What better subject for me to blog about while I'm at this year's SF Worldcon than the convention itself?
The World SF Convention has existed for nearly 75 years. It's a traveling convention, meaning it is held in a different city every year. For instance, last year's was in Chicago, this year's is in San Antonio TX, and next year's will be in London England.
This year's attendees have the opportunity to vote on the site for 2 years from now, 2015. We had 3 choices; Orlando FL, Spokane WA and Helsinki. Well, technically, we also had the choices of 'No preference' and 'None of the Above'. These locations already have some people who have scoped out the best place in town to hold the convention, have presented an acceptable plan to the Worldcon parent organization, and have been trying to impress people with what their location has to offer.
This year, the attendees also have the opportunity to vote on next year's North American SF Convention. When the World Convention is in another part of the world, like next year's convention in London, a great number of North Americans can't afford to travel that far, so a similar convention is held within North America.
If you have never attended any science fiction convention, I don't really suggest you start with a worldcon. Try a couple conventions in your area of the country first, so you have a better idea what to expect. (Google 'sf convention' + 'your state' to find some within easy reach.) If you've been to one of those huge comic cons, you might not be quite so lost, but I find the worldcon has more things to do.
With an attendance of 6,000 or more, a worldcon has the usual dealer's room, panels, art show, panels, con suite, panels, autograph sessions and panels. Did I mention there's panels? Looking through the pocket program (a booklet of 260 pages), there are easily 2 dozen Things To Do in any given hour of the day, slowing to 1 dozen in the evening.
Worldcons differ from local sf conventions in another way. Local sf conventions are usually 3 days long, from Friday through Sunday. A worldcon starts on Thursday and goes through Monday. So a smart attendee tries to pace themself. Or else, trains for the marathon ahead of time.
Even with thousands of attendees, by the time you've come to 2 or 3 worldcons, you'll start recognizing some faces, and others will start to recognize you, too. There really are groups of friends who do not see each other except at conventions. Thank goodness for internet for sharing thoughts at other times!
Woops, there's a panel coming up I want to be at. See ya next week!