(This was mostly written last night.)
In an hour I’m heading to the Hugo Awards, then driving home to Cambridge immediately afterward. (Holy gonna be cracked the frak out at work tomorrow). I’m excited to be going to sci-fi’s version of the Academy Awards; hooray for being in a field where this kind of stuff is accessible to anybody who wants to show up! My head’s spinning with all I’ve taken in during the last few days, so this post is an attempt to assimilate some of it.
First off, I’m incredibly happy I came and feel very fortunate Worldcon happened to be nearby in one of my favorite cities this year. It made traveling up and giving it a shot with no real idea what to expect a much easier leap to make. My entire experience of cons to date had been with gaming conventions (Gen Con, Origins, and a few minor ones), and while there are similarities, Worldcon is a very different animal (and I gather the same is true of SF cons generally). Sci-fi fandom is a more cohesive, close-knit subculture than gamers, with a lot of traditions and odd little rituals. (Example: They have a thing for collecting as many stick-on ribbons as possible and hanging them from the bottom of their con badges, which are kind of huge to begin with. At Gen Con, you get to be awesome if you have an exhibitor’s badge, and that’s about it).
This was a working trip for me, but it was fun work. I went to a lot of panels, took voluminous notes, gave away a lot of chapbooks, visited all of the publishers in the dealer’s room, schmoozed, and listened to what a lot of sci-fi editors had to say. So. Much. Information. As far as the writing and editorial panels, the one person I didn’t get to listen to that I regret missing was Gordon van Gelder from Fantasy & Science Fiction. I also didn’t go to any of Tom Doherty’s panels, but I’m not trying to sell novels yet, so I can live with having missed that. I was hoping to see more workshops about electronic publishing, but the one I did sit through was excellent. Bottom line: if you’re a writer, go to a Worldcon or another major SF con that has all the wheels doing panels. I feel like my knowledge of what’s really going on in the field is parsecs ahead of where it was five days ago.
The science and culture panels I went to were uniformly outstanding, and I wish I’d been able to go to more of them. Too often, though, they either conflicted with each other or with editorial panels I needed to attend. Get a bunch of sci-fi writers and fans with the appropriate real world credentials talking, and, well, how can it not be awesome? I’m going to devote another post to the panels (hopefully later this week, although Gen Con preparations might contravene that).
Finally, I met some really excellent people (which I figured I would, I mean, they’re SF fans, they’ve gotta be cool, right?). I finally got to meet Jacob Weisberg of Tachyon, whose web site I redesigned several years back, although his awesome managing editor, Jill, wasn’t there. My roommate, David O’Neill, who I met on the internet at the very last minute, turned out to be an excellent fellow. He’s doing a cell phone startup out in Seattle; if I were a rich investor, I’d trust him to do good things with my money. I met James Bacon, a charming Irishman who seems to be something of a mover in British fandom. And I got shnoggered Saturday night with the absolutely delightful Camille Alexa, who edits flash fiction for Abyss & Apex. I haven’t gotten to read her writing or anything she’s edited yet, but I’m now very eager to do so. I’m going to take a risk and say that you should go out and buy anything with her name on it, anyway, because after hearing her talk in panels, I highly doubt it sucks.
I met a zillion other nice, awesome people, too, and if I yammered on about all of them, this post would get really long, so I’m going to stop now.
In summation, yay Worldcon! Now I just have to figure out where the hell I’m going to get the energy to make it through Gen Con next week. Ha. Who am I kidding? I’m already vibrating with excitement for Gen Con, which is good, because I need to stay awake for a five hour drive after the Hugos.
Aujourd’hui Montreal, Demain la Système Solaire!
I Twittered the Hugo results as they came out. If you haven’t seen them yet, they should be visible on my Twitter feed if you’re reading this within a few days of posting.