I’m not going to do a full-blown report on this year’s Worldcon. I didn’t have the time to do all of the investigative journalist stuff, and anyway I’m sure that the angry white men of UK fandom will be busily telling us what a utter disaster the event was any day now. I wouldn’t want to confuse them with actual facts. However, a few brief comments and thanks are in order.
Registration – we know how to do this, Worldcons should not be messing up that badly on such a basic function.
Programme – by far the most interesting programme of any Worldcon I can remember. Some of the room assignments went badly wrong, but that’s really hard to get right.
Dealers – everyone I spoke to was very happy. I know I sold 9 of the 10 copies of Airship Shape that I brought, so I am really pleased.
Exhibits – this was magnificent. I’m sure much of it was down to Farah’s energy and enthusiasm, but I suspect it also shows that having someone in charge who has a high profile and respectable academic job makes a huge difference to the willingness of people to be involved.
Art Show – it looked good to me. I was pleased to see many artists from all over Europe.
Masquerade – I missed it, but I have heard good things about it and am eagerly awaiting the video.
Hugos – went very smoothly for the most part, and some excellent winners. I was so very relieved.
Fan Village – a highlight of the event for me. It was so much better than room parties. However, I note that being able to do something like this is dependent on having a venue prepared to allow it. I have no idea how a convention center in another country would react to a request to allow fan groups to serve alcohol independently of the official bars.
The venue – I got a lot of exercise, and ate surprisingly well. Special thanks are due to Mint Leaves for being open so long. The one thing that was an issue was the fact that the professionals tended to socialize at the Fox while the fans tended to socialize in the Fan Village, which resulted in far more separation than I’m used to at Worldcon. Special thanks are due to Mary Robinette Kowal for taking her Hugo straight to the Fan Village after the ceremony, and encouraging others to do the same.
The people – another highlight. There was a much more diverse membership this year than any Worldcon I can remember. (I note that I did not attend the Japanese event).
It makes me very happy to see lots of other folk going on about how diverse the membership was, but I have a feeling that it would have been even more diverse, and much younger, had Nine Worlds not lured a lot of people away.
I also note that next year will be very different. Even many of my American friends are saying that they won’t go to Spokane. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they get more than 3500 attendees. Most of those people will be older Americans. So if you want the Hugo winners to be as good as this year, and in particular if you want another magnificently international Worldcon in Helsinki in 2017, you need to buy a supporting membership and vote in site selection. All of the good things about Loncon 3 could so easily be lost.