I'm back from spending a week in Reno at the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention. It was quite the trip! This was my first such convention (before this I'd only attended linguistics conferences and LCCs), and I was, perhaps, a bit overwhelmed, but I had a great time.
It'll be hard to give my impressions of everything in detail, so I'll try to hit the highlights—and try to do so in order. I can't promise I'll succeed, but I can promise to gloat about it if I do.
I actually hadn't intended to go to the convention at all on Wednesday, but events transpired such that I was able to head down—and, in retrospect, it's a good idea I did, since it would've been a nightmare to go to registration on Thursday morning. The first thing I noticed (and the rest of my time there bore this observation out) was that the convention was incredibly well organized. Having organized the past two LCCs, I simply cannot imagine organizing anything the size of WorldCon. I don't know how many people were attending, but it was over 1,000 (probably many more than 1,000). Simply organizing that many people is an astonishing feat. Add to that the hundreds of program participants, the audio/video needs, security, medical, food—the fact that official functions occurred at three different sites... It's amazing. I tip my organizational hat to everyone in charge.
While there, I met up with Hrakkar from the Dothraki forum. In fact, he uncomplainingly drove me all up and down Virginia Street in Reno, due to the fact that allegram and I were staying far, far away from the convention center. In addition, he filled us in on some local history, and gave us some great recommendations on places to eat. Without his guidance, the trip would've cost us a lot more money, and been a hassle to boot. Since Dothraki is lacking, a big English "thank you" to Tim! You made our trip a lot better.
The bulk of my stuff was on Thursday, including my Dothraki presentation, which was my first program item. I think that was probably for the best. I may have won over a few more attendees had I participated in the other panels first, but doing presentations of this kind is what I'm used to, and I felt right at home. I was surprised by how many people showed up, given the fact that a book signing by grrm was scheduled against my presentation (uh...oops?), and was grateful to those that came. It was a nice welcome to WorldCon. (By the way, for those who asked questions and are looking for their Dothraki words: that'll be at Dothraki.com some time after this gets published [but certainly before Friday].) You can download my presentation here. (And for the curious, the proto-form of modern kolver, "eagle", is *kolber, based on the last name of Tek Jansen creator Stephen Colbert.)
The Language Creation Workshop we put together went well, despite not concluding (you can download the materials here). We learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, and we'll get it pared down for future presentations. A big thank you to Sylvia Sotomayor, Jim Henry, qiihoskeh and allegram for donating their time to the workshop! You guys were awesome! Here's a nice shot of Jim Henry's group at work:
The panels I was on went well, and were a lot of fun. I'll look forward to doing them again in the future, and will have some suggestions for potential new panels. As a first-timer, I didn't know quite what to expect or how things would go down. Now I know, so y'all better look out! ;)
On Friday night (after a harried meal in an otherwise excellent Mediterranean food restaurant called Naan and Kabob), I headed over to a room party hosted by the Brotherhood Without Banners: a grrm fan group (or, should I say, the grrm fan group). A truly well organized party! I have to say, one of my favorite (though, at the same time, most embarrassing) moments was watching a whole group of people completely remove a king-sized bed from a room and move it to another room down the hall while I ate my dinner. I totally sat there and watched and didn't help, like a tool. And yet they were so good, I felt like by trying to help I would only be getting in the way... I mean, these guys were epic bed movers. I'm not sure I know everyone who helped by name, but I know them by sight, so if you ever find yourself in need and I'm around again, remind me how I callously sat there and watched you move a bed at WorldCon in 2011, and I will be shamed into doing your bidding.
Despite the fact that I knew no one there, the BWB were a good group and quite friendly. I had a number of good conversations with a number of people I know by sight (and I remember at least a few board names: Stego, lordMountainGoat, Veira—and a handful of real names. Plus the very nice fellow from Australia, Mapu, the two ladies from SoCal now living in Portland, and the fellow from Ireland—and more for whom I can't generate a snappy description). You made me feel quite welcome, despite the fact that I was basically an outsider. Thanks for having me!
Oh, and while there, I finally got a decent picture with me and grrm:
I met a lot of cool people, including two of my fellow panelists Peadar Ó Guilín (who was also at the BWB party) and Juliette Wade. I got a picture with them that I think is pretty good (despite the fact that my hair's doing this bell thing it does after certain haircuts. I swear, sometimes you suffer through a bad hair day; sometimes a bad hair half-year...):
I also ducked out to lunch with Peadar, Colin Fisk and his wife Margaret McGaffey Fisk. There I learned about a new band to check out (writing it down and linking to it so I remember): Epica.
This is getting a bit meandery, so to summarize, I think this was well worthwhile, and I'm going to make it a goal to attend the next two WorldCons in Chicago and Texas. This will require the procurement of money, at which I'm notoriously pitiful, but I think if I make it a goal, I'll be able to do.
The real impetus for writing this blog post was that I wanted to answer a linguistics question I got on Twitter a few days ago. It's become apparent that this isn't the place for that, though, so I'll post this and get started on a new post. Anyway, as a final note, a big thank you to everyone that stopped by to say "hi" while I was up there! I hope to see everyone again some day soon.
Yet Another Bad Idea
- Back from Renovation