Thursday, August 24, 2006

Worldcon I

Location: still Anaheim, CA
Miles: still 3996

Worldcon (aka L.A.Con IV, aka The 64th World Science Fiction Convention). What to say?

It has been said that describing Worldcon is like the parable of the blind men and the elephant -- everyone's experience of Worldcon is different. It's been called a family reunion, the modern equivalent of an old-fashioned explorer's club, or (in one famous phrase) "a weekend party with five thousand of your closest friends." Worldcon is all of these, and more.

Science fiction & fantasy fans, in addition to being some of the geekiest people on (or off) the planet, are also some of the most intelligent, most creative, and most nonconformist folks around. (An old saying in fandom: "I like your game, but we're going to have to change the rules.") Those of you who are fans know what I'm talking about; the rest of you (affectionately called "mundanes") will have to trust me on this.

Physical surroundings first. We are in a nice room in the Anaheim Hilton. Ours is a Lanai Room, which means we have a sliding glass door that opens onto the pool deck. The Lanai Level has been designated the Party Floor; at night lots of the suites and rooms around us are open and holding parties.

Daytime activities take place in the Ananheim Convention Center, which is directly next to the Hilton. We have to walk outside for maybe fifteen or twenty yards/meters to get there. If you've been in a modern Convention Center recently, you'll recognize the layout. Downstairs there's a big lobby, which opens onto an exhibit hall roughly the size of the average South American dictatorship. This hall contains various exhibits, lounge areas, the Art Show, and the Dealer's Room. Upstairs are meeting rooms in which panel discussions are held on a vast variety fo subjects.

(above) A portion of the exhibit hall.

(above) An exhibit of some familiar robots.

(above) A familiar vehicle.

(above) Thomas (in orange) inspects a customized car. The creator stands with him.

And then, of course, there are costumes. Last night there was a costume ball; Thomas took many pictures, but the following is one of the most innovative costumes we've seen in a while:

Today was a busy day for Don. It started with a 10 am autograph session. To Don's surprise, more than half a dozen people approached him with magazines and anthologies containing his stories, or copies of his books, for autographing. He even sold two books to enthusiastic fans.

At 11:30 am Don moderated a panel discussion titled "Aliens Among Us" -- the topic was how SF writers use existing human cultures in depicting alien races. It was a fascinating discussion that ranged through techniques, philosophy, references, and even the ethical implications of appropriating other cultures.

At 2:30 Don was on "Guerrilla Marketing for the Neo-Pro," a discussion of low-cost, effective marketing techniques for new (and not-so-new) writers. And at 4:00 Don was part of "Estate Planning for Collectors," this time as a member of the Board of Directors of the Star Toys Museum.

(above) Don on the "Guerrilla Marketing" panel.

In between all this, we met several old friends: some from home, some from the West Coast, some from other areas of the country. In fandom, even before the Internet, it has always been easy to make friends from far away.

In the late afternoon we looked at the exhibits some more, then Don went back to the room for a nice dinner of Kraft macaroni & cheese. Now there's a bit of a lull, but soon parties will start. It should be a fun night.



Miss Jade's Notes said...

Guys: What wonderful photos from the Badlands! Loved your poses, Thomas! Loved your art direction and photography, Don! And I'll second Betsy's earlier comment. I feel like I traveling too;but I get to miss the sand, heat, and dirty restrooms. Thanks for documenting things so well.
...and now because air travel has become worse, maybe traveling here, at home, in the USA, is a very good idea. BTW: I left some comments on previous days that I only read recently. Enjoy! Thanks again.
yatuy! with love, Deborah

Betsy said...

Yeah!!! you made it!!! (not that I doubted it, but it is still fun to say!)

Thomas, can you see if there are any tee shirts or a button or a tote bag that says "My friends went to World con and you didn't!" and then I could wear it and have some fun!

Congrats on the book sales and autographs Don! (and the panels) Hope you have more and more fun as the weekend goes on!