WorldCon Schedule

UPDATED to include the reading and literary beer.

I’ll be attending MidAmericon II August 18-21, and here’s my schedule:

Reading: Mur Lafferty
Wednesday 4:00pm-4:30pm, 2202 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center) Am I slightly worried about having a reading at 4pm on Wednesday? Yes. Yes I am.
Mur Lafferty

Literary Beer : Mur Lafferty, Helen Pennington
Wednesday 7:00pm, Literary Beer Space (Kansas City Convention Center)
Mur Lafferty, Dr Helen Pennington

The Care and Feeding of Minions
Thursday 2:00pm 2503B (Kansas City Convention Center)
A panel of aspiring Evil Overlords need Minions to carry out their evil biddings.  But now that minions have heard of collective bargaining and have seen what non evil overlords offer their workers, it isn’t as easy as it once was.
Ms. Lynn Gold, Mur Lafferty, David D. Levine, Julia Mandala

Ditch Diggers Podcast LIVE
Thursday 7:00pm
(Not sure what the program will say about it, or where it is yet, but dang, y’all, another DD live. I can’t wait.)
Mur Lafferty, Matt Wallace

Wrun With Writers
Friday 09:00 Marriott Lobby (Kansas City Marriott Downtown)
Strolling with the Stars has been a Worldcon fixture, but what about those who want something a little more pulse-pounding? Something a little more sweaty? Something that will help shake off those morning doldrums and jump-start the day with a three-mile run? Mur Lafferty and Adam Rakunas would like you to bring your running shoes on Friday morning at 9am for a casual, no-drop fun run around the area. All participants get bragging rights and exclusive ribbons!
Adam Rakunas, Mur Lafferty

The Fine Art of Satire
Friday 1:00pm 2502A (Kansas City Convention Center)
How do you avoid stepping over the line into farce or polemics?
Eileen Gunn, John Kessel, Mur Lafferty, Milt Stevens, Esther Friesner (M)

Social Media, or, Why I Haven’t Finished My Novel
Saturday 1:00pm 2502B – A/V (Kansas City Convention Center)
Social media is addictive. So much so it can impact upon the work of authors. Our panelists discuss the importance of limiting themselves, differentiating between Social Media interactions for personal and professional reasons, and maybe even inspiration gleaned from Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat and the myriad sites available.
Melissa F. Olson (M), Jack Campbell Jr., J.R. Johansson, John Scalzi, Mur Lafferty

Literary Agents: Friend to Authors
Saturday 4:00pm  3501B (Kansas City Convention Center)
Literary agents do a lot more than “simply” negotiate deals for authors.  They can act as mediators, guide careers, and offer support when it is most needed.  Agents explain what they do and how they add value to a writer’s career.
Joshua Bilmes (M), Mur Lafferty, Eleanor Wood, Lauren Roy, Stephen Saffel

Star Wars, Storium, Travel, and More!

Here is where being an infrequent blogger is a bad thing. I have many, many things to talk about “all of a sudden” – all of a sudden wouldn’t come around if I blogged more often. Oops.

Star-Wars-Rogue-OneSTAR WARS, BABY!
I can finally talk about it, as it was announced over July 15th weekend at Star Wars Celebration: I’m writing a short story in the Star Wars universe for the magazine Star Wars Insider! It’s only a short story, but it’ll be canon. It will come out this December, and tie into the Rogue One movie. And that’s all I can say.

But damn. Star Wars. Mind. Blown.

HEAVEN STORIUM IS LIVE
I adapted my Afterlife world to Storium, and now you can playt hrough Heaven with the Storium platform! I was honored to be part of the Storium Kickstarter, and I’m so excited that my world is live at last!

UPCOMING TRAVEL
August is a super-busy month. In a week I leave for GenCon, my first time to the huge gaming convention where I will participate in the Writer’s Symposium (and be part of two live podcasts and a live Storium event). Then comes WorldCon in Kansas City, where Matt and I will be doing a live Ditch Diggers Event on Thursday night. I’ll get the schedules up closer to each event, but if you’re in town for either event, let me know!

