***N.B. This post was first drafted in summer 2009, and revised and reworked and finally I told myself to hit the publish button.
Part 1 of 2
Last summer I had the opportunity to experience my first fan convention, specifically a sci-fi con. A librarian I know was a volunteer for Anticipation, i.e. Worldcon that took place in Montreal in August.
I was really excited to attend this event which is also where the Hugo Awards are announced. Since my friend is also active in the con world, he convinced me to volunteer as well. Volunteering gave me a very different perspective on my first con than had I simply attended. Also since this was a local con to me I did not have the travel or hotel experience that many attendees do; I had to go home every night to walk the dog.
The benefit of being on staff in the programming office was that I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the speakers and authors, though I didn’t always recognize them as a good fan would. One guest I most certainly did recognize was Neil Gaiman. I was at the table in the office when he came in; he was meeting some folks to sign some books that would be sold for charity. So in he walks and I smile and he says hello. And that’s the extent of my interaction with a star but hey, can you say Neil has said hello to you? He then proceeded to sit behind me barely more than an armslength away as he did his signing.
Another benefit was the Hugos. I don’t just mean attending the award ceremony which was pretty snazzy, but I got to see and even touch an award. The awards were kept in the office for safekeeping and they were quite safe as we oohed and aahed over them. Apparently the base of the award changes every year representing the city in which the Hugos are awarded. The base last year was a sort of geode with lovely reds and yellows in a maple shaped blast off pattern under the shuttle. I can’t really explain it so you should look at some pics too.
I met quite a few people during the event and many of them were talking about this con or that con – these cons really are popular! Since I was seeing everything from behind the scenes I thought maybe I should check out what these other cons were all about.