WorldCon 2021 Schedule

WorldCon is normally held in August, but this year is being held in December, because there were various catastrophes (aside from the Big Obvious Ongoing Catastrophe, the hotel they were planning to hold the con in closed down) and the convention organizers rescheduled it for December. It’s being held both virtually and in-person. I’m vaxxed, boosted, and going in person.

I am a finalist for two Hugo Awards this year: “Monster” is a finalist for Best Novelette, and “Little Free Library” is a finalist for Best Short Story. Both stories are up against an amazing set of fellow finalists; it’s an honor to be listed among them.

I’m getting in Wednesday evening, flying home Monday. Here’s my schedule:

Thursday

10 am: Post-Pandemic Aesthetics. Virtual Panel.
“The 1918 flu pandemic had huge impacts on culture over the subsequent decades, including significant changes to architecture and personal fashion. What kinds of long-term changes to our public aesthetic will we see in reaction to COVID-19? Will restaurants and other public spaces need to change their room layouts and building designs? Will branded, designer facemasks become de rigueur symbols of conspicuous consumption?” I am moderating. Other panelists: Ana Rüsche, Charlie Stross, Leonardo Espinoza Benavides, sandy manning.

11:30 am: Kaffeeklatsch – Suite 325 Main Room.

1 pm to 1:50pm: Signing at the SFWA table in the Dealer’s Room.

2:30 pm: The Fallout of Being the Chosen One. Forum Room.
“Being a Chosen One isn’t always happily-ever-after. The season-by-season model of television, and the multi volume novel,  allows viewers to explore the arc of the chosen one-type hero after the initial hero’s journey is complete. What are some of the emotional impacts and plot implications of the Chosen One’s story? What kind of generational trauma can being, or being near, the Chosen One inflict?” Ellen Kushner, Naomi Kritzer, Patricia A. Jackson, Sarah Guan, Hildy Silverman (Moderator)

5 p.m.: Hugo Nominee reception, Ambassador Ballroom.
This is a big public reception for people to meet the nominees from 2021 and the winners (and maybe also nominees?) from 2020 (which also includes me: I won the Lodestar Award for Catfishing on Catnet). How long I stay is going to depend heavily on whether I was able to find food between 12:30 and 1, and/or between 1:50 and 2:30, or if I’m running on pop and granola bars.

10 pm: Social Media: Making Enemies & Alienating People. Virtual.
“Social media can be an excellent place to find online community, especially during a pandemic, but it can also be a fraught world of vicious gossip, lip service activism, and whatever the Algorithm is. The panel will explore ways of using different forms of social media to connect with like-minded people, while providing tips to avoid falling prey to such platform’s worst aspects.” Elizabeth Hirst, John Wiswell, K.G. Anderson, Naomi Kritzer, Travis Tippens (Moderator)

(Yes, my Thursday is ridiculous. It was already ridiculous and then I added the signing at the SFWA table because the other available slots were problematic in other ways and I decided that I’d just come prepared to live on snacks that day if I have to. The 10 p.m. panel on social media dumpster fires should leave me thoroughly alert to go find people in the bar!)

Friday

10 am: Legal and Actuarial Supernatural Hypotheticals. Forum Room.
“What does a lifetime annuity mean to the undead? Are werewolves responsible for their actions during the full moon if they contracted lycanthropy by accident? Do mermaids have standing to bring citizen suits under the Clean Water Act? Do vampire thralls run afoul of anti-slavery laws? Not actual legal advice. Results may vary. Please contact your local coven before attempting to bargain with the fae.” I am moderating. Also on the panel: Alex Shvartsman, Andrija “Andy” Popovic, Pat Bahn, Tenaya Anue.

Saturday

2:30 p.m.: 2020 ruined my novel! Forum Room.
“2020 was a giant curveball for the entire world. Everyone was affected in one way or another. What about authors? Our panelists will discuss what changes they had to make to their 2020 work-in-progress to accommodate all the weird things that were happening in the real world.” Alyc Helms, Lindsay Ellis, Lisa Nohealani Morton, Naomi Kritzer, Sue, Victor Manibo, Wesley Chu (Moderator)

8 p.m.: Hugo Award Ceremony.
Definitely planning to go to this.

Sunday

I have nothing currently scheduled for Sunday other than being able to sleep in.

Anyway — for anyone coming, please say hi! Also please don’t be worried if I have to squint at your nametag to know who you are — I have always been bad at facial recognition, add masks and it’s just hopeless (but I’m strongly in favor of masks. Just, also nametags.) I am looking forward to the mix of in-person and virtual programming. If you want something signed and can’t make it to my signing or Kaffeeklatsch, feel free to just waylay me after a panel.

I went to Convergence this summer and in some ways, it was a very different con. It was smaller; a lot of stuff had been scaled back or cancelled either because they lacked volunteers to run it or because they couldn’t come up with a good way to make it safe. But it was still so great to see people again. I have missed conventions so much and I’m really grateful that WorldCon is being held.

Trip Report III: Iceland

I actually know a lot of people who’ve been to Iceland and yet not one of them has ever told me how incredibly weird Iceland is. Like, you walk around this island and you’ll think “is that smoke?” and the answer will be “no, it’s steam pouring out of the earth from a vent in some person’s back yard.”

IMG_20190820_202213642_HDR

We stayed in Hveragerði, which is about an hour from the airport and has a whole lot of hot springs, making it possibly even weirder than the rest of Iceland.

