Friday, August 28, 2015

Some (Belated) Thoughts on Worldcon

I realize it's been a week since Worldcon ended, but it took me some time to organize my thoughts.  It was the first Worldcon I'd ever been to, and going so soon after GenCon was a little bit of a culture shock in some ways.

This year's Worldcon was held at Sasquan in Spokane, Washington.  My husband and I spent a large portion of Wednesday driving the 5+ hours to Spokane, and realized that the sky was getting more and more smoky as we went.  By the time we got to the hotel, the smell of smoke permeated everything.  Turns out, the winds from the wild fires had turned in just the right direction to blanket Spokane with smoke.  The entire city smelled like a barbecue.

The convention center was kind of spread out, which was nice - it never really felt like there were a ton of people crammed into one place, even in areas like the Dealers' Hall, and that's always been one of my biggest issues with conventions.  It helped that the convention attendance was quite small (at least, compared to GenCon), at around 6,000 attendees and 11,300 memberships sold.

The best thing about Worldcon in general was the fact that it was focused on books.  The Dealers' Hall was dominated by tables from bookstores and publishers, which meant that there were so many books everywhere you looked.  It was very dangerous to my pocketbook, to say the least.

There were several panels that I enjoyed, particularly since there was a North American Discworld Convention track.  Something about meeting with other Discworld fans and mourning the loss of Sir Terry Pratchett made the entire convention seem that much more comfortable.

The moment that sticks out the most to me from the convention happened during one of the Discworld panels, one on how Discworld changed our lives.  Eric went with me, even though he didn't want to say anything.  There was a woman there who, after a few of us had shared our stories, shared hers.  She mentioned that she had had some problems with addiction in the past, and that watching Sam Vimes battle those same demons had done her a great deal of good.  Then she said that she had reached a point where she was contemplating suicide, but what had kept her from taking action was thinking that she wouldn't get to read the next book.  She laughed to herself and said that she figured it was crazy, and I just told her that she wasn't alone.  The look on her face when I said that just stuck with me - it was like she never realized that there were others like her out there, who had fought fights similar to hers and had come out a bit worse for the wear, but still fighting.

Making that kind of connection is what going to conventions is about for me.  It means meeting my people, the ones who will understand when I say that I'm terrified to read the last Discworld book, because I know it's the LAST Discworld book.  It means spending time with people who don't mind if all I want or can do is sit in the corner and read, and will happily sit and read with me.  It means finding the family I didn't know I had.

Now that I've gotten the sappiness out of the way...I've been poking away at the book for a bit, and hope to get a little more done this weekend.  It may have to wait, depending on how things go with one of our cats.

Feina is about 15, and she's starting to feel her age.  She hasn't been eating all that much lately, and she's dropped some weight.  We'll be taking her to the vet tomorrow, so think happy thoughts for us, will you?