Thanks to a good friend who offered me a place to crash, I was able to attend WorldCon this past weekend. I drove up to Reno on Friday, arriving around 1pm, and stayed until Sunday. So, what did I do, who did I meet, and what was my experience like? I’m so glad you asked!
I arrived into Reno about forty-five minutes later than I anticipated. This wouldn’t have necessarily been a problem, except that Brent Weeks and his lovely wife, Kristi, were waiting for me to have lunch! I checked into the Peppermill, thinking I had arrived, but soon discovered that the convention center was a good half mile down the street. That’s a long way in 95 degree heat. I dumped my bags (after losing ten minutes navigating the secret labyrinth in which the Peppermill traps their guests to an eternity of gambling and second-hand induced lung cancer) and drove to the the Atlantis Casino/Reno Convention Center. Of course, I parked in the wrong lot, and rushed past more slot machines, before which sat a silent army of zombies who steadily feed the blinking machines with seemingly endless supplies of coins.
To my amazement, Brent and Kristi actually waited for me, and I broke up their conversation with John Scalzi so we could find some lunch. After the stress of arriving into Reno, lunch with them was the perfect way for me to relax into the convention. I first met them at Comic-Con last year, and they have become some of my favorite people in this industry: truly sincere, genuinely caring people.
By the time we finished lunch, it was too late in the afternoon to purchase a membership for the day. But I still managed to run into Mur Lafferty, James Patrick Kelly, Lou Anders (more on him later!), John Scalzi, Alex Lencicki of Orbit Books, John Picacio, and I shouldn’t have started naming names, because now I’m going to forget people.
Much later that evening I finally met my good friend Sandra Wickham, and she introduced me to Kristi Charish. Though Sandra and I have spoken via Twitter and email, this was our first face to face visit. The good news: I didn’t come across as being too much of a nerd, apparently. We wound the evening down in a very loud lounge with Lou Anders and Tor.com prodcuer Pablo Defendini. Sleep time: 2:30 AM.
Meeting AISFP Listeners!
Before I continue, I want to mention how wonderful and amazing it was to meet listeners of the podcast. I couldn’t believe how many people I introduced myself to only to receive a surprised: “You’re Shaun Farrell of Adventures in Scifi Publishing!” I’ve been doing this five years, but I’ve never experienced that before. And, you know what, I liked it! It felt really good to meet people who value what we do here. So, thanks to Tony Dutson, Jordan Ricks, Jane Hughes, Jo Schneider, John Cmar, and Matthew Bey from Space Squid. I know I’m forgetting someone. Please forgive me!
I woke bright and early to attend the Walk with the Stars at 8:00 AM. I drove Lou to the starting location, and Lev Grossman was going to fold up into the extra cab of my truck, but chose to procure morning coffee instead. Wise move, Mr. Grossman! On the walk was Kay Kenyon, James Patrick Kelly, Bill Willingham, Paul Cornell, and John Picacio, to name a few. It was also there that I meet Jordan and Tony, and I spent most of the walk with them. Looking back, there was no better way I could have spent that time. We had a great conversation about writing and publishing.
After the walk I sat down with Lou Anders to talk publishing (interview coming soon!) and attended a panel with Brent and Kristi Weeks on the Rebirth of Sword and Sorcery. I purused the dealers room, the art show, watched Boris Vallejo paint (that was awesome), tried to meet Howard Tayler (but failed), but succeeded in catching up with Tim Pratt, Robert J. Sawyer, Bob Eggleton and others.
After that epic fail (at least they are both podcasters and understood), I attended Eric James Stone’s Kaffeeklatsche and Tee and Pip’s Kafeeklatshce. Throw in some quick run-ins with Connie Willis, Brenda Cooper, and Dan Wells, and I was off for a quick sandwich before the Hugo Awards. Sleep time: 4 AM.
It was worth going to WorldCon just to see Lou Anders win for Best Editor, Long Form. He certainly deserves it, and it was great to watch his touching speech. And, yes, I held his Hugo!
I rant about this in Episode 134 of the podcast (upcoming), but I suppose I’ll put some of this here. The Hugos are great. They should represent the best, most influential, most popular work the genre has to offer. That said, something really bothered me with this year’s Hugos: the inclusion of “F-Me, Ray Bradbury” in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category. Listen to the podcast for my full rant, but suffice to say, I think the inclusion of that video brings down the entire category and the awards overall. Are we really saying that “F-Me, Ray Bradbury” represents the best the science fiction and fantasy community can create? Really? Most of the category was Dr. Who episodes, and that’s fine. But ANY episode of STARGATE UNIVERSE, EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13, and (INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SF SHOW/SHORT FILM HERE) deserves to be there over a girl flashing her cleavage and masturbating with a paperback. I found it inappropriate. Others obviously disagree.
After the Hugos I spent many hours with the Ink Punks, which was, well, AWESOME! If you don’t read their blog, you should really check it out.
Wrap it Up, Already
I had a blast at my short convention. Because of the convention layout (which plenty of people have addressed, so I’ll skip it) I couldn’t connect with as many folks as I hoped, in particular Mur Lafferty, Patrick Hester, and Tim Akers. Still, I met old friends, made new friends, and converted online friends to flesh and blood friends. I’ll remember this convention very fondly, and I’m already scraping pennies for Chicago. And now, a few more pictures.