Worldcon 2011: Renovation
I’m back from the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention, held this year in pleasantly arid Reno, Nevada. This was my first Worldcon, and I’m still coming down off the high of what was, for me, a really amazing week. Some of the highlights:
• The Tor Party: This is a Worldcon tradition, and I was tasked with taking point when it came to putting it together this year, though I had plenty of help from veterans of previous Tor parties, including editors Patrick Nielsen- Hayden, Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, Susan Chang, Liz Gorinsky, David Hartwell, Beth Meacham, Moshe Feder, and Jim Frankel, as well as our art director, Irene Gallo, and our punk-rock publicity director, the indispensible Patty Garcia. We had a great suite of three rooms for the occasion, which included a jacuzzi and two bathtubs suitable for filling with ice and a nice variety of fizzy libations. I got to spend a fair amount of time behind the bar greeting people and dispensing vine-based social lubricants, while writers, editors, artists, agents, and all manner of fans milled in and out over the next seven hours. At times the population density made the suite virtually unnavigable, and the heat unbearable, but going by the number of compliments I received as partygoers left for the evening, it seemed as if a great time was had by all. Not even a mishap involving a stick of soppressata, a very large knife, and my thumb (don’t ask) could mar the evening’s festivities, and I was finally able to lock up the suite just after four a.m.
• Reconnecting with old friends, such as artist John Picacio, who was warm and gregarious and generous with his time as always; and Lou Anders, one of the earliest writers I worked with at Simon & Schuster, who won this year’s Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form.
• Making new friends, such as author Paul Cornell, who rocked the house at the Masquerade with his half-time show; Editor-in-Chief Liza Groen Trombi of Locus Magazine and her bevy of interns, Francesca, Hannah, and Chloe; Fairwood Press founder Patrick Swenson; and the many authors, both established as aspiring, whose acquaintance it was my honor to make.
• The Hugo Awards: a well-produced annual ceremony recognizing excellence in the genre, for which I was happy to wear a suit and tie.
* Fine dining: I’m not a casino guy, ao I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the local cuisine, especially in the variety of restaurants hosted by the Atlantis hotel, which included an amazing sushi joint, a great steakhouse, an excellent bistro, and an unbelievably authentic NYC style deli.
All in all, Worlcon was a wonderful experience for me. Can’t wait for the next one!