So I’m rolling Sunday and Monday into one post to wrap up my Worldcon diary today, on account of Monday’s adventures mostly only involving very tired travel and I’m sure nobody needs me to tell them about that.
Nonetheless, I have good things to say, and I’m still having feelings about some of it…
Sunday was probably the most chilled out of my days at Worldcon, as the need to wind down took sensible precedence. There was also the fact that I was pretty sure the Hugo Awards would get me more than sufficiently wound up, and energy would be required. I wasn’t wrong, but before I get to that, I did get to a few other programme items!
My two chosen panels on Sunday were:
The bare bones of worldbuilding: archaeology in SFF, with Ehud Maimon (moderator), Marie Brennan, Alyc Helms and Dr Katrin Kania (I hope I spelled that correctly, my notes say I did but I fear they are not a reliable source!). This was a really interesting panel, perfect for anyone who’s interested in digging (ha) beyond the Indiana Jones style of glamourised archaeology. I’m just nerdy enough to appreciate the professional perspective that these panelists brought to the subject, along with their obviously nerdy enthusiasm for it. Bonus: attendees learned that Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms are writing a book together?! I’ll be looking out for that, no question.
Wands at the ready! Magical worldbuilding in SFF, with Christopher Husberg (moderator), Zen Cho, Diane Duane and Justin Call. This one made my list for similar reasons to the first panel. I love hearing writers discuss worldbuilding, whether it’s their own or just worldbuilding in general. In particular, the ‘rules’ of magical worldbuilding and how different writers approach it is always fascinating to me. These writers all take different approaches to it, and the ensuing discussion was thoroughly interesting. And again, I have some writerly names that are new to me, and books I get to go looking for. That’s a win all round!
The rest of my Sunday afternoon was spent in a less ‘scheduled’ manner, more or less. I did make a point of queueing for Amal El-Mohtar‘s signing session to get my copies of This Is How You Lose The Time War and The Honey Month signed, and Amal was a pleasure to chat with, however briefly! (I always get a bit anxious about taking up too much of someone’s time in signing lines. PEOPLE BEHIND ME AAAH GET OUT OF THEIR WAY, that sort of thing.)
Afterward, my con buddy imyril and I managed to catch some non-programme time with Melissa Caruso, and a lovely time was had drinking tea while camped on a clear spot of floor. This soon turned into watching a demonstration/show of heavy combat with the Society for Creative Anachronism. It’s always entertaining to watch a nerdy demo of something in the company of someone who is themselves quite nerdy about that thing, provided the nerd in question is there to enjoy it. It’s also always lovely to meet someone whose books you adore (Swords and Fire trilogy, out now, go and read it) and find out they’re also a really nice person. Super bonus points if they also like tea as much as you do! I’m only sad that I didn’t bring my copies of her books with me – I would have loved to get them signed. Next time! Whenever that is…
Next up was our second-to-last Noodlecon gathering, and we gathered the original squad (minus one womble, who was missed!) and went back to where it began, for more tasty Japanese goodness (and yes, more plum wine, I might be slightly obsessed with it now). Noodles were actually consumed this time! What is the world coming to??
Anyway. From there it was finally time for the Hugo Awards ceremony, and I have way too many feelings about that to properly explore here without some truly gratuitous use of flailing/crying/fistpumping gifs, so I’ll try to keep this succinct.
From the huge (huge) collective win by Archive Of Our Own for Best Related Work, to Becky Chambers’ acceptance speech for the Best Series Hugo making me want to cry (I felt it so hard), to Uncanny Magazine winning one yet again for marginalised people (my huge, heartfelt congratulations to Elsa Sjunneson-Henry!), That Acceptance Speech by Campbell winner Jeannette Ng and the mighty Mary Robinette Kowal winning Best Novel for The Calculating Stars (oh god that category was SO TOUGH TO CALL, but this one did top my own list in the end), I just wanted to scream and cheer and cry all my joy out, and I practically floated home afterward, I was so happy with the results.
Seriously, the ballots this year were amazing, and the competition was so fierce. I had SO MANY hard choices to make as a voter, and while I may not have gotten to see all of my favourites win (Alasdair Stuart and Charles Payseur, I remain convinced that your time will come!), I am beyond delighted that so many writers and so much work I loved and appreciated this year got recognition. 2020 has an incredible act to follow, and I can’t wait to see what new work it’ll bring our way.
Monday! God, Monday was a strange day for me, following all of that emotion. It was also a bit compounded by the emotions of having to prepare to go home, but I did at least get to spend one more morning at the convention. A second performance by the Library Bards put a bit more pep in my step, and a quick but super-chill mini Noodlecon at the nearby Caffe Nero boosted my energy levels – which, given how exhausted I was by the time I got home again, is certainly something to be grateful for! Catching up with imyril before leaving also gave me a chance to finally meet @shanaqui in person, too!
So the rest is mild airport stress, a ninja-nap on the plane, and blessedly lucky timing where catching buses was concerned, before one glorious evening of pajamas and eventually passing the heck out.
And the best part of the Worldcon aftermath? No con crud! Don’t hate me.
Model of the harp bridge on the Hugo Awards stage: photo by Marek Pawelec, via Facebook.