MORE
The release of Six Wakes has moved to January 31, 2017. I’m sorry to have to report it, but I know this will allow production and marketing to work even more magic than they were doing before, and I hope the launch will be awesome. I’ll keep you updated regarding any launch events.

And yesterday I turned 43.

Hullo, 43.

Hullo, Mur.

You know, your sibling, 42, wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. I don’t know if Douglas Adams lied, or 42 lied, or what, but damn. The world is on fire!

Things aren’t all good in the world, no. But you have to admit, things went your way more than most peoples’ this year. You’re fitter. You’ve got a fucking Star Wars story coming out. Things may not be coming up roses and daffodils, but at least maybe pansies and dandelions?

Dandelions are a weed, 43. Ask anyone who does lawn work.

You’re pedantic when you’re cranky.

I’m not cranky. Babies are cranky. I’m just looking at the state of the world and publishing and my own career and my daughter’s future and it’s scary.

You clean your own house, Lafferty, that’s all you’re responsible for. You write your stories and raise your kid and vote and tell your representatives you won’t stand for their shit. You do what you can.

Yeah. You’re right.

Fuck, does every year have to tell you to grow a goddamn spine and start finally adulting?

Yep. Pretty much.

Fine. Then I’ll clean my own mess, too.

You do that.

You’re part of that mess, you know. Your shitty ego and lack of confidence. I’mma clean it right the fuck up.

I know that, 43.

Good.

Good.

Last WorldCon Post – Wrun With Writers

I haven’t said enough about Wrun with Writers. Adam Rakunas and I were chatting about going for a run at WorldCon and we thought it might be fun to get others involved. Suddenly it was a 5k run (run, not a race) with ribbons as the reward. I’ve been training.

Sign up here (just so’s we know who’s coming!)

Other WorldCon news, I’m liveblogging the Hugos again (yeah, that should be interesting), my Kaffeklatch is full (cue astonishment), and I’m arriving tomorrow midday. Ack. Too much to do. In case you missed it, my schedule is here.

WorldCon Schedule

I fell down the stairs this morning. I’m fine, but I’m shaken up. So no writing this morning while I get myself back together. (Then, I realized this afternoon, I forgot to post it.)

Today’s Music: Unsupervised, I Hit My Head, Mono Puff

But hey! I can blog about WorldCon. I hope some folks are getting there early, because according to Mur, THURSDAY IS THE HAPPNIN’ DAY AT SASQUAN, BABY.

Thursday
Autographing
10:00 – 10:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)
Mur Lafferty, Elizabeth Leggett

Autographing, Thursday morning? OK… I’m going to have to give out prizes to anyone who manages to make that one. I hear there’s a cupcake bakery nearby.

Ditch Diggers Podcast Recording
12:00 – 12:45, Conference Theater 110 (CC)
Mur Lafferty, Matt Wallace

HELL YEAH. Although…. noon? I guess I can bring a flask. And we don’t have a panel description, which could hurt us.

Space Casey (2007) – PG-13
17:55 – 20:50, 203 (CC)
Casey just wants to con her way out of a backwater port, but finds herself in more trouble than she could ever have imagined when she learns just whose spaceship she’s stolen. Luckily, a con artist might be exactly what the galaxy needs! The only work ever to win both the Parsec and Gold Mark Time Awards.
Mur Lafferty will be introducing this audio presentation.

I LOVE SPACE CASEY. Christiana Ellis deserves a great deal more attention for this work. It’s so fun. And apparently we’re starting at 5:55pm. Be there on time.

Match Game
20:00 – 22:00, 300B (CC)
Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this SF/F-themed game show based on the popular 1970s game show, audience members will be randomly selected as contestants to match wits with our panel. The object of the game is to guess how the panel answers fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet.” Winners receive prizes such as gift certificates from Worldcon dealers, book packages, or convention memberships. All contestants receive Lovely Parting Gifts™.
Kevin Standlee (M), Scott Edelman, Tom Galloway, Leigh Ann Hildebrand, Mur Lafferty, Kevin Roche, Amy Thomson, Mary Crowell

I am sad Paul Cornell isn’t involved with this. I guess I associate him with WorldCon game shows. But this should be fun.

Then, BARCON, baby. That’s a full fucking day.

