Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Book Signing: Rothfuss, Sanderson and Weeks

OK, we went to the book signing today in downtown San Diego! Here is an account of things as they went down.

It ended up just being Laythe and myself that went down - the others that planned to go had to cancel for one reason or another (you pansies!), but we were undaunted, and piled into the car after a hearty after-church lunch, and made our way downtown (where I hate to drive!), listening to Muse and chatting all the way. We parked at a downtown parking structure, and made our way on foot the few blocks to the downtown 2-story Borders bookstore, where the signing was to take place.

We stopped while walking so I could grab a quick pic of Laythe in front of the Double Deuce. The scatological entendre was amusing to us. "Hey, let's drop by Double Deuce!" We chuckled like school kids and pressed on.

We arrived about a half-hour early and decided to grab some books for the signing. Laythe thought to bring his own books, but I didn't. I wanted to grab some hard-backs to get signed, but the only author with a hard-back available was Brandon Sanderson, and that was the Wheel of Time book he just released. That's Book 11 in a 13 book series - a series which I have never read. So it was pointless to buy that one. I decided to grab a new copy of Name of the Wind, and proceeded to wander the large Fantasy Sci-Fi section looking for one. And finding none. I asked an employee, who had no idea who Pat Rothfuss was - even though the guy was going to do a reading and signing at his own store within the hour! He led us back to the same section, where we all stood with mouths open, looking for the book, which was not there.

Thankfully, another employee with a clue came by and pointed us to the big display at the front of the store, lol.

So I bought the book (large, soft-cover) and we went upstairs and found a place with Laythe among the costumed Comic-Con geeks and other assorted Fantasy fans, and waited. Seemed like a small crowd at the time - maybe 120 or so people. Laythe's school friend Nikki showed up, and we all hung out, chatting. It was a good scene.

The authors showed up and were introduced, to much applause. They announced that they would be reading each other's stuff - an announcement that Brent Weeks admitted they all found to be rather odd. But they did it anyway.

Rothfuss, Weeks and Sanderson.

Sanderson read a selection from Brent Weeks' upcoming novel The Black Prism, which, frankly, lost me immediately and failed to impress. I don't know if it was the writing or Sandersons' delivery, or simply that I had no clue who the characters were, in spite of Weeks' effort at setting the piece up. Next, Pat read a selection by Sanderson, from his upcoming novel The Way of Kings. By the way, Sanderson had brought 21 copies of the latest version of The Way of Kings with him (the book isn't to be officially released in hardcover until August 31) and gave 20 away to the first 20 people that showed up to the signing. It was an unannounced giveaway, so I missed out. Then he raffled off the 21st copy - I came close, but missed getting my ticket called by a few digits.

Pat read the passage well, though again, I had trouble following along. There were amusing moments during the reading, which I tried to video tape, but the results were too poor to post here, sorry. Pat got a lot of laughs, but most of them were from dialog within Sanderson's writing, so he gets props, too.

Last, Brent Weeks read a scene from Rothfuss' forthcoming Kingkiller Chronicles Book 2, The Wise Man's Fear. He read a scene where Master Elodin interacted with his class. It was so friggin cool, I was beside myself. Part of it was how well Weeks read it (very good reading!) and part was I'm sure because I knew the characters so well. The reading of that scene was a highlight of the day for me.

After I took the failed video clip of the reading, the "low battery" warning came on on my camera, causing me much bowel angst, since I failed to bring extra batteries - and I wanted more pics! So I was forced to use my camera very sparingly from that point on, which was sad, since I wanted to document it all, and still get pics with Pat at the end...

