Running Through the Streets

by Libia Brenda

Here is the epic tale of how we brought copies of A Larger Reality to the Mexicanx Initiative reception:

It started before I left home.

A Larger Reality  all packaged up and ready to go (Photo by Libia Brenda)

A Larger Reality all packaged up and ready to go (Photo by Libia Brenda)

How, oh how was I going to get 200 fucking books to another country? I had calculated 100 grams per copy, but in reality it was more like 200. Great. Some friends who were also going to San Jose agreed to overload their bags with thirty books each, and I was left with the small task of transporting nearly ninety books in my bag with the airline's weight limit of twenty-three kilos. You could put your underwear in your carry-on, which holds 10 kilos...

Happily, Iliana and I were on the same flight.

We flew. (Drawing of an airplane flying over the pacific ocean.)

When we landed, Iliana and I went through customs with our suitcases full of books. We were nervous, but everything went smoothly. Next the task of meeting people, participating in round tables (in English!) And getting very excited. The moment of the Mexicnanx Initiative reception came and we went to the party room (group parties in hotel rooms, but without orgies, it looks a lot like love...), where, apart from alcohol, the refreshments had not yet arrived.

I looked at everyone gathered together and I realized that this was THE MOMENT to give copies to all the participants, but who had my twenty-three kilo suitcase? Stephen, in the trunk of his car, because running from here to there in a convention center with two suitcases that add up to more than thirty kilos is not practical, let's say... not easy; and where is this friend now? Who knows! But, oh! There are ninety copies in Raquel and Alberto's room....

Enter José Luis Zárate and Gabriela Damián: we all went together to bring the books back to the party hotel (Raquel and Alberto gave us their key). Gabriela, José Luis, and your humble servant went on a mini side quest to get yet another key, the one for the party room (the elevator was very clever, and it would only let you go up if you had a room key), and we were about to leave when we saw, in person, George R. R. Martin! The patron saint of nerds (ahem) and of the HBO series... We nerded out a little, and I had the wild urge to go and come back as soon as possible, before the food and the superstar were gone... And so, with two keys to two hotel rooms (neither of which were our room), we ran four Californian blocks to collect the books so that we could give them out.

We ran under the hot sun.

We arrived at our friends' room and, ummm, did anyone bring a suitcase? No. Bag? Mmm, nope. A sad little box? ... Then how the fuck were we going to get these books to the party?! I took off the denim jacket that I had tied around my waist and said we could improvise a bundle. And José Luis, who is one of the sweetest people in the world, made a modest trip to the bathroom and was willing to wear his vest as a shirt (with Catrina on it, of course). He came out of the bathroom wearing his vest and holding up his shirt. "Here!" He shouted triumphantly.

We improvised two bundles, Gaby put some books in her purse, we loaded up more books loose in our arms, and we thought we'd better get a taxi (on the bed, by the way, there was a backpack crying, "use me!", but it wasn't ours, so we ignored it). We got to the street and, okay, California is not Mexico City, and it's not a thing there to stand with an arm raised and hail a taxi. None of us had Uber or any of those things, and at that moment our clumsiness became exponential. We weighed the load and decided (a terrible choice) that the four blocks were doable with the books and everything else. And so we started on our way bak to the hotel.

We ran again, with the books, under the hot sun.

We got there totally out of breath, we went up thanks to the blessed second key, we entered triumphantly and, oh, the food had already arrived and George R. R. Martin was perched in an armchair eating a carnitas taco. Nobody was going to want to hear anything about the books, at least for the moment, and John himself told me it wasn't the best idea, because everyone would get food on the books; and anyway everyone was much more interested in the salsas and the meat than anything else. We left the books on the floor and joined the feast because there was nothing better to do.

Eventually I approached George R. R. Martin. I gave him a book and we exchanged a few sentences (he was very decent about it, especially since I didn't follow any kind of established protocol). Then I left him in peace to finish his carnitas and I looked to see who didn't have a full plate so I could approach and assault them with a copy. It was almost like I was saying: “Do you have a moment to talk about our savior, Science Fiction?” Later still, we drank, we ate, we relaxed and enjoyed the party. The afternoon went well, all things considered. I gave a copy to Locus, and another to Amazing Stories, there were people who asked me for books and others who didn't show much interest when I gave them copies, but the important thing was that running through the streets of San Jose was totally worth it because it became a favorite anecdote among many - because there were fabulous moments every day.

A selfie from below of a circle of Mexicanx Initiative participants huddled together at the Mexicanx Initiative Reception (Photo by Alberto Chimal)

A selfie from below of a circle of Mexicanx Initiative participants huddled together at the Mexicanx Initiative Reception (Photo by Alberto Chimal)

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