Friday
Certainly Not For the Money: Why We Write Short Fiction
11:00 – 11:45, Bays 111C (CC)
Why do we put ourselves through the angst of writing short fiction? It certainly isn’t the money. Why else would we do it?Mur Lafferty, Sarah Pinsker, Stefan Rudnicki, Rick Wilber, Mark J. Ferrari

Hm. No one is listed as moderator. I’m first, and it’s not alphabetical. I better prepare just in case.

Writing For Video Games
15:00 – 15:45, Bays 111C (CC)
How does experience in writing SF novels translate to writing scripts and backstory for video games? What are the new skills that authors hoping to work on video game stories need to learn?
William Dietz (M), Brian Campbell, Jason Hough, Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi

This will be an interesting panel.

Saturday
Podcasts for Young Adults
10:00 – 10:45, 303A (CC)
Adults love podcasts and podcasting, but what about teens? Is there a market for YA podcasts and where can kids find cool new content? What topics, guests and issues should podcasts for younger listeners address? What about kids who want to create their own podcasts? Your in luck! Our panelists will also share tips for teens who want to create their own podcasts.
Mur Lafferty (M), John Joseph Adams, Kate Baker, Jason Snell, Dan Wells

Hell yeah. I’m all over this one.

Kaffee Klatche – Mur Lafferty
13:00 – 13:45, 202A-KK2 (CC)
Join a panelist and up to 9 other fans for a small discussion. Coffee and snacks available for sale on the 2nd floor.

I know that, unlike February in Boston, most of the people won’t be driven home by a blizzard, but I have flashbacks to my completely empty kaffeklatch at Boskone. I’ll be prepared. Might bring giveaways to this one, too.

Sunday
Reading – Mur Lafferty
12:00 – 12:30, 303B (CC)

I’ll probably be reading from Six Wakes, since that’s the book I just sold, and stuff. Or I’ll read from a SEEKRIT project. Or maybe both…

Hope to see you there!

My LonCon Schedule

(You may note the regretable absence of a live reading- I had one, but it was scheduled for Monday, and we’re leaving on Monday, so I had to turn that one down and it was too late to get a new slot. Sad face.)

THURSDAY
Literary Beer
15:00 – 16:00, The Bar (ExCeL)

[Comments- My first literary beer! I’m so excited!]

FRIDAY
Autographing 3 – Mur Lafferty
16:30 – 18:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

Escape Pod podcast recording
19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)
Mur Lafferty (M), Alasdair Stuart (M)

[Comments- They wanted a live Escape Pod, so Al Stuart is going to perform the intro and outtro, and I’ll be narrating a story.]

SATURDAY
Setting Up Your Comic Book Press: New and Old Models Examined
15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

A discussion on how setting up a comic book press, or web comic, has never been easier – except for all drawbacks. An examination of the various ways to fund, create, and distribute comics books in the 21st century: including Patreon, Kickstarter, ComiXology, web comics, and good old-fashioned print comics.

Kaja Foglio (M), Mur Lafferty, CE Murphy, Debbie Lynn Smith, Ian Sharman

So You Want To Be a Podcaster
16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 8+11 (ExCeL)

Everything you need to know about podcasting in one panel! What sort of microphone do you need? Which editing software is best? How should you plan and structure your show? How do you develop an audience? What are the differences between reading and podcasting fiction and non-fiction? Come, listen, learn — and then create.

Alasdair Stuart (M), Gabrielle de Cuir, Mur Lafferty, Emma Newman, Miquel Codony Bodas

[Comments- Now I have “Do You Want to Build A Snowman” going through my head.]

SUNDAY
Making Old Tropes New: Vampires
11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)

The vampire has been defined and redefined a thousand times over the centuries. Today’s vampires range from the sexy and sparkling to the dessicated and gothic. Does the evolution of the vampire speak to its enduring attraction? Why is it a continually recycled myth? How have you used the vampire in a new and interesting way, and why did you make that choice?

Alys Sterling (M), Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Mur Lafferty, Marianna Leikomaa, Kim Newman

So grim. Much serious. Wow.
15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)

Science fiction and fantasy have a long history of both comic writing and essentially light-hearted adventures. However, more and more it seems authors want to take themselves seriously, focusing more on the darker elements of story telling. Is genre too po-faced outside the work of certain specifically ‘comedy’ writers? Why do so many writers steer clear of trying to be funny?

