The Mill ‘n Swill

Last night, I attended the annual SFWA Authors & Editors Reception (known colloquially as the "Mill ‘n Swill"), which was held, as it has been for the last several years, at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan. Met with a bunch of folks for dinner beforehand, at a great Indian restaurant called Agra, which is located conveniently a block or so away from the reception’s venue. At dinner were some of the usual suspects, such as Doug Cohen, Andrea Kail, Chris Cevasco, Carol Pinchefsky, as well some new folks and a guest-appearance by Tor editor David Hartwell.

One of the new folks I met was Greg Cox, who turns out to be Richard Matheson’s editor; he commented that due to the upcoming film based on Matheson’s I Am Legend, the book will finally be hitting the bestseller list, after only 50 or so years of being in print. This was a funny coincidence, as I was invited just this week to participate in a segment for NPR about I Am Legend, its film adaptations, and its relevance to post-apocalyptic fiction in general. (That’s where I come in; as an expert on post-apocalyptic fiction.) I’ll post more about that when I know more.

We showed up at the Society of Illustrators at about 8, an hour or so after the event started only to discover that there was no coat-check this year, and all of the self-serve coat racks appeared to be full. It being pretty fucking cold outside, I was well-layered, and would have liked to dispose of my trench coat, but it wasn’t all bad; carrying it around did afford me the opportunity to be chivalrous later on when I offered it to a chilly Jae Brim. (It was chilly because the top floor of the venue opens up onto a rooftop balcony, and many of us had gone there to escape the oppressive heat of the hundreds of bodies inside.)

Ran into James Cambias, one of the contributors to the The Pirate Issue (and a regular F&SF author), and chatted with him and his wife for a while. Actually, just prior to running into him, Diane Turnshek–director of the Alpha Writing Workshop for Young Writers–had just introduced me to three of her Alpha graduates and had me explaining the ever-so-fascinating tiers of the JJA rejection system. I didn’t manage to finish and ended up chatting with Jim instead. I did apologize when I found them later, but if you three are reading this, I just wanted to say again–sorry!

Saw a bunch of other people, of course, chatted, ate pretzels, etc. Fun, but nothing to write home about (then again, I just blogged about it, so maybe it’s worth writing home about after all). It’s probably more of a cool and/or important function if you don’t know a lot of people in the field and don’t live in the New York area or don’t go to conventions, but for a con-regular, tri-stater like me, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.