…a little late, because that con seriously wore me out.
For those who don’t know, World Fantasy Con is not, despite its name, limited to fantasy, and it isn’t, despite its name, remotely global. (But “North American with occasional side-trips to the UK-con” is too much of a mouthful, I guess.) What WFC is, for lack of a better descriptor, is “the professionals’ con” for the SF/F/H field. Most of its attendees seem to be agents, editors, authors, or involved in the publishing industry in some other way — I met a guy who publishes audiobooks, for example. “Fannish” activities like cosplay/masquerade are frowned-upon — even though it takes place over Halloween weekend. There are some fans who drop in of course, mostly from the local area, but basically, it’s all about the business.
Which might make you think it’s some stodgy, stiffnecked business convention, full of people in suits exchanging business cards. There are a larger number of suit-wearers at WFC than I see at most cons in this field. But here’s a hint as to WFC’s true character: most of the con’s most important business gets done in the hotel bar.
Having been to WFC in 2008 in Calgary, I was mostly prepared for this, though the San Jose con was much larger (as the WFCs in the US tend to be). Despite all my careful preparation, however, I got sideswiped by something I couldn’t control: came down with a bad head cold the day before I left. Given that I then spent the next 5 days sleeping little, drinking lots, meeting and exchanging
germs business cards with a bunch of strangers, stressing out over stuff like my reading on Saturday, and so on, it’s little wonder that not only did my cold get worse, but I ended up developing a case of con crud too, a few days after I got back. So I’m only just now recovering.
So, the highlights:
- Seeing old friends — too many to mention — but including folks I knew from Boston, Viable Paradise, and more;
- Meeting new ones, including authors I’ve been dying to meet like Kate Elliott, Paolo Bacigalupi and two of my fellow Magic Districtians, Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout;
- Seeing my lovely agent again;
- Seeing folks I see all the time, but still love hanging around, like the team from Orbit and my writing group;
- Getting to wear a slinky dress at the shwanky Orbit party to introduce me and a bunch of other debut authors;
- Seeing a launch party done right — in this case Gail Carringer’s very English tea;
- Dressing as Zoe from Firefly on Saturday — which went over OK despite the no-costume thing because a) Zoe pretty much dresses like a regular person, just Westernish, and b) people apparently thought my $9 nylon wig was actually my hair;
- Reading from chapters 1 and 2 of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to a packed room, and not screwing it up;
- San Jose itself, which was lovely and warm and gave me a serious crush on California.
So in short, it was an absolute delight.
OK, apparently the alt tag thing is doing something weird in WordPress today. That top photo is Devi Pillai (my editor), me, fellow Orbit author Kate Elliott, and Kate’s daughter Rhiannon, at the Orbit Party; taken by Catriona Sparks. The lower photo was taken by the phenomenal Doselle Young, and I love it because it really does capture how I felt throughout most of the con. So cool!