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Worldcon 09: a debrief

I’m listening to Haydn on CBC Radio 2, drinking coffee and avoiding printing up my thesis. My head is still full of parties, the demon rum, and hastily-recalled French. If those three things don’t scream “Worldcon” at you, then you clearly weren’t there.

It’s rare that an event one hears about so frequently actually lives up to one’s imagination. I left Montreal completely satisfied and excited by my experience despite my utter exhaustion and sincere desire to return home to my cat and my bathtub. Here are some of my favourite moments, in no particular order:

  • Watching Paul Krugman’s obvious boy-crush on Charlie Stross play out on a massive screen.
  • Interrupting Peter Watts’ panel on consciousness with a call to his mobile which he actually answered (no, Squid, I am still not dead).
  • Meeting Jetse de Vries. That guy rocks. I love his enthusiasm. It’s impossible not to smile when you’re around him, because he’s just so damn excited about what he’s doing. Our business needs more people like this.
  • Somehow winding up in a bar sitting between Charlie Stross and John Scalzi. Don’t ask me how it happened, but I think Krissy had something to do with it. (Sidebar: Krissy looks a lot like Katee Sackhoff. Photos don’t really communicate this similarity. It’s the nose.)
  • Hearing presentations from NASA and CSA members. (That’s the Canadian Space Agency, not an organic vegetable delivery system.) You really get a feel for the kinds of people those programs draw: solid, steady, smart, and dryly funny people who still get excited about visiting the stars despite understanding in minute detail the difficulties of getting there.
  • Asking kids in the Avatar: The Last Airbender panel if they knew what “genocide” meant. Perhaps I should no longer do kids’ panels. (Or, as DeathRay wisely pointed out, maybe kids shouldn’t be asked to sit in panels. Panels get boring for grown-ups; I doubt kids enjoy sitting for them.) 
  • The Cecil Street panel. Contrary to popular prediction, some Worldcon attendees actually came to listen. Also, there were jokes about pterodactyls and masturbation. 
  • Mike Skeet’s cocktails. Man’s a genius.
  • Hearing the collective “ooooh” at the Hugos when the artist unveiled the latest Hugo Award base design.
  • Watching DeathRay enjoying himself at the con. I think he had a good time; he’s already talking about Australia in 2010! 

Last but not least, I talked some shop while there. I can’t discuss specifics, but things seem to be progressing. Since my frame of reference for this kind of thing is almost nil, I’m really dependent on my friends’ and partner’s excitement quotient to know how well I’m doing.  If their hugs and smiles are any indication, I’m doing fairly well. At this con more than any other in recent memory, I was reminded of the quality of the people around me and how very much they want me to succeed. There are lots of other writers out there who don’t have a support network like mine. I’m very lucky and I know it.

And I also know that I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’ve procrastinated enough; it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Fingers crossed, people.