September 4th, 2012

language, voyage

Short Worldcon report

I'm back from Worldcon. I had a great time - I think I did a better job of managing my social energy than I often do at Worldcons, which means I spent less time at parties but had more fun at the parties I attended. A good trade.

When people ask me, "How is your con going?", I tend to think they mean the one I'm helping to run, rather than the one I'm attending. I had a lot of accidental conversations about FOGcon that way.

As with last year's Worldcon in Reno, I really enjoyed the "Stroll with the Stars" morning walks. I don't often get to chat with the "stars" much, but it's a great low-pressure environment in which to chat to fellow fans, and to get familiar with the area surrounding the convention hotel. (Admittedly, in Reno, the area surrounding the convention hotel was one that I'd have been content to remain unacquainted with. Chicago had a lot more to offer.)

It was a fairly mediocre year for programming, I think. To briefly summarize the panels I attended...
The Good: The SF Squeecast recording was an absolute hoot - I recommend checking it out when it shows up on their podcast feed. I came away from the "F**k Your Knight and the Horse He Rode in On, Part Deux" panel with a long list of book recommendations.

The Bad: "Girl Power in YA SF and Fantasy" was marred by the sole male panelist spending the first half hour talking more than all the female panelists combined. It wasn't intentional, and parity was eventually restored when the women just started interrupting him. "Do We Need Print Books?" was frustrating because people kept bringing up supposed problems with e-books that have either already been technologically solved ("You can't lend an e-book to your friend!" Yes you can!) or will be easily technologically solved once someone brings the right product to market ("E-readers aren't durable enough for small children," or "You can't read an e-book in the bath.") I was annoyed. The three people sitting with me, who are much bigger e-book proponents than I am, were nearly incandescent.

The Meh: "Have Sonic Lipstick, Will Travel" proved to be an hour plus of a roomful of people going, "Yeah, Sarah Jane was awesome. Lis Sladen was awesome." While I can happily spend an hour singing Sarah Jane's praises, I'm not sure a Worldcon panel is the best format to do it in - we'd probably have done better to all go down to the bar and chat. There were brief moments of differing opinion on K-9 and Company and "School Reunion", but the panel didn't really catch fire. (Also, this is nitpicky, but I wish that fandom in general could praise Sarah Jane Smith without (probably unintentionally) belittling prior companions. Sarah Jane was not the "first feminist companion," the "first companion who was a career woman," or "the first companion who stood up to the Doctor," although she was arguably the most effectively-realized character matching those descriptions that the show had had in a while.)

Quibbles about programming aside, it was an excellent con overall.