Category Archives: Travel

Chicago in pictures

My trip to Chicago was rounded off with, somewhat inconveniently, moving house. After a beautiful ten days in 27 degree clear skies, I returned home, packed, moved, cleaned, and cleaned some more. I’ve finally got round to digging out my photos and it appears I mostly took pictures of skyscrapers, plants, and the zoo.

This was my first trip to the States and Chicago was a fantastic city to begin with. I stayed with two artist friends, Chris Kemp and Dominique Larson, and had a few days on either side of WorldCon to hang out with them and explore the city. I had previously only seen photos of Chris’s work and finally I got to see it in person. He works on huge MDF Board canvasses, and the paintings have a strong architectural influence (check out his website here, they really are amazing). Wandering around downtown Chicago I could see why. It was quite a surreal experience to be in a city full of skyscrapers for the first time, having written a novel set in a city entirely made of skyscrapers.

I had a similar experience when I went with Mini to her old studio to collect some work, and saw this unfinished painting hanging on the wall:

Dominique painting

Work in progress by Dominique Larson

Quite apart from this being a beautiful painting, there’s something eerily Osiris-y about it that grabbed me straight away. Dominique kindly let me post a photo here although the painting is unfinished as yet (I will be posting the final version if she lets me!). It’s the first in a triptych of work which I can’t wait to see.

Night Bazaar party

Left to right: authors Katy Stauber, Bradley Beaulieu, Teresa Frohock, Stina Leicht, Doug Hulick (back row) and Anne Lyle, Martha Wells, Courtney Schafer, and me at the Night Bazaar party

I’d been nervous about attending WorldCon before the trip, but I ended up having a great time. I did my first panel on Self-Editing Your Fiction and did a reading from OSIRIS. In particular, after several months of planning the Night Bazaar party by email, it was wonderful to finally meet the Night Shade crew: Bradley Beaulieu, Betsy Dornbusch, Teresa Frohock, Kameron Hurley, Stina Leicht, Courtney Schafer, Katy Stauber, Martha Wells and the mysterious Mazarkis Williams. Courtney had organized everything brilliantly, Katy had brought bugs, and I was amazed that people were prepared to actually eat them in order to get a book. All of the free books we brought had gone by the end of the night. Sadly I don’t think anyone managed to get a picture of them in all their glory, but Courtney has a few more pics of everyone on her blog, here. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make San Antonio next year, but now that WorldCon is coming to London in 2014, I’m hoping some of the Night Bazaar crew will make it over to our side of the pond…

I spent my last few days wandering about the beach, visiting Navy Pier, the zoo and the conservatory, raiding the vintage shops (they were good) and Chris and Mini took me to the Green Mill jazz club, where Al Capone used to hang out, which felt like a proper Chicago experience. Given the chance, I would definitely go back… So a massive thank you once again to everyone who helped get me over there – you guys rock.

Postcards from Chicago