I went to Worldcon.
People. So many familiar faces! Many were expected; others less so. Some made for good company from time to time, others I barely glimpsed across a room. Some I see most days, others I last saw a decade or two ago. Some people I only even know were there from Twitter. Sorry if I missed anyone!
Programme. Huge and packed and not a chance of getting to see everything I’d have liked, on the upside that also meant little chance of spending much time bored. Some of the panels were a bit hit-and-miss but everything that I attended with a single person presenting about what they did (research, creating comics, etc) was excellent. There were solid academic and comics streams, and I think every academic item I went to told me a lot of stuff I didn’t know but nevertheless didn’t leave me feeling out of my depth. I made notes with varying degrees of coverage and legibility which I summarize below. The embedded recommendations cover anything I heard of at any time, so don’t take them as personal endorsements!
Hugo Awards. Massively pleased to see Ancillary Justice win, though less surprised than the author seems to be. Catherynne Valente was robbed. Randall Munroe inarguably had the best acceptance speech, using Cory Doctorow as a proxy, though Jon Chu’s reaction to winning was certainly the most affecting.
Art Show. Definitions of art often involve some notion of producing a response in the viewer. Too often I found the response was “oh, another spaceship” or “oh, another scantily clad woman”, though. A couple of things did catch my eye though, Vince Jö-Nés’s sculptures and Sarah Clemens’ paintings, especially Joyride.
Venue. The fairly linear topology of the much of the venue was very good for bumping into people at random, particularly when going for food. It was also located well for hotels meaning we got cheap rooms at the Travelodge 5-10m walk away.
Less positively some of the programme rooms were much too small for some of the items scheduled into them, and there was a severe bottleneck between the main collection of programme rooms and everywhere else, to the point that at one point I had to step smartly to the side when coming off an escalator to find the crowd in front had unexpectedly stopped. And at one of the food outlets I actually timed out and went elsewhere, something I’ve not done for many years. The rest were perfectly prompt though. (With one exception I ate within the venue. Given one of the tales of food faff I heard I think that was the right decision…)
( Programme Stuff )