I am going to attempt to wrap up my LoneStarCon3 / WorldCon experience in a single blog post here for you, the reader. As part of this post, I shall be name dropping. You can’t actually write a post like this without name dropping. Cuz people have names. Makes it easier when you’re trying to get someone’s attention from across the room. Imagine shouting, “Hey! You!” and having a hundred people look at you and say, “Who? Me?” So – names. Good things to have.
My WorldCon began with an early morning flight out of Denver. I was up at 4 due to an alarm clock malfunction. My flight was at 8:30 or something. Kind of a blur at this point. I arrived in San Antonio and quickly tweeted the obligatory ‘I am in you’ tweet. I don’t know why except it’s what you do. This resulted in a text from the Mighty Mur Lafferty asking if I wanted to share a cab. I did. We chatted during the ride and agreed to go get some food after checking in. Mur had never had Chili’s Southwestern Eggrolls before – a travesty I quickly corrected. After, we registered at the con.
I’ve told this story before but it bears repeating. Cuz it’s funny. Damned funny. At the Program Participant table, the lady dug out my packet, said, “Here you go-OH! There’s a mistake. Unless… *makes a face* Are you Hugo nominated?” “Why, yes I am. Twice.” “Oh. Then it’s not a mistake. Here you go.”
Yeah. I HAVE TO LAUGH!
Meanwhile, Mur’s packet did not have her Campbell (not a Hugo) pin inside. Ugh. We left and she was not happy. When you are Hugo (not a Campbell) Nominated, you get the little rockets for each nomination as pictured above. The Campbell (not a Hugo) nominees receive their own pin – alas, I have no photo of it. More on this in a minute.
I made a quick pass through the Dealer’s Room. Not everything was setup yet but there were some cool things. Example: Christopher Garcia riding a mechanical bull. The Tardis and K9 surrounded by Daleks. The Captain’s chair from the U.S.S. Enterprise. /Side note: you were supposed to be able to get your photo taken in that chair, but only if someone was there. No one was ever there. Did anyone get their photo taken in the chair? I’d love to know. /end side note.
Since my first WorldCon, I have purposely scheduled myself with lots of interviews and things to do. I hated wandering around directionless at that first con. If I’m spending the money to go, I want to make the most of it. So I did a lot of interviews. I also spent a lot of time in the lobby of the Rivercenter. People said I was ‘holding court’. I don’t see it that way, but okay. I just liked it because it was nice, open and cool. Everyone walked through there at one point or another and I got to see all of them and say hello. It was also on the outer edge of the bar, increasing the odds someone I wanted to talk to would come by. That bar, by the way, was loud. Seriously loud. In the heart of it, I could not hear anything. It was like white noise. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. So I sat on the edges or in the lobby and had wonderful conversations with people. Example:
In the photo above: Mur Lafferty, Adam Christopher and his lovely wife, Chuck Wendig and James Patrick Kelly, who slapped my arm and told me to call him ‘Jim’ when I said ‘Mister Kelly’. I am trying (and failing) to remember the other gentleman there – I apologize for that and to him. I blame ConCrod / hazy brain.
Friday night (I think?), I was invited out to dinner. David Boop played host and invited a bunch of people including Janet Harriet, Dave Gross, Josh Vogt and Marie Bilodeau. There were others but again and alas, all the names are something something… We ate at a San Antonio stable – Mi Tierra Cafe. This place defies description, so have a photo or three:
I was determined to take more photos this con. Last year (and the year before), I barely snapped a pic or two, and very few of those had me in them. So – selfies. Lots of them and with all my awesome (and famous) friends. Short list:
I WANT TO POST ALL THE PHOTOS!
…I’ll do a gallery. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do – at the end – a gallery of everything.
The SF Signal Meetup V 2.0 happened and was a blast.
