WorldCon/LAConIV retrospective

August 30th, 2006

WorldCon 2006 (I forget the proper number)/LAConIV (in Anaheim) is now wrapped and the last of the stragglers have I think now left.  I left my sunglasses in the green room at the Hilton.

In attendance from Deep Genre were myself, Sherwood Smith, David Edelman, Kate Elliot and Madeleine Robins.  Except Sherwood, we ended up meeting at Madeleine’s reading on Sunday and hit Starbucks for coffee afterwards.

As David E. mentioned back during my Comicon post, too many con reports read like exercises in name dropping (which that post avoided), so I’ll try to avoid that here too, except to say that it was fun to put faces to people I’d before only known as names.  For example, David Keck, who I’d before only known as a sometime poster here on the blog, was suddenly there to talk to in person and everything at the Wild Cards reception and then on Sunday, we got to talk more after sharing a panel.

Rather than go for the gossip columnist approach, which is tacky when you’re one of the ones going to the parties and dinners, I’ll simply describe it as a novelist: There were swanky parties and simple parties, both on and off site.  There were fabulous dinners worthy of hobbit salivation and there were dinners that made me feel like I was stuck in a not terribly original comedy sketch.  (How many times can the Hilton’s kitchen’s screw up a burger?)  Terribly famous people were revealed as nice folks you hang out with in the bar.

In short, it was a con.  Panels went well from what I saw, and I saw a lot of it because I was on a lot of panels.  Apart from the usual scheduling snafus, bad mics, a spilled water pitcher and occasional overenthusiasm, things appeared to go to plan.  Name tags were ready and waiting on every panel.  Room temperatures were perfect, water was ready.  A few authors brought enough books to use for a gamemaster’s screen, but given the trouble with psuedonyms and publishing logjams, I’ll look less askance at that than I might.  Ideally you should pimp only one book at a time, but publishing doesn’t always cooperate.

The Dealers Room floor was pretty amazing even for a WorldCon, and with panels and parties, I did not manage to see all of it, but I did see a lot.  The Masquerade was also nice, with the standout being costumes for “Dancing with the Intergalactic Stars.”  I don’t know if they won, but I expect they did, since I did the same as many and left for the parties after the last entrant but before the judging.

What else should be said of the parties?  Well, I have to admit I really liked the Wild Cards reception, not because it was swanky (though that was still incredibly cool), but because it let everyone have fun and talk in a nice relaxed atmosphere and let me meet folk I haven’t seen for years or have only talked to on the phone.  Other parties?  Well, of the author’s parties, some you pretty much needed a shoehorn to get people in the door.

The fan and bid parties were vastly entertaining as well, and not as insanely crowded.  Kansas City had a “ribs tasting” which ended up being a case of too much sauce and not enough ribs, since I got to the part in time to see a table covered with bowls of various barbecue sauces.  However, that meant that the next day at their fan table, they were selling the excess bottles of barbecue sauce for $2 each.  So I grabbed four so I can do my own ribs tasting at home.

I missed the Hugo awards, but was told they went well with Connie Willis doing a great job as presenter.  The buzz about the Hugo slate was also good, with the phrase I heard more than once being “remarkably sane,” meaning that the nominees and the winners were all there as a matter of popular choice of good art, as opposed to something being pumped by media frenzy rather than quality.

Small disappointment in that WorldCon did not apparently have any swag bags of books or even cloth souvenir totes.  Maybe for sale at the T-shirt booth, but no “Welcome to the con, this if for you” like you get at World Horror, World Fantasy or some past WorldCons (including LAConIII).  However, it’s not mandatory, and my bag from WorldHorror is still sitting on my floor (though emptied of books).

And that was WorldCon, or at least what I’m conscious enought talk about after driving back last night.

9 Responses to “WorldCon/LAConIV retrospective”

  1. Jellyn Andrewson 30 Aug 2006 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks! I love con reports. Anything interesting discussed at the panels?

  2. David Louis Edelmanon 30 Aug 2006 at 4:02 pm

    As David E. mentioned back during my Comicon post, too many con reports read like exercises in name dropping (which that post avoided)

    You’re right, Kevin, I did say that. And then I went and totally ignored my own advice and turned the WorldCon report on my personal blog into one big, long name-dropping fest. Whoops.

