WorldCon 2011 Overview

Well, we are back from WorldCon. Arrived at M William’s home at about 3 AM last night. I got to sleep in, she had to go to work. Sometimes life is not fair like that.  Still! We are both agreed that WorldCon was both amazing and very much worth every bit of hassle.  She in particular had some major break-throughs with getting the tools she needs to improve her craft.   My silt is still settling, but some very juicy tidbits are shaking free.

Overall, I was surprised to discover that WorldCon was a lot like the 2008 ATA Conference I attended in Orlando, just bigger.  Professionals, aspirants, teachers, students, apprentices, etc.   But the major difference between the two was how vulnerable the authors, editors, and artists felt at WorldCon.  This wasn’t just business, it was personal, and so there was this hesitancy, this personal  and personable flavor at WorldCon that was lacking among the confident, crisp business professionals of the ATA.   People dressed casually, they acted more casually…and yeah, you don’t find people dressed in steampunk attire at a translators’ conference, though I admit I was expecting to see more of that than I did.

Rumor also had it that WorldCon is such a big convention you would not be able to find all the people you would want to talk to, and if you want to talk to people you should go to WorldFantasy instead.  Maybe I just lucked out, but I saw everyone I knew would be there–on a daily basis.  If I had the energy, I could have talked to such names as Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Patricia Briggs, Mary Robinette Kowal, Gail Carriger, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lou Anders, Harry Turtledove, Aliette de Bodard, Steve Jackson…and the list goes on.  If you want to meet people, come to WorldCon.  Once you start looking, you can find everyone.   Even as out of it as I was, I still managed to talk to a few.

I even got my first “snobby/mean professional author” encounter!  It took me by surprise since absolutely everyone else I saw or interacted with was down-to-earth, approachable and very nice.  But what surprised me even more was that I handled his rather condescending comments so well he personally sought me out the next day to have a much more friendly conversation. So I guess I earned his respect.  I am still a little baffled by it–but also pleased.

Otherwise, I think I will post the general trend of panels I went to. If you’re interested in a topic, just comment and I will go into more detail about it.

We went to a few signings and Pat Rothfuss’ reading.  We went to the opening and closing ceremonies and the Tor Party.  Panel topics included: zombies, paranormal as metaphor, game design (we went to several since M Williams is going into the field),  star charts, theater make-up, grittiness and realism in fantasy, non-European medieval fantasies, forthcoming books from Tor, fan-made action-figures, Iron chef style flash-fiction, gender/sexual/multicultural issues in sf&f books.  We saw a two-hour medieval weapon and armor demonstration and history and I got to to play with the best balanced, well-crafted short sword ever. (He also named it Hummingbird and I think that is awesome).  We went to Robin Hobb’s discussion on writing.   We attended the live recording of several Writing Excuses podcasts.  We lurked around the dealers’ rooms and made new friends there.  We dressed up all fancy and went to the Hugo Awards.  We got free books at the freebies table.

In short, we have a goal to go next year. There is so much going on that everyone who attends has a completely different experience than anyone else, but everyone seems to get what they need. So, enjoy! Next year is in Chicago.  Start saving your monies!

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3 responses to “WorldCon 2011 Overview

  • Charlie

    I want to hear this author encounter story…

  • Nathan Major

    I do too. Is it polite to request it? George R. R. Martin looked completely perturbed when I asked him to sign my Kindle when I caught him in the food court. But he’s awesome so I guess I forgive him. 😛

  • Laura

    Lol. Well, I guess I better!

    I won’t mention names, because that’d probably be bad form, but! We got to the party early. Since the suite’s door was closed, nothing appeared to be happening, and I was too out of sorts to reason anything out, I decided to turn to the first familiar face I saw–which happened to be Mr. Pro-Author’s. I addressed him by name then asked him if we were in the right spot, etc.

    Mr. Pro-Author said yes, we were, but it didn’t start yet, we were early. I tried to sort out how we got there early since I thought we were late, gave up. Then I thanked him. He asked if I was an “aspiring writer” which I said I was, (no sense arguing the semantics that I was already a professional translator and that anyone who writes is thereby a write-er). His tone of voice, I might add, started being condescending at this point. Especially in his next question, which was approximately, “Ah, so you’ve heard that you can just walk in and get a contract?”

    Me, turning on my best no-nonsense/winning smile, “Nope! I’m just here because most of the books on my shelf are from ___ ” and so on, preceding to express my love for the many good books by the publisher I like.

    Mr. Pro-Author agreed with me, seeming a little taken-aback that I wasn’t, in fact, here to wheedle or ply a contract out of anyone.

    Then enter Clueless Fan onto the scene. Also an “aspiring writer”. He joins into the conversation but unfortunately asks Mr. Pro-Author what books he has written. I try to rush to his rescue, feeling from Pro-Author’s mood that this can’t end up well. So I tease them both about the 30+ books Pro-Author has written, knowing full well what his lists are. Unfortunately, Pro-Author still ends up making Clueless Fan trip over himself and feel very stupid when he tries to take back control of the conversation. I inwardly sigh, try to manipulate the mood back to nicer/safer territory, but! We are saved by Young Pretty Editor who opens the doors and lets us all inside.

    And that was the encounter. :p The next day he saw me entering the Dealer’s room and we exchanged some non-condescending chitchat. Much more pleasant!

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