Renovation (WorldCon) 2011: The Final Days

So in an attempt to be brief, I jotted down what I did on Friday through Sunday. Only a top level summary will get to the end of the con, so here we go.

Every day, we went on the walk. I say we, but I rarely ended up next to my husband. Already I’ve written a flash inspired by a chat with Sheila Williams, and it was good to get a little warmth and vitamin D each day along with wonderful conversations.

On Friday, Colin and I slipped out to get the CSA basket, so missed the morning programming, but got back in time for my third panel, Anticipatory Anthropology with Irene Radford moderating, myself, Juliette Wade, and Patricia MacEwen. This one didn’t quite turn out as expected, and it focused more on a depressing look at the future, but it was a good discussion with a lot of audience participation. One thing that impressed me was how many inflammatory topics we touched on with very little bashing, and what little blame throwing occurred was quickly brought under control. When talking about population management, food, politics, and resources, there was bound to be some.

I bumped into Colin after my panel and he wanted to go to the puppet show. I thought it would be a good break. It was nothing like I expected, but a wonderful interactive series of skits with the puppet masters visible and communicating with the audience, though only using words in the voices of the puppets. I can’t say more without revealing their show, but it was well worth the time away from other activities and a fascinating demonstration of poor listening skills combined with eager participation.

To close out the day, we joined Juliette Wade, her husband Tim, and two delightful children; Pat MacEwen, and Rebecca Inch Partridge for dinner in a restaurant. The food was good even though it took longer to arrive than we’d hoped, but everyone was having such a good time that we let the con activities carry on without us for a while.

Saturday after the walk I hung out in the green room while waiting for my last panel on critiquing, and ended up mainly listening to a collection of the Campbell nominees, including the eventual winner. What struck Colin and me was how they tied their experience to the history of SF rather than dissing it as old hat, a more common occurrence when young blood discusses things in the general world.

My panel focused almost entirely on the receiving of critiques, but Scott Edelman did a masterful job of keeping the conversation interesting as he drew experiences out of Daniel Abraham, Sheila Finch, Tim Pratt, and myself.

As is always the case, a panel I’d wanted to go to was scheduled at the same time, but Colin did attend and managed to snag two of the panelists, Peadar O Guilin and David Peterson, for lunch afterwards. Our conversations covered many grounds, and only occasionally strayed into areas other diners might not have appreciated, but was fascinating. From this I got my second story idea, and one I haven’t written yet because it needs to gel.

I returned to a conundrum. Three panels, all on short stories, all at the same time. I decided to go to the Editing Anthologies panel with John Joseph Adams, Jennifer Brozek, Ellen Datlow, and David Malki because most of my publications have been in anthologies. David Malki did an excellent job as moderator, and I got a glimpse into a side of the business normally hidden, but the content was more directed at editors of anthologies than the authors. Still, I learned the many reasons why pro anthologies are more often invite only, and introduced myself to John Joseph Adams so I could ask if he knew where to get The Way of the Wizard in the dealers’ room. Sadly, he didn’t so I still need to order online.

The nice thing about coming to a con with Colin is that he remembers to eat at reasonable intervals. So once again we were gathering people for dinner, only to discover I’d failed to save Juliette’s number correctly. Twitter to the rescue! Juliette, Tim, and their kids joined me, Colin, my son Sean, and his fiancee Mariah for some pizza.

Though I’d planned to go to the Hugo ceremony, dinner ran late. Instead, Juliette offered to finish her reading of Cold Words when I mentioned how talented a reader she was. We snagged a corner of the con suite and settled in for a delightful story telling.

By Sunday, we were dragging. The morning went to the dealers’ room, because we’d had the chance for a quick walk through before and nothing else (we did wander the art show as well and delighted in the works displayed). Afterwards, I brought an anthology with Juliette’s short story, and our collection of the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger over to the signing area. My younger son, Jacob, wanted to be there, but had chores at home to do still. I have to admire his dedication, and conveyed his regrets to Gail…she signed the books to both of us.

With the con winding down, there were still too many panels to choose from, but I decided on The Changing Short Fiction Market. The discussion hinged on what magazines were doing to adapt to the new world, along with the realization that none of this was truly new. I’ll admit, it was interesting to listen to editors of magazines I both read and submit to, more the reason for my attendance than anything else.

Finally, I attended the closing ceremonies only to learn I’d been at a 5 day party rather than a WorldCon ;), but I was present for the shortest WorldCon ever, handed over to the longest WorldCon next year because of a misspeak/misprint timeline of August 30th-September 30th for next year (actually September 3rd, but a sign of how much the people responsible for the convention were enjoying themselves despite responsibilities that must be overwhelming at times).

So thank you everyone for making my first WorldCon amazing, whether you volunteered, were on the panels with me or that I came to, moderated panels, offered a fun discussion after a chance meeting on the walk, in the green room, or in the hall, or worked behind the scenes and for a whole year or more ahead of time to make this happen.

P.S. I’m going to go back and link people’s names as much as I can, but for right now, I just want to get this up and posted. If I missed your name, please drop me a note or comment on the post and I’ll add it. Same if I messed something up. Still experiencing a bit of the con-grey.

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2 Responses to Renovation (WorldCon) 2011: The Final Days

  1. Texanne says:

    Wow. Sounds exciting and informative, and you do great at collecting dinner mates! Thanks for taking me along for the ride. :)TX

    • Margaret McGaffey Fisk says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. It’s been my experience that you can go to many types of cons in the same place. My first con, I went to a billion panels and talked to no one. It took me three times at BayCon, I believe, before I realized chatting in the hallways was not only for lifelong friends.

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