I’ll keep this
Second: Not only was this my first Worldcon, it was my first con of any kinds since I went to a Gencon sometime around 1989 (as best I can remember). I had no idea what to expect, except that there would be some people I knew (or knew of) in attendance.
As soon as I arrived, I spied George R.R. Martin sitting in the convention center lobby, holding court. He continued to hold court fairly regularly.
The programming was okay, but was heavy on panels that didn’t seem to have much purpose for fans or writers. The panels that related to indie publishing didn’t have the right panelists.
That said, people seemed engaged and to be enjoying themselves. I had expected the dealer room to have more vendors, but I wasn’t particularly looking to buy anything anyway. Especially books. I have so many unread books already, that one of my shelves recently collapsed. Truth.
Particularly interesting to me was sitting in on panels about the “new wave of SF” which began in the mid/late sixties. I knew nothing about this (having been born after the sixties). Panelists like Norman Spinrad and Kim Stanley Robinson (who knows everything about everything [and I don't mean that in nasty way]), were fascinating. I’ve added a bunch of stuff to my aforementioned infinite to-read list as a result.
I saw many famous (to SF and Fantasy fans, anyway) authors, and many up-and-comers. Perhaps the highlight of the con was the Hugh Howey meet-up at the hotel restaurant. He’s extraordinarily gracious, and a model for how to be a cool author. He’s like a triple crown role model: as a writer, as an indie publisher, and as a celebrity. Also, I met some really cool people there, all writers. Huge win.
On Sunday, I took a day off to visit my brother in Austin. I got to see his beautiful home and family and just rest for a while. Also got to experience the real deal Texas BBQ, where I at all the meat. Marbled brisket . . . mmmmmmm.
Finally, and not least, I met up with some friends, those I’ve met in person and those I only knew online. Had some great conversations! Writers are my people. I genuinely expect to see some of their names on the program in the future.
The Hugo awards ceremony happened while I was in Austin, so I didn’t watch it unfold. I pretty much knew who would win, since it’s kind of a popularity contest. That said, I was thrilled that Brandon Sanderson won for best novella and that the Writing Excuses team won for whatever category they were in. Best Related Work? Who cares?
One thing that is problematic with the Hugos is there is no YA SF category. This is obviously ridiculous, since it probably has greater readership than the stuff you find in the SF/F section of the bookstore. And of course, no indie category. I’m not holding my breath on that one.
The con has a serious age/diversity problem in my opinion. I saw a few more younger folks on the weekend days, but it just didn’t seem to attract much of the younger crowd. I suspect they were at Dragoncon, but what do I know? I’ll just mention again that they don’t have a YA SF hugo award, so you know . . .
So that’s it. Next year the con will be in London. I’ll be in Atlanta.
Eric Edstrom is the author of the YA science fiction series The Undermountain Saga and The Scion Chronicles
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