Even though events have been canceled and travel is much harder due to the coronavirus, cons are happening anyway. WorldCon in New Zealand is going digital, and to offer the fans more to do at home, Tor Books hosted their own TorCon over the weekend of June 12-14.
Panels included three conversations between pairs of famous authors: Christopher Paolini and Brandon Sanderson; Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab; and Cory Doctorow and Nnedi Okorafor. Book brunches were hosted by Mary Robinette Kowal and Jenn Lyons and Nathan Makaryk. A “Chaotic communal storytelling” saw several writers team up to write a story in front of the camera. Finally, panels on worldbuilding and fandom rounded out the events. It was a lot of nerd for one weekend, but I managed to attend a few from the comfort of my own home.
If you’ve read my review of the last Stormlight Archive book (here) you’ll know I’m something of a Brandon Sanderson fan. I also have fond memories of reading Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle back in the day. So, the first event, where Paolini and Sanderson have a conversation really caught my eye. Paolini and Sanderson talked “early” success – Paolini’s first book came out while he was a teenager, and Sanderson was twenty-nine when he published his first book. Later this year, Paolini will release To Sleep in a Sea of Stars and Sanderson’s Rhythm of War will continue The Stormlight Archive series. They also discussed the fun and the work that goes into creating a fantasy book well over 500 pages.
For those of us who like reading (or writing!) something a little shorter, V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman had conversations about their new releases. Gaiman is coming out with the annotated version of American Gods, while Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is coming out in October. While discussing the challenges to writing that social distancing has posed, Schwab recalled a time when she was not yet published and Gaiman comforted her, author to a fan.
Full recaps of these conversations, and the one between Nnedi Okoragor and Cory Doctorow, can be found over at Tor.com and viewed in a replay. While the summer of 2021 probably won’t see massive quarantines, I’m looking forward to Torcon 2021 and hoping that this will be the beginning of a new tradition of online events.