Last week a huge bunch of people gathered in London to celebrate all things Fantasy, Science Fiction and related stuff at Loncon, this year’s incarnation of Worldcon. And what do you know, I was one of them. Since I had no idea what to really expect from a con like this, I took some notes, and decided to write it all out as a small series of blogs.
I arrived in London of Wednesday and managed to just miss the Grim Gathering Fantasy Faction had going on. Too bad, but nothing could get me down since I would be seeing most of those authors some time during the next week anyway. On Thursday I took the DLR from our apartment to the convention center. They had two train stops serving the place, to give you some indication of the size.
You know what was even bigger (ok, not literally) the queue we all had to stand in to get registered. So for about half an hour I shuffled forward. Then, when I thought I’d arrived, I got put in the next queue downstairs. Those British folks know what they’re good at. The fun thing though is that you are for standing in line with 2014 Hugo nominee (at the time) Mary Robinette Kowal.
Once I finally got in I managed to catch most of the opening ceremonies, which was fun, but not nearly as big a deal as I had expected. The room was filled to maybe 10% of capacity. But it was fun as they sorted the guests of honour into houses Hogwarts style with a propellor cap as sorting hat. There was singing too, but let’s not talk about that.
Next I decided to jump into the panel action, which makes up a huge part of the program. My first panel was a good one, about urban fantasy with (among others) guest of honour Robin Hobb. You could tell everybody was still getting into it, but it was fun. Like I said, I didn’t know quite what to expect, and this was a good way roll into it.
Next was an interview with Connie Willis and some chap named George R.R. Martin. So that meant: bring on the queueing (that word looks so wonderful) again. I never thought I’d make it in, but some more shuffling later and there I was, in the same room as George R.R. Martin. Fanboy alert! The session was a lot of fun, Connie and George go way back and were taking stabs at each other all the time. But it goes to show sometimes at a convention you can just be a reader and have a good time.
Final session of the day was one about politics and ideology with folks like Kim Stanley Robinson, who says pretty smart things. I really need to read the rest of the Mars books.
I wanted to have beer with Scott Lynch, only to find out then that you needed to sign up. So that wasn’t going to work out, but I would have my revenge on the sign-up sheets eventually.
All in all a good first day, where I also ran into some dude with a giant beard who goes by the name of Patrick Rothfuss. I have a feeling my fanboy alert is going to keep going off during these posts.