What can you say about Bouchercon that isn’t always said every year? It was great, the panels were great, the camaraderie was great, the organizers were great, the bar drinks were too expensive. This year in St Louis was no exception.
What appeared to be a slightly smaller crowd than in years past actually made for a better event, in my opinion. Far fewer throngs to plow through and you could always get a good seat at the panel discussions.
One thing that surprised me: I didn’t hear the word “ebook” uttered once until I attended a panel for which that was the topic. This is notable because, as faithful readers of this blog might remember, I attended Sleuthfest back in March and the digital revolution was all they could talk about, regardless of assigned topic. I found it curious that at last week’s Bouchercon ebook panel, the panelists were all from the traditional-publisher side of the fence. No self-published authors, no e-publishers, no formatters. So it’s not too hard to imagine how the discussion went.
There was a particularly informative panel on the status of the private eye subgenre. Max Allan Collins and Robert Randisi, two old pros who know their business, were standouts, waxing articulate on the changes the genre has endured over the years. Among these changes, they said, were the inclusion of women PIs by authors such as Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, a sharp change in locale from the New York-LA axis spreading out into just about every corner of the country, and changes in time period, stretching from the present to as far back as ancient times.
One note about the hotel (Renaissance St Louis Grand). Well, two notes, actually. It was very poorly laid out. The conference itself was in another building accessible through a tunnel, meaning that no matter where you were in the hotel, you were still about a mile away from where you wanted to be (I got a lot of exercise, I’ll say that much). Also, the layout of the conference area was extremely confusing and it took me about a day or two to find my way around. Naturally, helpful signs were at a premium.
The second note is the temperature. St Louis, a dreary city if ever there was one, was shivering in 40Â° temps and yet the hotel could not bring themselves to turn off the air conditioning. No matter where I went, I couldn’t get warm. My room was freezing under blowing AC when I arrived, so I turned the heat on. By the final day, I had turned it up to 87Â° (!!!) and that barely made it. The real temperature in the room was probably only about 74.
I signed up for next year’s Bouchercon on the spot. October 4-7 in Cleveland. See you there!