Worldcon II - The Show
For me, the heart of a con is often the dealer's room. I love browsing the stock of old books and picking out the items I want to buy, and Worldcon features the best dealer's room, a huge hall with dealers from all over the country and a few overseas. The collectible paperback dealers have become scarcer since my first con (San Antonio in 1997), which means it's harder to find early books by George R. R. Martin, but that's okay. I still found some excellent - and not expensive - hardcovers by Michael Swanwick, Vernor Vinge, James P. Hogan and Kim Stanley Robinson. I'm sure I spent at least 4 hours over the course of the weekend in the dealer's room. Kept running into friends there to chat with, too.
San Jose in 2002 was a big autograph-fest for me, but I only brought a few books to get autographed this time around. I waited in line for an hour and a half for Neil Gaiman. Ended up spending the whole time in line just in front of a trio of sisters who turned out to be the daughters of a well-known SF author. Gaiman was charming as always. Truly one of the nice guys in SF and fantasy, and well worth going to see if you have the chance and have any interest in his work. He emcee'd the Hugo Awards ceremony on Saturday night and was excellent (which is more than can be said for whoever was running the slideshow, as a couple of awards were prematurely announced along the way).
I also got books autographed by Stephen Leigh, and Cliff and I went to the Kaffeeklatsch (programmed social event) with Steve on Sunday, and we all had a good time. I wasn't as, well, intimidated I guess is the word, as I was the first time I met Steve back in 1998. Which is kinda silly, since Steve is perfectly approachable. What was I thinking back then? (Here's Steve's account, BTW.)
While talking to Steve during his autograph session, I stepped aside from time to time to let him sign books for others, and mostly chatted with a friendly woman who had been talking to him when I got there. After a while, her badge flipped around and I saw that she was, in fact, a well-known fantasy author whom I've always heard good things about. Gee, I guess writers are just people, too!
Finally caught up to the elusive Jim Rittenhouse Saturday evening, and talked with him and some of his friends until I nearly missed the last train back. Jim's been one of my best friends, and I haven't seen him since I moved to California in 1999. He has an adoptive daughter who believes I'm a figment of Jim's imagination (which, y'know, no one has proven not to be true). Jim and his family spent more time seeing Boston than seeing the con, but it was good to see him this once. We'll see if we can meet up at a WisCon sometime.
I managed to see everyone I knew at Worldcon who I knew was at Worldcon, save for one woman from Madison I'd heard was there. I think I saw her late at night as I was leaving - assuming her hair is dyed some bright and unnatural color (which would be just like her, I think!), but I was too wiped to go ask.
Oh, and I dragged my Dad along on Friday to see the con for a day. I think he enjoyed the exhibits about some of the old-time authors, and he met a couple of my friends and acquaintances (notably Lucy), but I suspect the show wasn't entirely his sort of thing. He did get to see Connie Willis and Nancy Kress mix it up on a panel over - of all things - the merits of Spider-Man 2, which was hilarious.
I had a good time. I need to get myself to write more, though. Really.