Here I am, a week out from WorldCon and actually writing up some sort of recap post. Yay me!
This year, WorldCon was held in Kansas City, and also called MidAmeriCon 2. As I said in a previous post, I was not a program participant, but that didn’t stop me from having a fabulous con.
I took a lot of pictures and put them on Facebook in a WorldCon 2016 album. Like, a lot a lot. Many are of the downtown KC area, which I also posted to Twitter for Paul Weimer, who is into architecture and was delighted to have those photos floating around – so I was spreading WorldCon good cheer far abreast of the convention itself.
There are many people who I only see at WorldCon, including many who live not only in Colorado, but in Denver, and at least one in Aurora where I live. Which is the very definition of irony. Others are from across the world, but all are people I very much look forward to seeing, conversing with and generally hanging out with.
I am not a panel attendee-person in general. I mostly go to panels because someone has told me I am on said panel, and therefore am quite obligated to show up and participate. Which I enjoy immensely, please don’t misunderstand. However, when it comes to panels in general, I have noticed a commonality betwixt them that bleeds from con to con. The variables are often the panelists themselves, and that can be quite entertaining and is usually the reason to go – and it wouldn’t take much to convince me to attend, merely someone to take the time to convince me. This year, however, I found myself in a very negative space when it came to panels, and barely glanced at the schedule at all. I noted a few people I desperately wanted to see and chat with, and then sought them out at the panels where they were appearing – usually after said panels. I don’t know if I was feeling particularly introverted or what, but I only attended one panel in it’s entirety and did thoroughly enjoy it.
This year, I did a road trip with friends to WorldCon, KC being a scant 8-9 hours from Denver by I-70. Which has a toll, btw – something I either forgot or never knew before. $3 to drive a small stretch of road west of KC. Interesting. The road trip itself was okay, not great. The way I feel right now, I probably won’t do such a trip again any time soon.
Upon registration, I immediately began to run into people – good people, awesome people – and chat. Which is what I do. I spent a couple of hours on the edge of the dealers room chatting, actually. It was fun. Like a crossroads, and all we had to do was stand there and everyone appeared and said hello at one point or another. We were clustered near the fan tables, specifically by the future WorldCon Bids.
The con continued much apace, and I kept running into lots of people, having (sometimes) brief and (sometimes) extended conversations. The short list includes but is not limited to: Gareth Kavanagh, Stina Leicht, Beth Cato, Maurice Broaddus, Neil Clark, Cat Rambo, John O’Neill, Kate Baker, Matthew S. Rotundo & Mark Boeder, Beyond The Trope (Emily Kay Singer, Giles Hash, Michelle Graham & Emily Hash), Dave Robison, Mur Lafferty, Jason Sizemore, Beth Dawkins, Jonathon Strahan & Gary K. Wolfe, Jeremiah Tolbert, Mercedes Lackey, John Joseph Adams, Vivian Caethe, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Matt Wallace, Megan O’Keefe, Howard Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael R. Underwood, Betsy Dorbusch, David Boop, Kevin J. Anderson, Michelle Corsillo, Quincy J. Allen, and Gail Carriger.
If I failed to mention someone, I do apologize – the weekend became a blur and whirlwind of activity!
Gail Carriger in the bar: “Patrick! Are you all right?! You’re not looking like yourself. You’re actually mingling!” I may have a reputation for sitting bar-adjacent and snagging people walking by to chat. *cough*
Speaking of sitting outside the short fiction panel moderated by Dave Truesdale which stirred up quite a bit of controversy – I did so, chatting with Kate Baker from Clarkesworld and catching up on all the things that have happened since we last met and chatted (including her awesome trip to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 set – of which she could say she went, but nothing more). We stayed and spoke with Neil, Jonathan Strahan and others who were also on the panel, as they needed to decompress and shake it off. Not easy for any of the panelists, nor for many in the audience.
It is entirely possible that I told Neil Clark about my plan to create an author’s guild whose sole purpose is to write a short story so compelling and wonderful he can’t possibly turn it down. Said story would, of course, feature a talking zombie cat, thus forcing him to break his submission guidelines.
His reaction? “Good luck with that.” 🙂
I also sat with someone from WordFire going over my book cover text, which was a moment where I had to not squee my butt off and maintain a quiet, professional air. Because – BOOK COVER!
A woman at the WordFire Booth tried to sell me a book and I realized it was Mercedes Lackey, at which point I couldn’t remember the English language for a moment or six.
The food was rather amazing. The group of us ate out in various configurations from large to small, often and quite well, as far as I was concerned. From what passes for BBQ locally to a tiramisu beignet, the local fare held up and impressed. I especially liked a place called Cosentino’s Market, and a coffee house called Mildred’s, the latter of which was quite difficult to find, yet yielded some of the best coffee of the weekend.
Took three newbies to the Hugos this year, and made them dress up. Had a blast and spent the hours after in the con bar chatting with many, many people, meeting some new ones, and genuinely having a good time.
Pat Cadigan was absolutely amazing.
The Leg Cramp of Doom
Saturday night ended with a short walk from the con bar back to the hotel, during which a leg cramp formed in my right leg. I’d had a few leg cramps throughout the con while walking up the hills in downtown – always up the hills, never down. But they went away fairly quickly. But this time, it persisted. I lay in bed, and it wouldn’t let go. I got up, walked around. No change. I took my sleeping pills (necessary when I’m traveling or else I can’t sleep) which have Advil in them, and managed to sleep for a few hours, but the cramp had a hold of me and that was that. When the morning came, I was still in pain and couldn’t put weight on the leg. And I did try. I ended up in the one lone chair in the room, trying to prop the leg up and extend it – a chore. I hobbled my way to the bathroom and tried soaking it. I downed more Advil. I flexed and rubbed the muscles and found that when I sat for a time, getting up was much much harder versus if I just got up and stayed up. I missed some goodbyes with friends due to the stupid cramp, so I dragged my butt out of the room and limped to coffee, then to the convention center, and throughout the rest of the day.
Oddly, Monday dawned and the cramp had faded to nearly nothing. I limped a bit, but the more I walked, the less I limped. Which was convenient as I had to drive home.
A Note About Public Restrooms
They are, in a word, disgusting. What the hell is wrong with us as a species? I walked into a public restroom in KC to find the bowl filled, the seat covered in urine, and piles of toilet paper and things I shan’t describe piled all around. Oh, and the stench?
Tamsyn could not cross the threshold of the women’s room adjacent to said men’s room. The stench alone created a physical barrier for her.
Excellent trip and WorldCon over-all. Really glad I was able to go, and the welcome I received.
Which reminds me – this is the first WorldCon where I haven’t had a slew of interview scheduled ahead of time for the SF Signal podcast. In fact, I didn’t have a single interview. I thought about doing something, but it never materialized. And that’s okay.
But the folks who run the press room saw me and when I told them I didn’t have anything to record this year, they laughed and said, “We still love you!”