After the readings, there was a brief Q&A, with mostly interesting questions and answers. Someone asked Sanderson if he came up with the magic systems or the stories first (answer: each book is different). Someone asked about having books optioned into movies and/or video games (answers: Weeks said he's done it, and it's scary. Sanderson said it's a win-win for him, since it doesn't matter if a movie versions sucks, no one can touch the book, which will always be available as is. Rothfuss likes the video game angle.) Someone asked the Quintessential Epic Cliche Question about advice to new writers. (Answer: Pat - "sit your butt down and write." Brent - "write what you know/fear." Brandon - "Write what you love.") Other questions were asked, but they escape me at the moment.

Then the signing started. To my shock and chagrin, they had everyone form one giant line and slowly pass the table where all three authors sat. I figured it would make most sense to sit the authors at three separate tables scattered across the store, with three lines, but apparently no one asked me. So even though there were only maybe 200 people there, the line moved at a glacial speed. After about a half hour, they got the idea to split things up into three lines - but they kept them at the same table still! So it was a mob again.

While I waited in line to see Pat, Laythe made his way through the Weeks line and Sanderson's line.

Laythe talks with Brandon Sanderson. Right after I snapped this, Laythe called Brandon a tool and kicked him in the nutsack.

While waiting in line, I chatted with the folks around me. One guy had a copy of Pat's "children's" book, which he let me read. Funny stuff. Then Laythe cut in line with us, just in time to get his Name of the Wind signed by Pat.

Headline! Rothfuss signs his name!

When I got to chat with Pat, I started by saying, "Pat, you are The Man!" We chatted about the friends I've turned onto his book, and about the T-shirt design I sent him, as well as some of the other designs. He asked if it was Dave or David. I said "Either one's fine." He just looked at me. I said, "Dave". lol He signed the book, I thanked him for his time, and strolled away a happy clam.

Then I read what he wrote...

How cool is that?

Here's how Sanderson signed Laythe's book...

It looks like he just scribbled out his typed name! What the!

And here's how Weeks signed Laythe's book...

"Night angels are watching"... O_o

I should have brought my hardback of Sanderson's Warbreaker, but I wasn't thinking. I wouldn't have had time to get it signed anyway, since Sanderson had to leave before I got up to see Pat. I guess I could just cross out Sanderson's name on the title page and pretend he signed it...

Pat was going to take pics with fans after the signing was done, but at the rate we were going through the line, it would have been another hour at least. I didn't think we could last that long, so we said goodbye to Laythe's friend Nikki (who managed to get two raffle tickets, by the way! She cheated!), and hit the road. We capped off the afternoon by stopping at my favorite BBQ place for some tri-tip sandwiches. Then we went to the evening service.

Overall, I'm so glad I went. It really was a cool event. Great atmosphere, cool authors, lots of fellow geeks, and outside the box enough for me to cement the afternoon as eminently memorable. Look how happy I was afterwards!

'Fake Smile' alert!

And that was that!

Oh, by the way, I saw Inception on Friday night with the little woman. Amazing film. If that movie doesn't win Oscars this year, there's something rotten in Denmark. What an incredible script. If you haven't seen it yet... welll... go see it!



logankstewart said...

Man, with the SDCC going on, I can't believe that only around 200 people showed up. Still, I read this entire thing vicariously as you and wished that I could've been there. Excellent post, and I'm glad you had a good time.

By the way, I've got Pat's not-for-children children's book at home, I've just not had a chance to read it yet. But when I do, I'll have it reviewed fo' sho'.

Abbie said...

ahh dave, glad you had a good time! That is awesome what Pat Rothfuss wrote in your book :) And I'm glad Laythe got to speak with Sanderson! that is so cool :)

Crystal said...

Sounds like a good time! I'm excited for Sanderson's visit to Seattle in September.

Haven't seen Inception yet, but I keep hearing good things. It's on my to-do list.

Joseph said...

I'm with Logan, thought there would be a lot more people. That is one of the reasons I didn't go. Also it was my birthday and wanted to celebrate ti with my wife. However if I had known that it was just going to be the two of you I would have tagged along! I thought you were going with a big group. Oh well. Sounds like you had a good time.