Continue reading

Trip Report II: Dublin 2019, An Irish WorldCon

I tend to really resist writing convention reports because if I try to name-check everyone I met, I will inevitably forget someone and then they might swear enmity against me for life and that would make me sad. So I’m just going to say up front that I’m not going to try to name everyone I met.

Continue reading

Trip Report, Part 1: Cork & Killarney

 

I was up for a Hugo Award this year, which provided us with a stupendous excuse to take a family vacation in Ireland and Iceland. (Icelandair is both a budget airline and clearly an arm of the Icelandic Bureau of Tourism since they let you arrange a multi-day stopover in Iceland at no extra cost, and inundate you with on-board advertisements designed to sell you on the idea. HORSES! NORTHERN LIGHTS! SCENERY!)

We went over about a week before the convention started. Ed and I visited Ireland 20 years ago — before we had kids — and Dublin was our least favorite bit, so we wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible. We took a train to Cork, where we discovered that the guest house I’d booked thinking it was walking distance from the train station was not around the corner from the train station but straight up a cliff. (There were stairs! I do not recommend hauling a bunch of suitcases up four flights of stairs, in the rain, while massively jet-lagged and operating on almost no sleep. Just, I mean, if you were considering it.)

The rest of the trip went quite a bit better.

Continue reading

More about China

Ed came with me on this trip, and we scheduled some time both before and after the convention to see stuff. We arrived on Wednesday evening, had Thursday and Friday to see things, the con was Saturday and Sunday, and then we did some more touring on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before flying home on Thursday.

Continue reading

I went to a science fiction convention in Beijing

So remember when I went to China back in December? In April, I got invited to China again, this time to be a Guest of Honor at APSFCon (Another Planet Science Fiction Convention) in Beijing. This was the second APSFCon; there have been almost no SF conventions in China, although there’s an awards event held in Chengdu. The convention culture is incredibly different. I’m going to do a separate post about the awesome tourist stuff we did in China (I brought Ed along) and this post is just going to be about the SF convention.

I’ll note that unlike some of my friends, I have never been to a science fiction convention outside of the US. (I have barely been to any outside the midwest.) But I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what a science fiction convention looks like: you’re in a hotel (or occasionally a convention center), there are panels where people talk and an audience asks questions or offers “more of a comment than a question,” there are a few solo presentations. Fans meet up and hang out. There’s a consuite where you can get food and hang out. There’s a dealer’s room and an art show. All official events happen inside. Depending on the convention, there might or might not be costumes and gaming. Usually there are parties in the evening, frequently run out of hotel rooms but open to all members of the convention. If you’re looking for a writer, check the bar first. (Even if they’re not a drinker, they’re probably in the bar because they went there to find all their friends, who were in the bar. Hardly anyone is actually drinking very much unless there’s an editor there who’s buying.)

APSFCon ran over Saturday and Sunday of last week. Guests from outside of China included me, Allen Steele, Lawrence Schoen, Crystal Huff, Sean Stewart, and Michael Swanwick from the US; Derek Künsken and Kelly Robson from Canada; Samantha Murray from Australia; Kim Bo-young and Kim Juyoung from South Korea; David Sheldon-Hicks from the UK; and Taiyo Fujii from Japan. Most of these people are writers but Sean Stewart is more a VR developer and David Sheldon-Hicks is a visual effects designer for movies.

Invited guests from the China included Liu Cixin (author of The Three-Body Problem), Han Song (who’s similarly famous in China to Liu Cixin, but much less well known in the US because his work hasn’t been translated), one of the stars and one of the directors of The Wandering Earth (Chinese blockbuster SF movie, viewable on Netflix), and most of the writers I met at the Danzhai workshop.

The convention was held at a museum. One of the features of the museum was a detailed model of Beijing (this was only part of it):

Me, standing in front of a lighted model of a city.

Continue reading

My Trip to Asia, Part II: China

The actual trip was at the invitation of Future Affairs Administration, which publishes SF in China (and does a bunch of stuff, actually, but I was most familiar with their publishing because they’ve translated several of my stories into Chinese). It was also sponsored by Wanda Group, which I had not heard of prior to the invitation but which owns, among other things, AMC Theaters. There was a group of both Chinese and non-Chinese science fiction writers; we were taken around the Danzhai Tourist Village and in exchange, we’re each writing a story inspired by the trip.

A group of writers (some Chinese, some white) holding a sign and standing in front of a building with an "Office of the Mayor" sign on it.

I didn’t know who else was coming until I got there. The other western writers were me, Fran Wilde, Carolyn Ives Gilman, and Samantha Murray (who’s Australian). The Chinese writers were Han Song, Zhao Lei, Tang Fei, Liang Ling, and Su Wanwen. The organizers from FAA were Vera Sun and Emily Gu.

Continue reading

My Trip to Asia, Part 1: Taiwan

I flew to Taiwan the day after Thanksgiving. I spent Sunday through Wednesday hanging out in Taipei with my friend Rachel, then flew to Guiyang, China, where I went to the “SF Camp” sponsored by Future Affairs Administration and Wanda Group. I’ve been meaning to do a set of posts to share pictures with friends. Also, part of the deal with the China trip is I need to write a story, and although my story is now in progress, I think it would help to revisit the trip. If other people’s vacation photos bore you to tears, please feel free to skip these posts.

Continue reading