Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WorldCon 2009

My plan last summer, if I hadn't gotten in to Clarion, was to go to WorldCon. I was pretty nervous about the idea of going to such an enormous convention, but my very persuasive friend Pat promised to see me safely through the experience. Since I knew there was no way I was getting into Clarion, I bought the membership. Like I've said before, I am awesome at planning.

This year, when it came time to buy the membership, I didn't hesitate. One of my instructors was going to be the Guest of Honor, and a number of my friends were going. In all, Megan, Emily, E. J., Keffy, Paul, Nalo, Jim, Geoff, and Neil were there. One of the best things about going was getting to spend time with all of them again.

There were many other kind of wonderful things about WorldCon. Some of these were even part of the programming: getting to hear the fabulous Cat Valente read her World Fantasy Award nominated short story, "A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica," attending a wonderful panel about using diction and language to signal things in stories, and watching a conversation between Nobel Award winning economist Paul Krugman and writer Charles Stross which was fascinating, and made me want to read work by both of them.

One of my favorite parts was watching the Hugo awards. The winners were both utterly gobsmacked and extraordinarily gracious. It really made me feel proud to be, even in a very small way, part of that community. And while it was wonderful to be able to cheer for all of my winning friends, the most wonderful part for me was watching David Anthony Durham's acceptance speech for the Campbell award, which brought me to tears. Dave is not only a talented writer, but an individual of great character, and I am so very happy for him.

Most of the truly wonderful things that happened were completely unscheduled. We were introduced to the exceedingly talented photographer Kyle Cassidy, who let us temporarily act as his entourage. (This involved having a posh drink in a lovely hotel bar - nice work if you can get it.) Neil sent John Picacio to talk to us at the Tor party. Aside from being a brilliant artist, John is a brilliant and generous person, and it was always a delight to see him. Also at the Tor party, my Clarionmates and I received career advice from George R. R. Martin, and yes, that is the sort of thing that makes your head feel explody when it's happening. We engaged in an ongoing snark-fest with John Scalzi, who is exactly as awesome as he seems on his blog.

Even with that level of awesome, by Sunday night, Megan and I had come close to having enough. While we both enjoy meeting new people for the sake of meeting new and interesting people, we also both kind of detest the sort of meeting new people for the mere sake of using them for career advancement. So post-Hugos, we skipped out and went back to the aforementioned lovely hotel bar, seriously discussing whether we would ever go to another convention. But we had excellent conversations with the charming Doselle Young, and Lev Grossman, whose new book I cannot wait to read. We were introduced to Lou Anders, who is utterly brilliant and spent a lovely time speaking with him and John about conventions, and reading, and many other delightful things. I also got to chat with Paul Cornell, who wrote my favorite WorldCon post, about Shakespeare and literary tattoos. (It is possible I may have also asked him if he had a spare TARDIS.) Delightful conversations with interesting people. If that's really what cons are about, I'll definitely return.


  1. Lou Anders has just told me that Graham Joyce compared cons to "a roving Brigadoon." Isn't that an excellent thought (though tainted for me by the incredible dislike I had for the movie musical when I was younger...)?

  2. Actually, aside from being an excellent thought, that seems about right.