This event represented the largest single gathering of SF Signal contributors ever. Add to that all the authors and fans who showed up and I was overwhelmed quite quickly. John DeNardo bought some pizza and we all sat around talking and laughing and eating. Off the top of my head, some attendees include: Karen Burnham, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Emma Newman, Rhonda Eudaly, Jeff and Jennifer Patterson, Jeremiah Tolbert, Max Gladstone, Josh Vogt, M. Todd Gallowglas, Adam Christopher, John Klima, Wesley Chu, Jason Hough, Derek Austin Johnson, Larry Ketcherseid and his wife, Kevin Ikenberry, David Boop, Laureen Hudson, The Cowboy Podcaster, John Wiswell, Galen Dara, Jamie Todd Rubin and Candace Black. Whew! If I left you off the MEGA MASSIVE LIST O’NAMES – I apologize. It wasn’t for lack of trying…
On the second morning of the con, I got up and headed out. I wear my Hugo Pins on the collars of my shirt – kinda like rank insignia. I totally stole this idea from Howard Taylor. In the elevator, a gentleman looks at me, looks at my Hugo pins, and says, “That’s an interesting choice, wearing your pins on your collars.” I explain why I do it, and I mention the lady who thought my nomination was a mistake, and that my friend Mur was upset her Campbell pins weren’t in her packet. Yes – I ramble when I’m nervous. He stared at me. After a second, he opened up his fanny pack and produced two small, black boxes. Opening them, he said, “You mean, this Campbell pin? It’s Mur Lafferty’s, and this one belongs to Chuck Wendig. I need to find them and deliver them.”
I was already on my phone texting Mur. Arrangements were made, pins were delivered.
Saturday night was reserved for hanging out and having dinner with TyBarBary and partner, who drove five hours to see me, yet didn’t snag con memberships, and then drove five hours back home (they live in Texas now).
Official stuff: I was on three panels. How I got on two of them is beyond me. Someone told me it was because I was a Hugo Nominee. After I walked around with the sad Charlie Brown music in my head for a little while, I shook it off and went to my panels. The first was on Urban Fantasies and included such heavy weights as Seanan McGuire (Moderator), Leigh Perry, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and me. When asked to introduce myself, I said, “My name is Patrick Hester and I’ve written a series of urban fantasies that all of their publishers have rejected.” This got me a laugh. When the conversation turned to the marketing of urban fantasies, I mentioned that I’m in marketing, and suddenly got a lot of marketing questions. Seanan asked me later if I regretted saying I was in marketing – I didn’t.
Panel two was after the Hugo’s at 10 am. I’m going on record here saying THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A 10 AM PANEL AFTER THE FREAKING HUGO AWARDS! EVER! I sounded like shit. I felt like shit. I was exhausted. And the room wasn’t exactly filled. Still, we managed a very good conversation and had some really excellent questions from the audience. The panel was about Creating a Memorable Podcast and included myself as Moderator, with Stefan Rudnicki, David Farnell, and Julia Rios. Skiffy and Fanty made an appearance so I heckled them. First strike and all that. Jen was hiding in the back – YOU KNOW I SAW YOU JEN!
Panel three had the most potential for getting everyone in trouble. Writers, Their Fans and Flame Wars, Oh My! Moderated by Cat Rambo, and featuring me, Hugh Howey and Alan J. Porter (Chuck Wendig was already gone at this point and had to miss the panel). Cat did a FANTASTIC JOB of weaving a path through difficult waters. I think everyone appreciated her efforts and the conversation that evolved.
So now let me backtrack one night to Sunday. Hugo night. In the morning, all the SF Signal contributors got together for breakfast. That afternoon, I ran into Gail Carriger at the SWFA table and she informed me that I must have the right shoes and the right shirt for the Hugo’s and wanted to know who was my plus one. /Side Note: I did ask the new SFWA president what sorts of controversies they were planning for his term. He took it well. I’m probably doomed. /end side note. I knew that Emma Newman wanted to go to the party, so she was my plus one. She’s also delightful company and a snazzy dresser. Gail informed me that I MUST, IMMEDIATELY, contact Emma and find out what color shirt I could wear.
