Worldcon: It’s All Over Now
To be honest, being here has been a little stressful since waking up to news of the earthquake in my home town of Christchurch on Saturday morning, but I have tried to carry on and enjoy Worldcon as much as possible under the circumstances—and it has been a lot of fun. I have caught up with friends from last year’s New Zealand Natcon, and with buddies such as Tracey O’Hara from the Supernatural Underground, but also met a whole lot of new people: pretty much from all over, but mainly from Australia, the US and UK.
Sunday was my busiest day, with two panels—The Eternal Stories with Alison Croggan, Catherynne M Valente and Jenny Blackford, and Fantasy before Fantasy with Ben Chandler, Rani Graff and Carol Ryles. Both were fun topics, but I must confess to it being particularly exciting, not just to participate in, but to moderate a panel with a writer as famous as Cat Valente—who was also a 2010 nominee for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. My final panel, this morning, was Writing Strange Lands: Other Cultures in YA Speculative Fiction, with Karen Healey, Gillian Polack and Mary Victoria, and I have to say I think it was an excellent panel, with every panelist making a great contribution on a potentially challenging subject. The feedback I have received from those who attended the discussion was that they also thought the panel rocked, which was great to hear.
I think possibly my favourite event, personally, was the opportunity to read from Thornspell and The Heir of Night on Sunday afternoon. The reading time was longer than I had first thought, with half an hour being allocated to each reader, but this did give me time to read from both books, and also to give the audience a real flavour of Heir. And as one member of the audience told me that he had tears in his eyes at one stage, and another that I had made both the places and the people in the excerpts “come alive” for her, I thought I must have executed the reading with reasonable panache.
My kaffeklatsch was also fun, with the opportunity not only to answer questions about different aspects of both Thornspell and The Heir of Night, but also to chat with my guests about what they enjoyed reading and why. At any rate, the hour sped by and left me inclining to the view that kaffeklatsches are actually a great way to interact with people who both enjoy my writing, but are also passionate about the kind of books I enjoy reading.
But the highlight of Worldcon for me was definitely the Hugo Awards ceremony and the pre-Hugos party, which I was invited to courtesy of Orbit, my UK/AU/NZ publisher. The ceremony was just fantastic, very well run and a tremendous thrill to ‘be there’ to see the awards announced and given out. The party was a blast because of the opportunity to meet and chat with nominees such as Phil and Kaja Foglio, the creators of my favourite graphic novel series, Girl Genius Online—who of course went on to win the Hugo in their category. I also got to meet and talk, for the first time in person, with quite a few people in the publishing world who have been very supportive of my writing career to date.
Anyway, I shall be blogging about the Hugo outcomes in more detail over the next few days, on the Out of this Eos blog, but in the meantime the priority is to get home to New Zealand and ‘deal to’ the aftermath of earthquake.