So I went to what was technically my third WorldCon this past weekend, in Chicago. My first was the Millenium PhilCon, in 2000, when Mark and I went on the Monday and walked around what seemed to be a very nice convention space where interesting things had recently been happening. In 2002, we went to ConJose in San Jose and sold what few Sofawolf books we had, and listened to a panel where David Brin bad-mouthed furries, kind of. They both felt like foreign environments, even though I did go to PhilCon for years and years back in the late 80s and early 90s.
And then I went to Chicon 7 and watched a friend win a Hugo for a comic she published with Sofawolf Press. So that was kind of a way better experience.
Kyell said the words about Ursula best in his post, first paragraph. Ursula is a terrific person and a talented writer and artist, and the Hugo is only the beginning of great things for her, I’m sure. One of the highlights of the con was not only watching her get the Hugo, but being able to talk to her for a good bit in the Hugo part after. Jeff deserves the lion’s share of Sofawolf’s credit for that award, because he is the one who brought Digger in and put together the amazing print versions of it. So really I am just kind of lucky to be associated with some awesome people.
Anyway, I had intended to write more about Chicon earlier in the week, but as soon as we got back to the Bay (almost literally), my throat started feeling scratchy, then I felt all run-down, and blah. You know how it goes. So today I feel much better and I am tired of working today, so you get the post, hopefully not too late.
Chicon 7 was way better than previous WorldCons for other reasons. I got to see eleven of my Clarion classmates, the most in one place since we split up in August of last year (for me; I think there were ten or eleven at ReaderCon as well), and I am so happy to report that we all still not only get along, but actually want to hang out with each other. Scalzi’s prediction that we will travel around WorldCons in packs came very true. Two of our number are SFWA members, so we were able to go hang out in the SFWA suite; I got to see two of my classmates on panels; and we met back up with four of our previous instructors–not to mention seeing three of them up on stage during the Hugo ceremony (John Scalzi did a wonderful job of hosting, and presented Hugos to Elizabeth Bear and Kij Johnson). Our class did a group dinner, we met in smaller groups during the con just to talk about what we’re doing and about things we’ve read, and generally rekindled our desire to do cool things all together. One of my classmates edits a YA magazine and asked me for a story for it, so I have an assignment for the fall, and a couple of them said they want to write for New Fables. We are all getting going in this whole author-career thing.
In addition, I found that you can use the Clarion thing as kind of an ‘in’ with other instructors. Mark and I went to get a picture taken with George R.R. Martin, who taught at Clarion West this year, and he was happy to hear I’d gone to Clarion. He had his Hugo award (for Game of Thrones Season One) on the table, and pointed at it. “This is what you’re aiming for,” he said.
Of course, I feel a lot more comfortable with the writerly crowd anyway, and most writers are really nice to you if you just go up and express some sort of familiarity with their work. I talked to E. Lily Yu, who won the Campbell and is really sweet, and to Mary Robinette Kowal, who signed a bookmark for me because I didn’t have one of her books but I’d wanted to tell her I really liked her Hugo-nominated novella. (Tip: if you go to the autograph session of most authors toward the middle/end, chances are they will not be very busy. Sofawolf’s booth faced the autograph row and we often saw authors sitting there bored.) And I briefly got to talk to two editors there, one who bought a story of mine, and one whom I hope will–more details on those when I feel like I can talk about them. :)
Most of the socializing at WorldCon goes on at parties, and so Mark and I got back home (we were staying at my aunt’s place) later and later each night. Monday I was just completely wiped out. We slept a lot Monday night, but then had to wake up at 4:45 am (this is Chicago time) to catch our flight home, and so yeah, short sleep on top of the stressy weekend plus sitting in a tin can with 100 strangers = minor travel crud. I’m not attributing it to the con even though Alopex was sick the last couple days.
The upshot here is that at Chicon 7, I felt much more a part of the community, and Mark and I had such a good time that we’re definitely going to be at LoneStarCon next year in San Antonio. We’re going to start trying to get a couple of our Dallas friends down for it too, so be warned, you guys. :)