Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My First Worldcon

Wow...where to start?  This past weekend, I attended my very first con, Chicon 7.  Yeah, I jumped right into the deep end, as quite a few people pointed out to me.  It was a blur, of course, and I often found myself wandering in a daze.  Luckily, I had some help getting my bearings.  I met my friend Lisa Montoya at O'Hare Airport and we traveled and learned together.  It was her first con too, but it's good to have someone to turn to and say, "Is this where we're supposed to be?"  The other person who kept me oriented was Jamie Todd Rubin.  Within minutes of tweeting that I had arrived, I had an invitation from Jamie to meet him at the Big Bar.  He walked me through a lot of the activities, showed me the ropes, and introduced me to a bunch of wonderful people.  Without Jamie's guidance, I would have spent much more of my time wandering aimlessly and I would have met far fewer people.

After a drink or two at the bar, Jamie and I decided to go looking for the SFWA suite.  We had the good fortune to share the elevator ride with David Brin, who entertained the crowded elevator with some jokes.  I've already lost track of exactly when I met people, but over the course of a few visits to the SFWA suite, I met Ken Liu, Dave Creek, Rob Sawyer, Bud Sparhawk and his wife, Rick Lovett, Mike Flynn, Allen Steele, Myke Cole, and countless others.  A highlight for me was bumping into Ed Lerner and having a good 20-minute conversation ranging from Interstellarnet to con panels to the future of Analog.  I also had the opportunity to meet Brad Torgerson and Alastair Mayer in person; I had been communicating with both of them online, and it was nice to finally meet face to face.

Friday was my Analog day at the con.  I spent most of the morning wandering the vendor area with Lisa, then met Stan and Joyce Schmidt for lunch.  We bumped into Jamie on the way and invited him to join us.  Stan took us to a wonderful Mexican restaurant, where we discussed his retirement, the future of Analog, and much more.  After lunch, Jamie and I talked about Stan and writing and cons over a beer.  That night, we hit the Analog party in the SFWA suite, where we celebrated Stan's career and met Trevor Quachri.

On Saturday, Lisa and I met the Escape Pod crew, including Mur Lafferty, Paul Haring, and David Steffen.  By this time I was catching on to the idea that most events at cons involve alcohol, and this was no exception.  We had a great time, and during the meet-up Paul learned that he had won a Parsec award.  I was fortunate enough to be among the first to congratulate him.  Later that night, Lisa and I hit a few of the room parties.  We drank with the Texans to celebrate next year's Worldcon in San Antonio, and also with the ChiZine crowd in their suite.

Sunday, Lisa and I bought a few things from the vendors and had decided to settle in for a quiet afternoon updating blogs, Facebook statuses, etc.  We bumped into Jamie, and ended up at the Big Bar with him instead.  Within minutes, our table filled in with the likes of Kate Baker, Kay Kenyon, Kij Johnson, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt.  Bryan and I did a lot of talking, and it turns out he has an anthology in mind that would be a very good fit for one of my stories.  That night, at the Hugo awards, we bumped into Bryan and talked a bit more.  After the ceremony we hit the London suite for their party celebrating their upcoming 2014 Worldcon.  Dave Creek and Rick Lovett arrived shortly after we did, and we talked with them for quite a while.  Later, we bumped into Bryan again and he took us down to check out the floor with the Hugo party.  Security was tight, so we went over to the SFWA suite once more and partied it up.

Monday was supposed to be a boring day--just a shuttle to the airport and a flight home.  It turned out that Jay Lake was on the shuttle with us, and we spent the trip to the airport listening to a fascinating discussion about the paleogeology of Mars.  Okay, so that had to be the end of the excitement, right?  Well...while waiting at the gate for my flight to be called, I noticed Trevor standing a few rows of chairs away.  Then he got into the same line I was heading for.  Aaaand...I counted off the rows, found my seat, and there was Trevor right next to me.  Am I the luckiest writer or what?  I was fortunate enough to spend an hour-and-a-half flight sitting next to Trevor Quachri, the incoming editor of Analog.  We talked about the magazine, of course, it's history and it's future.  But we also chatted about other aspects of life--hobbies, cooking, family, and more.  Turns out he's a Giants fan, but I can forgive him for that!  It was very nice to get to know him a bit better.

Okay, so that's the brief (!) synopsis.  I'm missing a lot of events, and even more wonderful people whose names are darting in and out of my mind as I think back.  And I shouldn't neglect the food, which was wonderful, especially some local places recommended by my old friend Jim Stem.  To sum it all up, Worldcon was more fun than I could have possibly imagined.  I was welcomed by the other writers and accepted as one of their own, I got to do a good deal of partying, and got the opportunity to put faces to quite a few names in my inbox.  Oh, and yes, I will be at San Antonio next year!


  1. Yup, that was a WorldCon. I'm so glad you had a great time. I knew you would. I just wish I could have been among those people you finally got to meet.

  2. Yes, it would have been good to meet you at long last. I hope things are getting better on your end. You have my number; contact me if you need some cheering up. There's always next year's Worldcon. San Antonio isn't too far, right? :)