Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I went to my first WorldCon this weekend.

Hit up an open coffee event with the relentlessly awesome Stina Leicht.  Scoped out the dealer's room.  Hung out with my DFWWW posse in all sorts of permutations and exotic locations.  Skadged ham sandwiches and cheesy poofs from the con suite.  Got autographs.  Went to about fifteen panels, an author reading, three room parties, and at least a couple of not-really-an-event late-night lobby congregations.  Stayed up past 1 AM, twice, having amazing conversations with people who'd been complete strangers only that morning.  Attended the Hugos.  (Didn't get to the dances or the masquerade or any of the stroll-with-the-stars events, but that's okay.)  Met about 538 fabulous new people, most of whom I still desperately need to email/friend/follow.

In short, I had an AMAZING time.  The best single word I can think to describe it is "generous".  Like really.  Everywhere I went, there seemed to be plenty of everything: plenty of space, plenty of food (there wasn't even a donation jar in the con suite!), plenty of things to do, not only on the program but just spontaneously and for the hell of it.  Plenty of folks ready to welcome you into whatever was happening.  I didn't once have to wait in line (except for the autograph sessions, natch), and although a couple of the panels were standing room only, I didn't see anyone turned away from anything.

And except for my one brief turn as a Solaris panelist and a couple of exceptional dinner dates, none of that had anything to do with my status as a freshly-anointed initiate of the SFF literati.  That was just the nature of the thing.

Anyway, I'm home as of this afternoon, and already the glow is fading.  In seeking to extend the post-con buzz, I've started reading about The Problems With WorldCon, which can't be ignored.  For many reasons, it's skewing dishearteningly old, white, and wealthy - I've noticed that about the writers' conferences I've attended as well - and it's hard to fully enjoy something like that once you start thinking about all the people who aren't there, and why.

But before I surrender to rationality, and while I'm still new and fresh on this whole con-circuit thing, I want to write it here for posterity: this was without question the best convention I've ever attended - really, one of the best times of my whole life - and I feel so, so fortunate to have had the time, health, and money that made this experience possible.  I understand now why there are charities who raise money for fans who wouldn't otherwise get to go to these things, and absolutely must start throwing my weight behind them.

In the meantime, I have about 538 fresh ideas on how to survive between now and WorldCon 2014, and a vast, faintly menacing number of tasks to complete in the meantime.

Challenge accepted.

And may I just say, 'yee', and indeed, 'haw'.


  1. What a great experience. Glad you can enjoy AND have perspective. It's good to contribute on both fronts.

    1. Well, it's hard not to, after this many years of relentless public schooling, Spanish day-care, and community college. Strange to say it, but thanks for raising us in Irving, ma - you've made us into real forward-thinking citizens of the world!

  2. I'm jealous of these 538 new friends. Who do I need to off to stay ahead?

    1. Haha, no no, dude - I said 'new', not 'better'. Your charmingly violent place in the social hierarchy is secure, and I promise I won't let anyone else go through my garbage until you've had first dibs!

  3. "this was without question the best convention I've ever attended"

    I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. WorldCon was beyond great.

    I felt WorldCon had a more diverse attendee population than other cons I've attended. However, I agree that SF&F can always be more inclusive. Also, the aging of the SF&F audience is a concern.

    When you have time, I'd be honored if you visited




      Why was I not informed?! You bet your ass I'll visit! Shoot, I'll subscribe, comment, and cyberstalk until you feel like Jodie Foster!

      And yeah, dude, this one definitely had more kinds of folks than others I've been to - I just feel bad that 'more' pretty much means 'any'. I really like what Kirk's been saying about giving away 'scholarships' to DFWcon to people who might not otherwise be able to go, and I hope we can do more in that vein.

      Anyway - onward, to blog!

  4. In regards to writing conventions, I think if the sci-fi/fantasy genre honestly wants to stay representative and relevant to the widest cross section of humanity possible (in terms of both authors and characters), the convention format itself might have to be rethought. So then I thought, to what? How might you best reach that widest cross section? I think some of the information available at writer's conventions might also be presented to the general public, for free. I thought, if there was someone to present a no-charge half-hour class on how to format, present, and pitch a manuscript followed a week later with actual agents present to hear an hour or two of five minute pitches, and all of this was held at, say, a large public library? Who knows what they might find. Now what if these classes and pitch sessions happened at EVERY public library in the United States? Unrealistic, I know, but I think if you want to include everyone, you have to make sure everyone gets a chance.


    1. Totally, Frankles, totally. We have what's rapidly becoming the world's largest democracy (namely, the Internet), and yet that doesn't seem to translate to representative co-mingling in the real world.

      That's the major challenge I see in your suggestion - you know, how to get agents and editors out to Muleshoe, Texas to do those cool pro bono classes. Cuz once airfare and hotels start getting involved, the possibilities seem to dry up in pretty short order.

      It IS true that living in NYC is no longer the requirement it used to be for serious agents and editors (here's me signed with an agency right up there in Minneapolis, and a publisher in Oxfordshire!), so there are more communities with literary talent right in their own back yards than there used to be. But I think if we're going to achieve a truly even spread, we're going to have to move further out of carbon-world and get more people online.

    2. I considered the net and yeah, that is a really good place to go for things too, but it's reliant on people having a working net-connected device. And I have the idea that anytime people are face to face there's an automatic advantage over people who are simply online presences, but that's my bias. Right now there's no good answer, but like everything else, the problem has been realized, so steps can start being taken to correct it.