Ellen Klages (M), Tanya Huff, Mur Lafferty, Darren Nash, Connie Willis, Simon R Green

[Comments- Dear 30-year-old Mur: whatever it is, don’t worry. You’ll be on a humor panel with Connie Willis someday. O_O]

So, Worldcon. That was cool. A bit.

I got back from WorldCon last night and spent today processing and napping.

In case you hadn’t heard, I won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of 2012. I mean, HOLY CRAPBASKETS. I’m still stunned. As Pat Cadigan keeps saying about her Hugo, “I keep waiting to wake up.”

lake_campbell

Jay Lake, me, and Jay’s daughter – Photo © 2013 James J. Seals, all rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

The very cool thing you’re not seeing here is we were in front of a wall of photographers, and Jay’s daughter was directing the whole thing. “OK, let’s focus left…” (wait for photos) “Now center…” (wait for photos) “Now right.” She was IN CONTROL. It was awesome. She is such an amazing young woman and Jay should be very proud.

But I’ll get to more Hugo/Campbell details in a moment.

I stopped doing con writeups years ago, as I would always worry I would forget something. I’m going to give some highlights, but if I forget someone, I’m truly sorry.

On Wednesday, I drank with Chuck Wendig because drinking in the afternoon is either sad or awesome, depending on where, why, and with whom you do it. And I figured a hotel, being at a con, and CHUCK was good enough. Later that night we got Adam Christopher and his oh so cool wife Sandra and my friends John Cmar and Laura Burns and treked down the very warm street to a pub where we ate under the scary severed head of a buffalo and I drank a tasty Hemingway cocktail.

Thursday the con started in full force, and I got to be part of Just A Minute, an English game show that Paul Cornell brings to cons. You must talk for a minute on a topic, without repetition, hesitation, or deviation. If someone catches you in this, they can challenge. It gets silly and cutthroat at times. I was in the competition with Connie Willis, Emma Newman, and Gary K. Wolfe. It was amazingly stressful and fun, and it was awesome to sit beside my idol, Connie.

I had a great autographing – there was a line of like four people at one point! That’s great for me! – and before that got to have lunch with my mentor and friend, Jim Kelly. Later that night, I was in the weird position of all of my friends were scattered, and I was wondering what to do with myself, and SFWA President Steven Gould and his wife, writer Laura Mixon, my old Viable Paradise instructors, invited me to dinner. It was great to catch up with them. I fear I didn’t call Steve “El Presidente” enough, though.

Jim got in that night. Yay husband!

Saturday night my editor, Devi, took me and Jim out to dinner, and then we hit the Drinks with Authors party late. It turned out that we missed a lot of the party, but the plus side was that the overcrowded bar group had thinned and we had a nice time. I discovered that ALL of the Campbell nominees were there, and we quickly gathered and bonded. Stina Leicht and I already knew each other from last year’s Campbell nomination, and Chuck and I knew each other from before, but I hadn’t met Max Gladstone and his awesome wife Steph yet. So we bonded and formed Team Tiara.

The other nominees are awesome people. The next day, Max, Steph, and I went shopping for tiaras to form Team Tiara for real, and we found some nice ones at the mall. We brought them to the Campbell panel, which included Ben Bova, the creator of the Campbell Award. Ben wore his tiara with good humor. (We got him an understated one, you can barely see it in the weird lighting below.)

Team Tiara! Max Gladstone, Stina Leicht, me, Chuck Wendig, and Ben Bova - Photo by Karen Bovenmeyer

Team Tiara! Max Gladstone, Stina Leicht, me, Chuck Wendig, and Ben Bova – Photo by Karen Bovenmeyer

It’s hard to compare the two years of Campbell nominations without making one sound better than the other, but the experience was better this time around. And I know that is stupid-tasting, because duh, I won, but it goes beyond that. Last year, Karen Lord didn’t make the con, E. Lily Yu (the much-deserving winner) arrived late to the convention, and I never actually met Brad Torgersen. (NOTE- I am NOT putting any of them down for this, I’m just saying this was how circumstances worked out.) This left Stina and me, and we bonded, but it felt more like a friendship (this is NOT bad, obviously, but I’m speaking of bonding as a group of new writers who have the crazy honor of being told they have amazing potential). This year, we missed Zen Cho, but everyone else were there, and we all got along great. We hung out at the before party, all sat together during the ceremonies, and exchanged much hugs after. These are amazing writers, each one, and I know Max will be on the ballot again next year.

