Wednesday, August 30, 2006

2006 Anaheim Worldcon -- Odds and Ends 

My editor here at Views from Medina Road -- that would be myself, reading my own posts the next morning -- has raised a few issues that need follow-up response.

Did Russell Letson and wife Cezarija Abartis ever show up? No. I'd thought, the last time I saw Russell (when was that?) that he'd reminisced about Anaheim a decade ago and expressed his plans to be there this year. Apparently he changed his mind, or my memory is mistaken. On the other hand, Locus senior editor Tim Pratt and his wife Heather Shaw arrived over the weekend, having held the fort at Locus HQ in Oakland during the preceding work week. I saw them in passing two or three times, though alas they did not attend the Hugo ceremony, when CNB brought all the attending magazine staff and reviewers up on to stage with him. Tim's online journal has more.

What was Michael's reaction? Michael, my partner's smart, good-looking 15-year-old son, exposed to the hardcore world of SF fandom for the first time Friday night after dinner and Saturday during the Hugo ceremony. Well, he was amused by the antics of the Hugo presenters and recipients, as far as I could tell during the event (I only saw him text-messaging his friends a couple times). He'd never heard of the books or stories or fans, but knew the film and TV nominees; and Connie and Harlan and Robert and others commanded his attention. According to my partner, his reaction later to wandering through the room parties was.... well, this is why I didn't mention it before... amazement at how many fat, nerdy people there seemed to be there. And how I didn't seem to fit that pattern. Which indicates how little he knows me, perhaps...

What was my reaction to Harlan's infamous grope? I didn't see it. We were sitting in the 6th row but way over on the left side, glancing back and forth between the direct live view of the stage and the screen projection above us, and somehow I didn't actually see Harlan groping Connie. I did see him mouth the mic. It was gross and embarrassing for Harlan, but I've long ago stopped taking Harlan seriously, and my impression was that Connie did her best to handle the situation.

On another note, I should mention that the buzz about next year's Worldcon in Japan is that the professionals, especially the US publishers and editors, sound disinclined to go. For expense reasons. The buzz is that the hardcore fans will go, to maintain their clannish annual connection, but that the US pro and semipro community will likely choose the '07 World Fantasy Con, scheduled for upstate New York, to hold their annual convocation.

Myself, I haven't decided. I've attended every Worldcon since New Orleans in '88, and next year's event sounds like a good excuse to go to Japan, a place I've never been. But I haven't decided.
I've never been to Japan either, and as the Locus Worldcon reporter I think I ought to attend. It would be good to have some support.

I quite understand the reluctance of the pros regarding expense, but the Japanese are trying hard to arrange cheap packages. Check their web site, or ask me.

As for the hard-core fans, if they just wanted a get-together they could go to something like Boskone or Westercon. Those who are going are mostly doing so out of a duty to attend Worldcon no matter where it is held, to help our Japanese friends out, and because they've never been to Japan either.
I smiled at the remark
"amazement at how many fat, nerdy people there seemed to be there."

If it's any comfort, Americans in general have gotten fatter (and are getting fatter still). The usual explanation "McDonald's is to blame!" won't suffice.

Could it be a "mind-body split" trend?
Computer technology stimulates the eyes, ears and brain, but the rest of the body is neglected as a consequence...

And yet... is it really that hard to both be into SF and take care of one's physical health?

It may help to see the issue not in terms of aesthetics ("Slim is attractive"), but rather as part of a rationalist/Enlightenment worldview (i.e. "a sound mind in a sound body").

My goal is to become fit and nerdy... once I've shedded 15 pounds!
Hmmm, Cheryl. Here's a different perspective...

I find nothing about cheap packages yet and very vague info otherwise at the Nippon site. We are told you fly into Narita Airport (which many may not realize is "Tokyo"), told we will then travel to Yokohoma on a train or bus (something that may not appeal to all us elderly, fat, nerdy people) with all prices in yen only, linked only to Kinetsu International's Web site for "Air Transportation" where you cannot check air fares any further ahead than Janury 2007 (and it tends to time out no matter what you enter) or the Nippon Travel Agency (identical to NTA except for contact info) told only to go to the Hilton site and select "Japan" for hotel information. But, according to the Pacifico Yokohama site, there are no Hilton accomodations there...

For world travellers such as yourself, none of this may be daunting, but for most us poor ignorant Yanks it is more terrifying than informative.

I imagine that most folks need to plan well ahead to consider going and some general information as to average roundtrip costs, hotel costs, etc. might be nice.

Further, I don't go to these events as a fan, so the fact that it will not be attracting the pros and semi-pros means that this trip may not be allowable as a business expense. If one's work is not translated currently into Japanese then one cannot be "promoting" and if there is no one there to do business with, then it is not "business"...

I wasn't planning on going anyway, but my perspective might be similar to some of those who are considering going?
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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