    Great to finally meet you in person! For all those DG readers out there, you should know that Mr. Murphy is not only knowledgeable about matters of science fiction and fantasy, but the dude’s got style too.

  3. Erin Underwoodon 30 Aug 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Kevin, welcome back from Worldcon! Sounds like a good time was had by all, well except for the occasional hamburger snafu. In any case, thanks for the con report. It’s always fun to hear about the big doings at these shindigs, especially when I don’t have the time to attend in person.

  4. Kevin Andrew Murphyon 30 Aug 2006 at 5:23 pm

    David,

    Indeed, you did, and indeed, you broke your own rule on your home blog. Ah well, I’ll forgive anything when someone compliments me on my style, which I should probably describe: big mane of romance hero hair of the “tossed his chestnut locks” variety, various bits of silver and pewter jewelry, assorted flamboyant shirts from Hot Topic and some gas station outside of Phoenix, and for the Wild Cards dinner and the parties afterwards, a really snazzy vest with black silk and the Venetian winged lions done in silver brocade. I would have dressed up more at night, but in keeping with Anaheim WorldCon’s past, that way lies heat death.

    As for the panels, the most interesting one I attended was the “Rise of Theocracy” panel which had Howard Hendrix and Mike Moscoe on it, among others, and had the incident of the spilled water pitcher. There was a lot of talk about Dominion theology and other creepy things, but that’s appropriate when you have Armageddon cults.

    Beyond that, I mostly have to say that the panels were pretty much as billed, excepting last-minute panelist changes. I was a late add to the “Alien Artifacts” panel and had good fun, especially when I got to explain that some metal pie-plate thing was in fact one of the tentacle-cymbals use by the brides of Uma as part of the marriage ceremonies, before they eat their husbands. I also used the microphone as striker to chime the pie plate while doing a translation of the Uman Bridal Chant. That went over very well and Pat Cadigan did interpretive dancing.

  5. Katharine Kerron 30 Aug 2006 at 6:04 pm

    I also used the microphone as striker to chime the pie plate while doing a translation of the Uman Bridal Chant. That went over very well and Pat Cadigan did interpretive dancing.

    Laughing this hard is not good for my asthma. Ah, the things I have missed!

  6. kateelliotton 30 Aug 2006 at 6:42 pm

    I actually like the name-dropping reports if they’re done in a genial way; it gives the flavor of the con.

    I was thinking of doing a report in which I note every single person I talked to during the convention, but on the other hand I probably want to do that more because i spent so much of the con in a weird state of disequilibrium that I wonder how much I really remember. So it would only be a mental exercise. And I’m not going to do it anyway, because I’m writing up a couple of other things.

    I like stories about interesting panel discussions or strange episodes, like the one Kevin describes. Controversies are fun to hear about as well.

  7. David Louis Edelmanon 30 Aug 2006 at 9:36 pm

    I probably want to do that more because i spent so much of the con in a weird state of disequilibrium that I wonder how much I really remember.

    You remember getting groped onstage by Harlan Ellison, don’t you?

  8. Kevin Andrew Murphyon 30 Aug 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Well, from the “controversy” end, the one thing that did happen that I didn’t see (but is preserved on tape for posterity for anyone who wants to look) is that Harlan Ellison decided to grope Connie Willis during the Hugo ceremonies. Patrick Nielsen Hayden has more to say about this on his personal blog, and while I share his views, I wasn’t there to see it. The only thing I can add was that I was in the bar with Connie afterwards, and while she was understandably pissed, she wasn’t going to pursue it beyond that. I remarked that when Bush gave the German Chancellor an uninvited shoulder-rub, the pro-Bush bloggers were squealing “She smiled! She smiled!” while the analysis given by Broad Sheet at Salon was that the smile was the sort you give when it’s a moment of *My, that was awkward but there’s not much else I can do under the circumstance.* Connie affirmed that yes, her smile was exactly that sort of smile.

    That was about it for the controversy I saw, and it’s also not that controversial anyway, since everyone there was on Connie’s side.

  9. kateelliotton 30 Aug 2006 at 10:43 pm

    !!!!

    You are one sick man, Edelman. That must be why I like you.

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