WorldCon: All Your Base Are Belong to Us Edition

Yes, I’m back from WorldCon, and I’m here to tell all about it. But first off–the important bit. The jawdroppingly stunning fact: I got home 2 hours before I was supposed to! I know. Somehow, somewhere, the travel powers that be decided to smile down upon me. I got on an earlier flight that landed early, so I caught an even earlier bus. Traffic on Labor Day was light.

Hell has frozen over, my friends. And all it took was a trip to WorldCon.

Okay. Now that that’s out of my system, I’m here to tell you all about my wining and dining with the good folks out in Chicago. It was a fantastic trip, helped in no small part by the fact that I had an awesome roommate: Myke Cole. Myke is in many ways my polar opposite. He’s outgoing, fearless, confident and chatty, while I’m only somewhat good at pretending to be all of the above. Myke filled the role of “Get Bryce to go out and do stuff” admirably, as well as “Force Bryce to talk to strangers.” He really needs to look in to renting himself out for parties. 🙂

I met too many people to name all of them, but I shall try to pick out some highlights. (Of course, every time I do this, I obsess that I forgot someone I really wanted to mention. But I’m going to do it anyway, and if I forgot *you*, know that it wasn’t intentional.)

  • I met with various awesome people including but not limited to: Lissa Price (author of Starters), Chuck Wendig (author of Blackbirds), Joshua Bilmes (my agent), Eddie Schneider (my other agent), Brady McReynolds (my other other agent), John Berlyne (my sort of other other other agent, with a British flair, because when it comes to agents, I’m of the Pokemon persuasion), Nancy Fulda (short story writer extraordinaire), Myke Cole (of course), Doug Hulick (author and swordsman), Paul Genesse (author of The Secret Empire), Brian McClellan (old WorldCon buddy and upcoming author of The Powder Mage Trilogy), Joshua Palmatier (author), John Moore (author), John Hemry (author), Joe Zieja (upcoming author and fellow New Jersey-ian) and–this is starting to go on a little too long, so I’m going to stop name dropping. It was all awesome.
  • I was on three panels–
    • Acquiring an Agent–About sixty people in attendance, give or take. The panel went really well. It was well-moderated, and Joshua Bilmes was there, with tons of great advice. I think I had a few “breakthrough” moments of insight while on the panel, but I’ll save those for a later date to write them up separately.
    • Trends in YA–I moderated this one, and it was packed. Tons of people in a smaller room. Leigh Bardugo and Gwenda Bond were on the panel, as were Aurora Celeste and Emily Jiang. Everyone knew their topic well, no one monopolized the conversation, and it all went swimmingly. Very impressed with this panel, and the audience in attendance. WorldCon isn’t known for being very YA heavy, but hopefully this is slowly changing.
    • SF in Libraries–This was a bit trickier, since most of the audience were librarians, but only 2 of the 5 panelists were. I was also moderating, and it was much more difficult to involve everyone adequately. Librarians know the field well, and it’s not always easy to ask non-librarians library specific questions and get the sort of responses that will be helpful to librarians. (Much like if I were invited to a panel on car repair. I may drive a car, but good luck getting me to give you insight on how to repair one.) Despite this, I feel like it went well, and everyone seemed to leave happy.
  • Chicago Cubs game–I got to go to a game with Myke, Brady, and John Berlyne, and we had a great time at Wrigley Field. Historic place, great plays, tasty Cracker Jack. Great weather. Who could ask for anything more? Too many times at cons, I’m in a hotel the whole time. This was a great change of pace. As was
  • 3.3 mile walk through Chicago at night–Joshua loves to walk, and he took all interested (me and John Berlyne) on a walk back from dinner at 10:30 at night. The city was shrouded in fog (reminded me of Mistborn), and the weather was comfortable. We chatted the whole time, and it was another highlight of my trip. Amazing how sometimes the things you think will just be side shows end up being the main event.
  • Hugos–I attended the awards presentation. Essentially the Oscars of fantasy writing. What did I think? Very well done, all good awards, not as long as it could have been (yay!). But there were way too few seats. the room was hot, and it could have been even shorter. (I have a bad back. When there are no arms on chairs, my back gets angry. You don’t want to see my back angry.) Still, I was sitting next to Myke and Joshua, and that made the time go faster.
  • Parties–I went to them. They’re really out of my comfort zone, but I went. Everyone was drinking. They were crowded. I couldn’t hear a thing. But I was seen, and I talked to some lovely people, so I suppose that’s a plus.
  • BYU/Washington State Game–I did NOT go to the first night of parties, because it was opening day, and I had to watch me some BYU football. And we won! Great way to start off the trip. 🙂
  • Internet was lousy. Just terrible. I still feel behind on the world. Also, I might be kind of addicted to the internet.
  • Food was great. Japanese, Indian, deep dish pizza, and all the peanut butter Nutella sandwiches I could cram down my mouth. (All this, and I only put on two pounds? Nice!)
And . . . I’m out of time. All told, ’twas an epic trip, and definitely worth the money and time. I just wish I didn’t have so much to do to catch up with everything now. Still, if you’re interested in fantasy and fandom, WorldCon is an experience you really need to try out sometime. It’s in San Antonio next year, and I’m already eyeing the date . . . 

4 thoughts on “WorldCon: All Your Base Are Belong to Us Edition”

  1. My favorite thing to do in Chicago is eat. I’ll actually be sort of sad when the Indianapolis temple is finished and I no longer have a heavenly mandate to go to Chicago on a regular basis.

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