FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT
by Steven Steinbock
We have reached a cruising altitude. You may now use approved electronic devices.
I’m writing this—my final entry in the Bandersnatch journal—while
sitting in Seat 9C aboard Delta 6013 en route from LaGuardia to St. Louis. Has anyone else noticed how the pages of books warp while you’re in the air? Seriously. It may just be with trade paperbacks, but I think it happens whenever I bring a book on a plane. Maybe it’s just me.
By the time you, dear reader, are seeing this, I will of course have set down and perhaps will be viewing the famous arches from my hotel room. More likely, though, I’ll be in some panel, perusing books in the dealers room, or making trouble with my friend James Lincoln Warren.
Yes, it’s Bouchercon time again.
As Robert said in his column earlier this week, Bouchercon is a big event, and it can be a challenge for those who prefer to steer clear of massive crowds. That said, it’s possible to find quiet opportunities to visit one-on-one with old friends and new ones. It was, in fact, at the Seattle Bouchercon back in 1994 (the same one that he wrote about in his column) that I first met Rob Lopresti.
Tonight (this being Thursday, the day before these words will appear online) I’m meeting James and a gaggle of other mystery people for dinner. The group includes EQMM editor Janet Hutchings, AHMM editor Linda Landrigan, short story regulars like Robert Levinson and Terence Faherty (and their respective spouses), as well as a bevy or other cool people (Charles and Carolyn Todd, Bruce DeSilva, R.T. Lawton, and others). Nora McFarland and Sandra (“Sam”) Brannan will both be there, and both of them will be on my panel at 8:30 (ugh!) tomorrow morning.
The topic of the panel is “All About Eve.” I have a feeling that the
Bouchercon program team has decided to name all the panels after movies. At first I was puzzled. Remember, dear reader, that prior to turning to a life of crime (fiction), I was a Bible scholar. So I had a haunting moment of flashback. Did I sign up for the right convention? Why else would they be putting me on a panel about Eve? But after reading the description, it all came clear. I was moderating a panel about developing strong female characters.
Then I had a different kind of apprehension: why was I, the only male on a panel with five women, chosen to discuss strong women? Are they suggesting that I’m a pushover? What if I am? (When Nora suggested that perhaps the title of the panel should have been “All About Steve,” I really started to worry). My panelists are Sandra Brannan, Vicki Hendricks, Sara Henry, Nora McFarland, Cathi Stoler .
And so, as I wrap up this column, I find myself wearing my criminal briefs for a final time. We’ve had a fabulous run. I’ve made some wonderful friends. It’s been a pleasure to work with Deborah, Rob, Melodie, Janice, Leigh, John, Angela, and most of all our dauntless founder and editor James Lincoln Warren.
Please look for me in the pages (or webpages) of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine where I’ll be manning the Jury Box. You can also find me, as several readers have, at the various mystery conventions that I like to haunt. I also expect that I’ll be making regular visits to Sleuth Sayers where several from our lot will continue to post regular columns.
A big thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my Bandersnatches week after week for four and a half years. We’ll meet again . . .