Denver/Worldcon, son of the final chapter

29 09 2008

Alright, you’re sick of reading about this and I’m sick of writing about it. Let’s put it to bed.

Saturday night and we’re in the big auditorium for the Hugo Award ceremony.

High points: the toastmaster’s opening monolog is really funny. Robert Silverberg and Connie Willis are hilarious, warning against the hazards of winning a Hugo and just being in Colorado, respectively. The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang won for best novelette. Dr. Who: Blink won for dramatic presentation, short form.

Low points: At least two thirds of the winners are not there to accept the awards. At the end they take a ludicrous group photo of the “winners,” the majority of them proxies.
Michael Chabon got the big prize– best novel– for The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. I haven’t read it, so I can’t say whether it was deserved. I did read The Adventures of Cavelier and Klay, which did not impress me especially. So I’m not exactly a fan, quite possibly biased against the guy. In any case, as his representative reads Chabon’s thank-you speech and gushes on about how gratifying and prestigous the Hugo is, I can’t help thinking “the author doth protest too much.” This convention has hammered home what a niche science fiction really is. Why should the New York Times bestselling author care about it? Just sayin.

Sunday is the last day. At 5 days, this is the long con (ha ha). I’ve never attended a con for more than 3 days before. By Sunday morning, Marcie is done. She attends one final panel with me, one for artists about pricing your work. This is the last in a series of panels for professional artists that have been going on since day 1, but somehow I missed them all. Still, the pricing panel is a goldmine of information, and potentially the most valuable panel of the whole con. (Almost two months later I still haven’t taken any steps toward selling prints, but honestly it’s been a hell of an almost two months. Stay tuned.)

Erik and I are staying to the bitter end. Marcie is calling it quits and heading back to my parent’s house. Before she leaves, she goes to my favorite vendor and buys me three more pairs of goggles. What did I do to deserve her?

The closing ceremonies. All special guests march across the stage, the toastmaster is funny again. The proverbial torch is passed to Montreal, host of next year’s Worldcon, in a skit involving roped-up explorers. Or something. It’s hard to follow because the sound doesn’t work and apparently no one rehearsed. Strangely, I’m not bothered anymore. Maybe I’m just exhausted. Maybe the Hugos and the artist panel and Ian McDonald have extracted a committment from me, made me finally acknowledge that these really are my people.

The ceremony ends, the con is closed. Erik is parked on the other side of the convention center. I wear my flight hat and goggles all the way to the door.

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One response

29 09 2008
Kevin Standlee

Actually, I believe Chabon. I also know (secondhand) that he’d made a personal travel commitment with his family for the period during which Worldcon happened, and made it long before the Hugo Award nominations were announced. That put him in a terrible bind, and I don’t fault him for not being able to attend Worldcon. And from all accounts I have, Chabon really isn’t the “outsider” you want to portray him as in your characterization.

It is disappointing that more winners weren’t present, but part of that is as much luck as anything else. Plenty of nominees were present — more than we did last year in Yokohama. Not everyone can put Worldcon and a Hugo Nomination at the very top of their priority list. It’s not like a Hugo nomination comes with a free ticket to the Worldcon site, after all.

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