The downsides of the con were the kaffeklatch and my reading. The kaffeklatch had only four people (one of them a friend, John Shade, a writer at Stonecoast) and was somewhat awkward. I’ve had better kaffeklatches as an unpublished writer. Weird. Then my reading, which was a clusterfuck of non-euclidian design. I thought I knew where room was, and I was wrong. No one could give me satisfactory directions, and it turned out the signing rooms were in a separate building that had about 80% of the outside doors locked. (I of course didn’t try the 20% that were open) The fans were very, very kind that they only got 15 minutes of reading, and haphazard and stressed reading at that. Mortified.

So, the Hugo awards! I was terrified I wouldn’t have enough time, as the Campbell panel was at 5 and the reception started at 6. I ran back to the room, got showered and started getting my girl on. I managed not to mess up my hair, and the only makeup problem was learning that liquid eyeliner is proof that Satan exists and he hates women. Once I got it out of my eye and threw the rest of the shit away, things were smooth sailing.

When I won, I was stunned and shaking (video, about 5 min in), and I can’t decide if being caught in a bear hug by Chris Garcia helped or hurt my composure. 😀 (I’m kidding, Chris hugs are one of the best things about WorldCon.) When I got on stage, a beaming Lake child (Jay calls her The Child) held the tiara, put it on my head, and hugged me and told me it looked wonderful. I had never met her before but she was so welcoming and she looked so thrilled to give it to me I nearly teared up right there. During my speech, I managed to a) remind people that we were all winners simply by the fact that through our nominations, we’re all entered into SF history, and nothing ever changes that, b) swear on stage, by quoting Grand Master Connie Willis’s advice not to say “OH SHIT” when you lose, and c) remember to thank my family, mentors, the fans, and my listeners. Sadly, I forgot to thank my editors, namely Jeff VanderMeer, who gave me my first pro sale, and Devi Pillai, my editor at Orbit, who was texting me furiously after the ceremonies to come to the bar and get my champagne.

I meant what I said, that Zen, Stina, Max, and Chuck will be forces to watch in the next several decades. I can’t wait to see what else TEAM TIARA comes up with.

I was quite happy with the Hugo awards, including the podcast Writing Excuses for Best Related Work, never-won-a-Hugo-in-decades-of-writing Pat Cadigan for novella, and John Scalzi’s Redshirts for novel. I was super super proud of my friends Patrick Hester (ISBW producer, winning with the staff of SF Signal for fanzine) and Kate Baker (Clarkesworld podcaster, winning semi-pro zine) winning Hugos. I was so happy to see John Scalzi win for Redshirts, for two reasons: 1) the book moved me in many ways- it was a funny romp for the first part, and then the three codas moved me and made me think a lot. and 2) Funny books winning the Hugo is a Good Sign (TM) for my career. The full list of winners is here.

The awards were covered by the New York Times, shockingly enough, and they mentioned me. Whoa.

At the photos after, John Scalzi whacked me in the face with his Hugo, but it was an accident and didn’t leave a mark. Got a good story, anyway. Those things are heavy.

Devi bought a lot more champagne for me than was needed, I think they were on their third bottle when I finally got to the bar. I didn’t drink that much (I know, SHOCKING) but I think i was on an adrenaline high most of the night.

The night was magical, and so so wonderful. Orbit bought a ton of champagne. I hung out with my Stonecoast friends. I was congratulated by the likes of Gail Carriger, Carrie Vaughn, Harry Turtledove, John Scalzi, and Patrick Neilsen Hayden (among many others.) And my sweetie was by my side the whole time, taking pics, giving hugs, and just in general being the best husband in the world.

