So Patrice, what do you do at these cons, anyway? Well, I:

  • Go to panels
  • Talk on panels
  • Visit the dealer room
  • Buy books because…dealers are pushers
  • Sign books
  • Read from my work

That’s level one of a convention. Level two is meeting with friends in the hallway and giving hugs and promising to catch up and never doing, because there are thousands of people here and any meeting is largely fortuitous. But I did get a chance to spend time with a few folks like Gabrielle Matthieu, a friend first met in Austin and who now lives in Switzerland and who has her fourth book coming out this fall. And then there’s Zandra Renwick, a friend from Austin who now lives in Canada who makes short story writing look easy.

And of course, Martin Owton — sidekick, best writing buddy, author of grimdark, epic, and urban fantasy, with a new book out. We have been friends for over 20 years, mostly online, but when we can get to international or British or Irish conventions we are each other’s wingman. We’ve been traveling in the West of Ireland with Martin and his wife, Mary, and it’s always a joy.

Level 3 is the pro stuff. I’ve had meetings with my agent and my editors and meetings with potential editors, and all of that is the connective tissue that makes these conventions work. I had something of an epiphany here this weekend, that this convention is more for fans than pros, because I come to it as a fan and a pro and I am feeling a bit torn between the two roles, but the Martha Wells pointed out that look, I’ve done two conventions virtually back to back, and ArmadilloCon had some emotional peaks and valleys with fallout that is still reverberating, and whoa, those are some mixed metaphors there, and maybe, just maybe, that has impacted my embrace of this WorldCon. It is true that when I arrived at the convention on Thursday night I was overwhelmed. There are thousands of people here. But I persevered, because these are my people, all these thousands.

This convention has been extraordinary. I read tonight — scheduled against the Hugos — and hope to see some folks there. There are a few of us counter-programmed to the main event. I kind of don’t mind. It’ll be fine. I’m used to reading to a handful of folks. There’s been plenty of serendipity, the kind of thing that WorldCons are famous for, and I’m just jazzed to be on the show.


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