us when voting started, and went back to our table. I was sorry to miss the actual debate at the ISSFF general assembly, and hope to be brought up to speed about it soon (I was too busy recouping today to talk society politics), but a last chance to sit down with one of my favorite authors for a drink was not something I could pass up. Everything went well. We voted, we ate, we drank, we got the results (the predictable nominees were selected). We then drank some more, talked some more, and eventually all went to sleep.
Rani Graff had offerred to take GGK to the airport, an offer GGK was happy to accept. So all too short a time after going to sleep, I woke up and was collected by Rani, with GGK already in the car. We proceeded to the airport. Longtime readers of this blog may remember how I was fortunately able to spare OSC a very long wait at the airport last year. Well, it seems I'm making a habit out of it. GGK was in no danger of missing his flight, but I managed to convince the security personnel to forego the x-ray, and just do the security interview. This left GGK with quite a bit of time before his flight, and so we sat down over some soft drinks and talked some more. While we were sitting down, we mentioned how small a country Israel is, in the sense that you always run into people you know. Right then, a young woman who was at the con appeared, and came over to say hello. GGK accused us of having arranged that, of course. When we took him to the escalator, right after we said our goodbyes, three MORE con goers appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and thanked GGK for a great con. Obviously, we immediately took credit for arranging that as well.
And then Guy Kay went up the escalator, and Icon 2004 was officially DONE.
And now, my thanks:
To my fellow members of the content committee, for a mostly harmonious process which produced a terrific program.
To Uri Aviv, Hadas Ferber, and Itay Horev (and Dubi Zolti, who replaced Uri for a short while prior to the con) for an excellent job running the con. This was the smoothest con experience I've ever had. Both before and during the con, everything I needed as GGK events coordinator was supplied quickly and well. Plus, no one seemed to want to take my head off this time, which was nice.
To Nomi and Tamar. The level of competence you two display at each con, coupled with your good cheer, is a constant wonder.
To the logistics staff and technical staff. Everything looked awesome. Everything seemed to work. In a con of this scale (and the number of people seemed be even bigger than last year), this is amazing.
To the volunteers. What a huge, terrific bunch of people.
To Dora. What an incredible job publicizing the con.
To Noa. If it weren't for your wonderful suggested questions for the panel, I would have had to think of more questions, and my brain was hurting at that point.
To Mike, Nir, Vered, Ilan, Rani, Tzippi, Lavie, Both Yael A's and everyone else I spent time with during the con, including people mentioned in the previous thanks. If Icon served no purpose but allowing me the pleasure of your company every year, and meeting more of you, it would still be worth it.
To Asaf and Deborah, who were my partnets in escorting GGK. Asaf, especially, took time out to do this on a week when he literally had NO time to spare.
And finally, to Guy Gavriel Kay. If you read this site in Hebrew, or know me at all, you know that Tigana is my favorite novel in the world. Meeting Guy, talking to him about sports and politics and books and writers, doing a panel with him, assisting him during lectures, hearing him read the words he wrote, and having drinks with him, has been an amazing experience, and one I will never, ever forget. Thank you, Guy.