Since then I’ve gotten tweets, FB messages, and emails that have made me cry with the sentiments involved. This is an overwhelming and amazing time. Paolo Bacigalupi told me that I have to take a few days to enjoy this before delving back into the pits if self loathing. I will do my best.

More pictures!

 

 

WorldCon Schedule

It’s one of my favorite times of the year again: WorldCon time! I’m heading out to San Antonio next Wednesday and am leaving on Monday. I’m posting my schedule below. It’s pretty light this year,  but if you don’t catch me on a panel, be assured you can likely find me at the bar most nights. I may also set up an ISBW meetup – also, Magic Spreadsheet creator Tony Pisculli will be there, so anyone who wants to meet the mind behind the spreadsheet, he’ll be around!

I have no kaffeklatch, so if you’re interested in an ISBW meetup, let me know.

  • Just A Minute: Thursday 21:00-22:00
    Paul Cornell (M); Mur Lafferty; Emma Newman; Connie Willis and Gary K. Wolfe
    Paul Cornell brings his live game show back to WorldCon!
  • Autographing: Laura Frankos, James Patrick Kelly, Mur Lafferty, Michael Damian Thomsa: Friday 14:00 – 15:00
  • Reading: Mur Lafferty: Sunday 15:30 – 16:00
  • Click to embiggen

    Click to embiggen

    Drinks with Authors: Saturday 19:00-Late
    Not an official WorldCon event, but a party at a nearby bar with a LOT of authors. I have a dinner planned, so I won’t be there when it starts, but we’ll be dropping by after dinner once everyone is properly liquored up.
  • 40 Years of Campbell Awards: Sunday 17:00 – 18:00
    The Campbell Awards celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. Stina Leicht (M) , Ben Bova , Mur Lafferty , Chuck Wendig , Max Gladstone
  • Hugo Awards Ceremony: Sunday 20:00
    Aside from being nominated for the Campbell (yay!) I’m also liveblogging the awards at CoverItLive! More information about that when I have it.

Your Role at WorldCon – Bigger Than You Think

tl;dr: Know what you’re paying for when it comes to your WorldCon membership. Scroll to the bullet points. Read the links at the bottom.


WorldCon is two and a half weeks away. I love this con as it contains some of the best networking opportunities I’ve ever experienced, the panels are great, it’s usually smaller and less crazy than other cons (*cough*Dragon*cough*), has the Hugo Award (and Campbell Award, Not A Hugo (TM)) ceremony, and since it moves around yearly, it lets me experience new cities in the world as long as I have the fundage. (more on the “world” thing in a bit.)

WorldCon is expensive. Currently, an attending membership is $240, but it’s cheaper if you buy early. Most cons I attend will comp someone’s badge if they’re going to be on panels, but WorldCon only comps its Guests of Honor. We all pay to go to WorldCon. But many of us do not know what that money gets us. For example, I attended the business meeting for the first time last year – only because friends encouraged me to come help get a YA Hugo on the ballot. After we failed, I talked to other con attendees about my disappointment, and nearly every person – all members of the WSFS – showed confusion about this mysterious meeting that they knew nothing about. A meeting that they had every right to be part of.

Who can blame them? If we hear “business meeting” we’re thinking it involves the Important People Involved With The Con Business. Like the volunteers and the con chair and the treasurer. Not us attendees who are desperately trying to kill a hangover so we can look good for the Hugo Awards, or trying to get up the nerve to meet Elizabeth Bear.

When I found out others were as blind as I had been to all of the benefits of WorldCon membership, I figured I’d write something about it. So, here are convenient bullet points:

What You Can Expect From The WorldCon Membership

  1. You are an official member of the World Science Fiction Society. Cool, huh?
  2. You get to vote for the Hugos. (And the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which is Not A Hugo). For this year, Hugo voting is already over, but it bears mentioning.
  3. You have the right to vote for a future WorldCon location. London is set for 2014, but 2015 bidders are Orlando, Spokane, and Helsinki. Voting costs extra ($40), BUT the money is considered an automatic Supporting membership to that convention, no matter where it is. For example, if you vote for Helsinki, but Orlando gets it, then you have already put $40 toward your Orlando 2015 Attending Membership, or you’ve outright purchased your Supporting Membership. So consider a site bid your down payment for the 2015 WorldCon.
    ** This year is the first time I’ve gotten involved with site selection; I voted for Helsinki because every time WorldCon leaves North America, we yank it back for a few years. That seems unfair, because it is called WorldCon, right? In order, we’ve had Yokohama, Denver, Montreal, Melbourne, Reno, Chicago, San Antonio, London. Aside from being too North America-friendly, this also has a wider effect in that when North America votes on The Important Current SFF (The Hugos), it continues the the USA/Western focus of the genre, which is limiting in the short run and damaging in the long run. If it’s far away and you can’t afford to attend? Sad, but you can still have a Supporting Membership. (Supporting and Attending Membership distinctions and benefits here.)
  4. You can attend and vote in the WorldCon business meeting. This is the biggie. They talk about very important things involving the WorldCon in the future, Hugo categories, site selection, and more. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s called a business meeting for a reason, and if you thought a business meeting with a bunch of SF geeks would be more interesting than your standard business meeting, you’d be wrong. But hell, I’m willing to grow up for a few hours during the WorldCon, because this stuff is important, and my vote matters. On the agenda (so far) this year, we have motions to both add a new Hugo category and kill a few existing categories. There’s also a “don’t let poor people vote” motion up, but I am not sure they’re calling it that. I tend to believe that most people in my generation are eager to see the existing establishment embrace the new storytelling pioneers, and they’re not going to unless we push them. Attend the meeting. Push.
    ** I vetted this post to a friend who asked me to underline two things: that the meetings are indeed incredibly dull, and they are INCREDIBLY important. Read Seanan McGuire’s post about it. Careers can be made or broken with decisions made to create or destroy a Hugo category, and as Cheryl Morgan said, the “No Cheap Votes” motion will keep fans with lower incomes – including many fans who come from poorer countries – from having a say.
    *** I want to quote Scalzi regarding the killing of the fan Hugos here:

    For those asking “yes, but what can I do?” Well, if you’re attending LoneStarCon 3 this year, go to the WSFS Business Meeting (you can!) and vote it down (you can do that, too!). The dates and times of the business meeting will be available in the program when you get there. I believe the first is on Friday at 10am, but these things are fungible, so double check when you arrive. I am not personally arriving until late Friday, so if anyone who is going to that meeting wants to use this piece to bolster their argument if necessary, go right ahead. I also understand at the Friday meeting it can be punted out of further discussion, which would be nice.

    (And yes, I understand that from a certain point of view I’m just trying to use the Internet to logroll you all into voting the way I want. I am the worst person ever.)

    **** And quoting Seanan McGuire:

    Please, if you are attending this year’s Worldcon in San Antonio, Texas, join me and others at the WSFS Business Meeting to help us vote these measures down. The first will be Friday morning at 10am.

    We have the power to keep this from happening. It’s not the power of Grayskull, but I still think it’s pretty damn neat.

    Let’s keep these awards for everybody.

  5. Your involvement with next year’s WorldCon. Possibly the most clever thing in the WSFS membership is the benefit to keep you interested in WorldCon, even if you can’t make it next time. If you have a Supporting or Attending membership in last year’s, this year’s, or next year’s WorldCon, you can nominate for the current Hugo and Campbell Awards. (Example, people who nominated for this year’s Hugos included Supporters/Attendees of ChiCon ’12, LoneStarCon ’13, and LonCon ’14.) So even if you’re not going to London next year, you can still have your opinion on the ballot if you Support/Attend LoneStarCon. And as I said, voting on the site selection automatically gives you a Supporting Membership, no matter where it ends up.

Cons are fun. You can drink with and meet famous authors and editors, and play dress-up and see the SFF Oscars. But a WorldCon membership allows you, whether writer, fan, editor, volunteer, agent, or con planner, to help shape the current and future landscape of WorldCon and the Hugo awards, and, in a ripple effect, SFF as a whole.

Heavy stuff. Hope to see you in San Antonio! And I REALLY hope to see you at the business meeting. We’ll sit together. Put stuff on Twitter. Let’s make our voices heard.

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