I’m here in Belfast for the first time ever – along with the combination of the European Science Fiction Society convention (EuroCon) and the Game of Thrones fan convention known as TitanCon, run by the Brotherhood Without Banners.
I joined in to read from Bones of Starlight on the Literary Night mic. Despite appearances, I clearly remember looking up from the page many times:
The flag on the podium is from the ESFS, hearkening to the days when they would cross the Iron Curtain to celebrate stories and imagination. Photo credit: my seat nexty, Her Majesty Pat Cadigan (that is what it reads on her nametag), one half of this EuroCon’s Toastmutant. Refer to the fanciful cyberpunk Alita Battle Angel for one of her recent story adaptations, which I greatly enjoyed!
As a volunteer, I also took hundreds of pictures for people with everyone’s own cameras for the George R. R. Martin signing, which gave me the chance for another next-to:
I’m aligning my salmon tattoos here – George & I discussed the Salmon of Knowledge eaten by the legend Finn McCool and memorialized with a monument here in Belfast. He surmised that he must have eaten the Cheese Flip of Imagination, which I suspected I may also have crunched upon. My dress is approximating the interplanetary telekinetic known as The Rowan, written by Anne McCaffrey, in gauzes with amplifier crown.
I took a trip between conventions to visit something I wrote about first, then discovered was real when I checked: a thousand-year-old bar (pub), est. 900 CE, known as Sean’s in the town of Athlone, in the heart of Ireland. This is a section of the wattle-and-daub wall uncovered during a renovation in the 1970’s:
Mine, casually mentioned in Bones of Starlight 2: Abyss Surrounding, was titled the Show Horse. That means this pub was established at the start of the life of the oldest Sitka Spruce, which stands near the site of the Rainforest Writer’s Retreat on the Olympic Peninsula (WA-US), which I also visited this year! Co-generationals, classmates.
I happened to have a single American dollar to add to Sean’s collection of signed currency! For now it rests on the bar top rail next to the staff door.