Um. What now? I admit my fashion sense is somewhat challenged…but…okay? Emma said ‘white’ amidst a peal of laughter and giggles.
I missed something. Hmm.
Here’s where I pick a nit. The con included a letter in my packet of info. This letter was my invitation to the Hugo pre-ceremony. It stated 7 PM as the start time. This was an error. The start time was 6 pm. No one bothered to contact me or let me know. I heard (afterwards) that some people were told when they went to their rehearsals. I wasn’t among them. So Emma and I arrived late. On top of that, the con scheduled all of the Campbell (not a Hugo) nominees on a panel together from 5 – 6 PM. So there was no way they could make it on time either.
Other than that, it was a good time. Got to have some more selfies done.
The Hugo’s were hot. I’m wearing a suit. I’m slightly nervous. I’m sweating. People keep asking me if I’m nervous. I lie and say no. I have no expectations of winning the Best Fancast, but there’s every possibility of winning Best Fanzine considering SF Signal won last year. John DeNardo, JP Frantz and I had had a little confab earlier and knew what we were going to do. John knew what he was going to say. I didn’t. I’d spent the past few nights tossing and turning in my hotel room bed trying to figure that out. When they called Mur Lafferty up to the stage as the Campbell (not a Hugo) award winner, I remember shouting, “Yes!” and punching the air. All the members of the Tiara Club were seated behind us, so I turned in time to give her a high-five on her way up. I recorded the whole thing. When they called up the SF Squeecast, Emma kindly patted my arm – but again, I had no expectations of winning that award. When they called SF Signal for Fanzine, I just about couldn’t walk.
Chris Garcia – bless him – made a point of hugging everyone. He is awesome. We made our way on stage and I mumbled or something. I don’t know. I think I got a laugh. I remember Seanan shouting that she loved us. I said we do this out of love – I love SF & Fantasy, JP Loves SF & Fantasy – John loves SF and tolerates Fantasy. That got a laugh, too. John said his piece and we recused ourselves from future nominations. It was important we do that. Spread the love around and give others the opportunity to stand on that stage and get a bear-hug from Chris Garcia.
After, we stood in a small room shoulder to shoulder with all the winners while people took (what felt like) an endless amount of photos. This year’s Hugo is heavy. Seriously. My arms are still sore from standing there and holding it up. First chance I had, I went upstairs and changed clothes, then headed to the Loser’s Party with Matthew Sanborn Smith. We met up with DeNardo and JP and chatted with various people. Eventually, we migrated downstairs to the con bar to say hello to friends and hang out there. All too soon, I knew that 10 am panel would start, so I did excuse myself and head to bed. Look at me – all responsible!
Monday, friends were already gone or leaving. I did my panels, spent WAY TOO MUCH FREAKING MONEY IN THE DEALERS ROOM, and helped the con staff find packing materials for shipping out Hugo (not a Campbell) Awards. Even managed a couple extra interviews. By this point, my throat was already raw and painful, and my voice shot to hell. Concrud was rearing its ugly head. Bleh. I think I have a shitty immune system. I’ve tried all the supplements and was even taking these massive Vitamin C horsepills leading up to and during the con – all to no avail.
Tuesday I spent with Gareth Kavanagh, just hanging in the hotel lobby people watching and catching up on Twitter until I had to head to the airport. THERE GARETH – I REMEMBERED YOU! ARE YOU HAPPY? <3? #insideworldconjokes
Oh. And while yes, winning a Hugo (not a Campbell) Award is thrilling beyond belief, there was also the moment when I was asked to sign a copy of Space Battles. That made my day in a completely different way.
Well, according to my wordcount thingie, I’m now at 2,362 words. Or 2,372 words. 2,374. DAMMIT STOP TYPING!
I will leave you with this; WorldCon is a wonderful experience. Where else can you meet so many different people who share your interests and loves and want to talk to you about them? My friends are awesome, some are famous, and I already miss them all.
London, huh? *strokes chin thoughtfully*
PS: The gallery isn’t doing what I want, so check out my facebook album.