The 73rd annual World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was named “Sasquan” this year and was held in Spokane, WA, USA from August 19th through the 23rd of 2015.
Patrick Hester bugged me back in February to ask if I was going and if I wanted to split a hotel room with him. I put numbers together, built a budget, and quickly decided that I could go if I could convince my wife to let me run away for a week or so. I put together great arguments in my head, and readied for the “verbal battle” that was to ensue. When I called her to ask if I could leave her and the kid alone for a week, she said, “Sure. Have fun.”
That was that. I was on my way to Worldcon. My first Worldcon!
Fast forward to August, and Patrick and I are off to Spokane to enjoy the convention. I should have written this blog post soon after returning, but it wasn’t in the books for me to have the spare time until now. This means I’ll bullet point some of the highlights and my thoughts at various points.
Here they are in no particular order:
- Great panel of Violence in Writing with Rory Miller, Carol Berg, and a few other folks whose names are slipping my mind right now. All four on the panel did a wonderful job.
- I ran into Dave and Teri Robison in the hallway. They had just arrived in town, and I got to welcome Dave and Teri to Worldcon before they even hit the reg desk! If you haven’t checked out Dave’s work, head over to the Round Table Podcast, or check out his other ventures at WonderThing Studios. Dave and Teri are incredibly energetic and enthusiastic about everything they do. Seeing them boosted me up from an energy slump just when I needed it.
- I got to see Patrick read part of a novella (long short story?) he’d written a few years back. He did a good job of capturing the voice of the story during this reading.
- I attended a reading for Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, and his playing around with prime numbers in his story captured my imagination.
- I practically stalked Wesley Chu until he signed my books after his reading in which he more acted the parts rather than reading the prose. Of course, he has an acting background, so this did not surprise me as well. Wesley is an incredibly cool guy, and I’m overjoyed that he won the Campbell award (more on that later).
- I got to meet Robert Silverberg and get him to sign my copy of The Man in the Maze. This was a great highlight of mine. I’ve loved the book since I was in junior high, and I’m pretty sure that one novel helped save me from myself back in the day.
- I also landed (after some additional stalking) three autographs from Mike Resnick. I made sure to reach out to my old roommate (who introduced me to Mike’s writing) and let him know about the autographs to make him jealous. It worked.
- I met so many great people who were incredibly gracious to me. Some I caught names of. Some I didn’t. If you remember my face/name from Worldcon, thank you for making it a wonderful experience!
- I bought way too many books from some great authors and booksellers. I think I blew my budget on day #1.
- I hung out with Alicia and Patrick at almost every meal, and the enthusiasm between the two kept me going.
- Fantastic meals at the Saranac Public House! (Great gluten-free stuff, too!)
- I ran into an acquisition editor with Edge Publishing while hanging out in the dealer room. I was trying to get a better look at some jewelry for my wife. She was waiting for someone to show up and give her the dealer badge she needed. While we did our respective waiting, I fired up a conversation with her (no, I’m not afraid to talk to strangers), and we chatted for a while about writing, publishing, reading, loving words, and so on. At some point during the conversation, she decided she liked what she heard about my writing and asked me to send her the first three chapters of both of my “first” novels (e.g.: the first book in two different series). Wow. I totally didn’t expect that! I’m still shocked at the request, but not so shocked that I didn’t follow-through.
- I participated (as part of the audience shouting questions at the panel) in the live Ditch Diggers show.
- I went to Worldcon with about 100 business cards. I came home with 4. My business cards mostly contain my information, but there is a bit on the side about Pikes Peak Writers since I’m the president of the organization. A vast majority of the cards were given away on behalf of PPW, not myself. Big names in writing, publishing, editing, and so on approached me (some of them even partially stalked me to track me done) to talk about coming to our conference in April to be on faculty. Me! I had people that are huge in the industry seeking little old me out. I’m still floored and flabbergasted by this. Even though the convention has been over for almost month, I’m still trying to process this fact.
- On one of the days (Friday?) there was a two-hour meetup with many of the Escape Artists crew. These are the fine folks that bring you stories from EscapePod, PseudoPod, and PodCastle. They also have big things coming soon, but I’m not going to post it here. They announced it (and recorded it) at the meetup, but I’m not sure they’re ready for the news to go public until they release it, so I’m sitting tight on the info. It was an immense pleasure to hang out with Dave, Teri, Wilson Fowlie, Alasdair Stuart, Marguerite Kenner, MK Hobson, Mur Lafferty, and so many more people that I’m forgetting names of right now. It was a blast. I had such a good time during those two hours looking up (short chair) at so many people that I look up (figuratively) to.
- I took four decks of Magic: The Gathering cards with me. I played zero games. I had too much fun doing other things to pull them out. Next time, I take maybe one, probably zero decks with me.
- Hanging out with the fellows from WordFire Press was a top-notch time. Thanks to Peter, Dave, Josh, Quincy, David, Alexi, and the others for the warmth and hospitality.
- Congrats to Helsinki for winning the 2017 Worldcon bid.
- I went to my very first Hugo award ceremony. It was a surreal experience because of the pre-drama, during drama, post-drama, five “No Award” awards given out in separate categories, and being in a room packed with literary madness. I’m not getting into the drama at all. I kind of wish my first live Hugo experience had been more normalized, but I was there for history. Let’s hope it’s history that doesn’t repeat itself, eh?
- I got to hang out with Cat Rambo and “talk shop” for a brief bit about being president of a nonprofit organization. We swapped info with the promise to stay in touch and help each other out in times of needing advice or idea bouncing.
I’m certain I’m forgetting something. Something more. Someone else. I’m sorry if things have slipped my mind, but it’s been too long (my fault) since Worldcon for me to remember more details.
A final thanks goes out to Patrick for getting me to go to Worldcon and for making it such a fantastic experience.
I can’t wait for next year!