WorldCon 2009 Review

I had a blast at Anticipation in Montreal.

I picked up a number of books in the dealers room.

  • Tesseracts Thirteen edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell
  • What is it we do when we read science fiction by Paul Kincaid
  • Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn
  • Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
  • Steel Whispers by Hayden Trenholm
  • Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • Birthstones by Phyllis Gotlieb
  • Rewired: the Post-Cyberpunk Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel

The Hugo awards ceremony was entertaining. The highlight for me was the win for Weird Tales for Best Semiprozine. Ann VanderMeer was quite obviously shocked by the win. After all the photos up on stage, Ann was gracious enough to let some of the fans hold onto it. The Hugo base this year is fantastic, and heavy.

Holding the Hugo

I met a number of awesome folks, both at panels, and wandering around. Some, like Suzanne Church, Matt Moore, Hayden Trenholm, and Karl Schroeder and Erik Buchanan, I had met before at Ad Astra. Others, such as Christopher J. Garcia, Scott Klebe and Christopher Howard, I met for the first time. Also met briefly were David A. Kyle, Joe Haldeman, and John Scalzi (whom Karl called, and I quote: “a fundamentally perverse person”, I believe in regards to the Wil Wheaton black velvet painting.) I also enjoyed a conversation with Tobias Buckell, whom I recognized only after I saw the cute twins. On the academic track side of things, I had some nice conversations with Veronica Hollinger, and Neil Easterbrook.

Tobias Buckell and John Scalzi

John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell

I had a few books signed while I was at Anticipation. Michael Swanwick has a fantastic signature. Also signing a story in Rewired is Cory Doctorow.

The Steampunk! panel in the teen programming track was excellent. The panel was well balanced, Christopher J. Garcia is a great fanzine writer, and he exhibited a preliminary issue of the new fanzine Exhibition Hall. Of course, in the Drink Tank #218 he described me as a former Ivory dealer, and the inventor of a new, powerful elephant gun (likely steam powered). Kristin Norwood was very knowledgeable regarding the various steampunk fashions. Ann VanderMeer is an editor for Weird Tales, and is also a co-editor of the Steampunk anthology. I covered some of the other literary aspects of the steampunk genre, and provided visual references of various steampunk novels and media, including the novel The Difference Engine (which was the subject of a paper I presented on the academic track), and the animated film Steamboy. The panel was a lot of fun, although I was surprised at how little awareness of the steamunk literature the audience had. To these teens, steampunk meant costumes, gadgets and jewellery.

Anticipation was great, but there was a lot of walking between panels. I think next year, I’ll attend a smaller convention, such as Readercon.