OK. So I went. I saw. And I lurked. Worldcon 2009 was an incredibly rich set of awesomenesses.
Here are the sessions I sat in on from Thursday through to Sunday:
- Open Science – Workable Goal or Idealistic Fantasy?
- the last part of Bio-Ethics
- What is Consciousness?
- First Contact: Worldbuilding
- How to Respond to a Critique of your Writing
- part of the Opening Ceremonies
- How to Get to Alpha Centauri
- Writing Workshop L
- Private Passions: Writing
- Friends Without Benefits?
- The Goldilocks Alien
- David Clements
- What Makes A Good Story?
- Mosquitos and Laser Beams
- How to Pitch Your Novel… and how not to
- Driven by Character; Starting with a Character
- Gaiman reads Doctorow
- Brewing and Distilling in Extreme Environments
- English-Canada Small-Press SF Publishers
- Lots of Planets have a North
- Private Passions: The Many Interests of Neil Gaiman
- Economics of the Star Traders
- The Herschel Space Telescope
- Hugo Awards Ceremony
There was also the Dealers and Artist Hall which was fascinating to stroll through. And, in the evenings, there were the parties on the top (28th) and the 5th floors of the Delta. I bumped into David Clements at one of these and picked his brain about low-metal planets. During the many sessions I attended I learned a great deal: it will take a while to absorb it all. I would have attended more on Monday but I had to catch the Greyhound bus to return home with my bike on Monday morning at 5:30AM.
During the sessions mention was made, often in passing, of significant stories that influenced session leaders or audience. For example, They’re Made of Meat by Terry Bisson came up twice. Try the link above and you’ll see it’s a short read. Also, the short SF story writer Ted Chiang’s name was mentioned at least three times. I found the novelette Understand online and took the time to read it. Wow!
As a fan I saw many people whose work I’ve admired for years including Julie Czerneda, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, James Alan Gardner, Nancy Kress, Larry Niven, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverburg and Bill Willingham.
Scientists (also fans and some are writers too) attended Worldcon and participated too. The following impressed me: David Clements, Geoff Hart, Jordin Kane, G. David Nordley and Peter Watts.
I had volunteered to help with the Registration desk and did over 25 hours worth. That was fun, actually, as it gave me a chance to practice my Francaise and gave me a ‘home’ to return to after absorbing all the stuff! And if that was home then Lea was Mom, Dave was Dad, Elayne and Sandy were the live-in relatives who made things work and everyone else were siblings (including John whose family I know well from Guelph – small world!)
On a more personal note, two chapters of my novel “The Relater” were critiqued (along with offerings from two other aspirants) during a workshop lead by writers Laura Anne Gilman and Margaret Ronald. This was enlightening and useful: I intend to do some editing. I also met with the Publisher to whom I originally submitted back in April and discussed my intent to withdraw my submission until I can make changes. Luckily she hadn’t looked at it yet and agreed to wait until I resubmit. I want it to be the best it can be.