Sep. 4th, 2012

prusik: Newton fractal centered at zero (Default)
[Sigh. Flight delayed. I should still get home before public transportation stops so it should be ok. Didn't get a chance to write during WorldCon but I think I've finally worked out how first scene should start. Also, edited a story.]

My First WorldCon(TM) was more fun than I'd expected. I'd come into it extremely stressed, so spending a long weekend with thousands of people was actually the last thing I wanted to do. However, lots of really cool people came and I could always get away when I needed to. (Also, I admire the people who can party through to the next morning. I am not one of those people. Maybe it's not the authentic WorldCon experience, but I slept by midnight each night.)

My weekend was pretty much defined by who I ran into by chance, a lot of texting, and a lot of walking. The con was spread over multiple levels in two different buildings. I'm sufficiently able-bodied that I never needed the elevators. Not using them was my own (probably pointless) way of making things easier for those who did. Also, the hotel put me on the fourth floor. For me, it was faster to walk to my room.

When I arrived on Wednesday, I was about to buy a Transit Card when [livejournal.com profile] avocadovpx showed up to do the same. We caught up on the ride to the con hotel. I had dinner with Dustin then pretty much fell asleep. [livejournal.com profile] avocadovpx had planned on dessert with [livejournal.com profile] elisem. Sadly, I never managed to catch up with her, but I hope [livejournal.com profile] avocadovpx did. (An irony of WorldCon, BTW, is that thanks to the thick curtains in my hotel room, I may have caught up on my sleep debt this weekend. My tendency to wake up at sunrise regardless of what happened the previous day means I go into sleep debt every summer.)

Mostly, WorldCon was a lesson on Fans and Fandom. I.e., it seems to me that someone can love fantasy and science fiction but she is not a Fan with a capital 'F' until she engages with and assimilates the protocols of Fandom. Although this wasn't my first con, it really felt like it. There was a lot of being welcomed to Rome as I was trying to work out how to do as the Romans do.

Two panels I attended really drove that home for me: a panel on moderating panels and a panels on what pros should know about Fandom. The former was, of course, wonderfully moderated but also a course on proper panel behavior and how to enforce it. I really enjoyed the discussion. It turned out to be an oddly good choice for The First Panel I Attended. The latter panel ended but being mostly a gripe session about Pros Behaving Badly. If I ever become a pro, I now have a good idea of how I'm not supposed to behave. This is not the same thing as knowing how I'm supposed to behave. (Yes, I did ask questions.)

(Sidebar: Of course, Fan and Pro are not mutually exclusive. I'd like to think all pros are Fans. I don't think of myself as a pro but I may some day. I do think of myself as a fan (with a small 'f') if not (yet) a Fan. I did hear a lot of talk from writers of my generation referring to Fans and pros as if they were disjoint sets. Make of that what you will.)

(Random aside: For someone who didn't advertise being a writer, I got asked about my sales more often that I expected. Of course, I have few enough sales that I can run through my entire bibliography. Whenever I got to the Asimov's sale, people's affect would change. It was as if they were dealing with someone else all of a sudden. Odd.)

Like I said, most of WorldCon was stuff happening when I ran into someone I knew or screwed up the courage to introduce myself to. I ran into Emily Jiang who, I think, introduced me to practically everyone I know now that I hadn't known before WorldCon. Sheila Williams is an exception. I managed to pull myself together to introduce myself to her after a panel. She invited me to the Asimov's party. It was in the SWFA lounge so I don't think I was actually supposed to be in there. However, I did meet a bunch of cool people including Ken Liu and Lily Yu. By the time WorldCon ended, I'd also now been introduced to, among others, Lynne Thomas, two of the three current editors of Strange Horizons and a bunch of Chinese writers whom I wish I'd spent more time talking to. (As inchoate as I can be in English when I'm nervous, I'm even more so in Chinese. I really wanted to explain that my Chinese really wasn't as horrifically bad as it must seem to them right then. I kind of got caught between languages so I didn't say much in any language. *sigh*) The full list is too long to recount.

I've now thanked practically every editor who has ever given me a personal rejection. E.g., [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid, Cat Valente, and Cat Rambo. (Very sad, BTW, that none of these three are currently editing short fiction as they have all made my fiction better. Of course, I understand they have moved on to other things for the best reasons.)

The low-grade, incidental racism count for this con is at least 3. This is higher than average, but WorldCon is also longer than most cons. In no particular order, customers at a Chinese restaurant assumed I was on the staff, someone at the Asimov's party assumed that I was Lily Yu's boyfriend (In retrospect, our reaction when we asked--we both screamed "No!" at the same time--was pretty funny), and someone assumed I was Ken Liu. (I did correct him when he called me Ken so that he didn't think it was Ken who was now blowing him off. Since he had no reason to be interested in talking to me, I think this worked out the best for everyone.)

On balance, WorldCon was fun. I'm probably going to skip 2013. London in 2014 might be fun though.

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