Chicon 7 was my first World Con. I have been to cons before, but nothing quite as big (Comic-Con doesn’t count). So here are the highlights of my experience there:
Going as a fan, not an aspiring writer. I went with a non-writer friend and we aimed for maximum entertainment. There’s too much talent there to not take a critical hit to your self confidence. I couldn’t find anyone to network with anyway, because everyone was totally fucking lost in that hotel.
Watching Charlie Stross struggle to not to kill his fellow panelists in a session on moral ambiguity in science fiction. I felt bad for him, because it was pretty awful. Apparently, ‘moral ambiguity’ opens the door to fumble the topic of rape repeatedly. On the other hand, seeing righteous, angry Charlie try to address the panel’s subject was awesome.
Attending readings by Hugh Howey, Walter Jon Williams, John Scalzi, and Patrick Rothfuss. Everyone’s work was beautifully written and made me doubt my own skill. And Rothfuss knows how to pack a room:
Story Musgrave’s life: he was the astronaut guest of honor, and his life story is amazing. Fixing the Hubble is not even the 3rd most awesome thing about him.
Stalked by George R.R. Martin: it’s totally true. After attending his Wildcards panel, GRRM started following us around and we saw him everywhere. No way that could be coincidence, given that there were other people I know at Chicon who I didn’t see once. He even crashed this panel of science fiction legends just because he saw us duck into this ballroom to get away from him:
Skipping the awards ceremony to play Settlers of Catan in the game room. And the game room was packed. I followed the awards on Twitter, and ran down to the ballroom to catch the final awards. I would love to see the Hugo vote counts to know how far in the tail of the SF taste distribution I am in certain categories. Because there was a bit of me going ‘what the frak’ in certain categories.
Chicago: I love that town. I leave you with this only-in-Chicago picture from under Lower Wacker Drive: