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Dayton, OH CoT signing 16 January 2003 - report by Michael Martin
report from rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan
OK, Tim and Matthew did a great job on many, many aspects of the Dayton signing. I'm going to try and not repeat much of their reports; additionally, a lot of things that RJ said and many questions are well-known to the group (such as the Shipwrecked book, the last scene already known, Halima wears a thong, etc.).
I _was_ impressed with the number of folks - Tim was right, prit near 300. I lucked out - arrived at the store around 5:45 PM, saw no seats in the back of the signing area, lurked up front (passing Tim and his friend as they played Go, only I had no idea who they were) and sat down in the second row. Turns out the store handed out numbers going front to back, so I was #9. Having staked out a good seat, I was hoping for a good chance to ask all of the questions posted in the Last Call thread from yesterday.
Also, I happened to be sitting next to Scott Carlson, an occasional poster to the group since 1998. I sadly did not get the name of his friend, but they were great to meet and discuss theories about the books, as well as talk about other sci-fi/fantasy works.
OK...a few things missed on or not quite heard right from the other posters on the pre-signing spiel:
• When he said he was aiming for 2 more books, someone from the crowd yelled out "Make it 15 or 20!" meaning, I think, 15 or 20 books total for the series. RJ dramatically looked to the ceiling and abjured the Creator to _not_ listen. He then said he was Anglican, and was therefore allowed to talk to God. Has anyone ever read or heard anything about his religious background? Just curious.
• About that Asmodean thing...my impression is that during the last signing tour (_not_ in a mailed letter), someone gave him a "correct" theory on who did it. He did not confirm it to the person then, nor will he now tell us what happened. Much spirited debate followed in the crowd.
• About the Conan books: RJ said there was an odd phenomenon: if someone's ass was showing on the book cover, the book sold better (better than non-ass-showing Conan books, presumably).
Then the signing began. I had my list of questions from yesterday's thread, but resolved to only ask during my time in line, and shout out others as opportunity allowed. Permit me to digress and ask opinion: at the signings, I am always unsure about what is courteous/allowable protocol. More people than not seem to wait and line up and say nothing at all to him (though of the 4 signings I've been to, this was the most with people asking to have pictures taken with him), and so I figure, "Hey, if they're not going to ask something, _I_ will!" However, I can never really tell if this annoys RJ or not, and some of his answers were fairly curt. I couldn't tell if it was because I was being rude (or he thought I was) or that he simply didn't want to answer the question.
The question about his time at the Citadel was mine - meaning I asked on behalf of a poster here - was answered with what I took as "Shut the hell up!" shortness. If anyone can offer thoughts as to what they think is acceptable at such events, I would be most courteous.
Also, I happened to run into an old friend whom I had not seen for two years or more at the signing. So, despite my choice seat (front row after getting books signed) and list of questions, both my uncertainty of what was acceptable re: number of questions and the presence of my old friend made it impossible to ask all I wanted, and to hear everything asked by fans.
However, I was able to glean a few things by either direct question or hearing it:
Q: Length of time Danelle spent as novice/accepted?
A: RAFO (he gave me a small smile as he said it, obviously knowing why it was being asked)
Q: What happens to a piece of heartstone if a gateway is opened across it?
A: Heartstone is pushed aside, gateway remains intact. (He appeared fairly amused by this one.)
Q: Have we yet seen the alter-ego Demandred presents to the Third Agers on-screen?
A: NO. (I asked twice to make sure.)
Q: Why didn't Rand kill Padan Fain when he spotted him at the rebels' camp in ACoS?
A: Rand was there to reach out to the rebels, and killing Fain would not have been productive, and Rand is not a fool. (I had to stifle quite a few comments at _that_ answer).
I didn't ask about how many seals broken, or the odd smells, as they would get RAFO'ed pretty quickly.
That book about salt: Salt by Mark Kurlansky. It is indeed about salt!
At the last signing, he recommended "When China Ruled the Seas" (fascinating book, BTW); when asked about historical books this time, he recommended Essays of Montaigne and he also recommended Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Tim's reported his comments on the Air Force, which was both brave and funny, considering Dayton is an AF town (Wright Pat is here, and is the area's biggest employer).
Sadly, I had to leave early - had a relative flying into town and I had to get to the airport and pick them up. So my copies of TGH and FoH are still unsigned; everything else is.
Thanks to Matthew and Tim - this would have been _much_ longer without their reports, and they picked up on a lot I either missed or dismissed, as having heard it many times.