Monday, August 28, 2006

The Jedi at the salad bar

I guess it was Saturday evening, sitting in the Hilton coffee shop. (Is that name still valid or useful with a Starbucks just down the hall? I wonder.) I looked up from my book, and saw a Jedi pushing a tray along the salad bar, peering intently at the choices for his dinner. He costume was perfect, nothing amateurish about it, but at the same time he had on glasses and a yellow plastic tag hanging around his neck.

That's one image I remember now from LACon IV, one of many. The formal close was yesterday afternoon, but I left before that, but I am sure that the parties would be continuing all night without me. I got back here at a reasonable hour, and I'm taking today off to catch up on laundry and sleep. As I get a little more distance from the con, I am feeling better and better about attending -- I was simply too tired some times and had to learn to take more time off.

I'm processing a lot of memories and images:

  • a silver robot carrying two coffees from the Hilton Starbucks to the Convention Center;
  • Anne McCaffrey and Karen Black in a reader's theater presentation of an old L. Ron Hubbard short story;
  • a theremin playing in the background while discussing natural disasters, the collapse of the Internet, and nuclear war at the General Technics party after midnight;
  • kilts, lots of kilts;
  • trying to find a particular room on the fifth floor of the Hilton, and getting lost;
  • being treated to Merlot and conversation by Joe and Gay Haldeman -- kaffeeklatches don't necessarily involve coffee;
  • costumes that ranged from the typical Star Trek recreation to some of the most detailed and beautiful pieces of work I have even seen up close;
  • corsets, lots of corsets -- but generally not in combination with a kilt;
  • watching the fireworks from the end of an Angels game (a bit better than the Disneyland show earlier) from the lanai at the Tor party;
  • electric scooters everywhere -- every session had at least one in the aisle;
  • the glow of cell phone screens in the audience, held up at Masquerade to catch pictures of the costumes;
  • being "recognized" as a Worldcon attendee in my (non-convention) hotel by another attendee before I had a chance to register -- "didn't I meet you last year at Westercon?"
  • Watching Frank Wu bound up to the stage to accept a Hugo for best fan artist -- then worshiping with him at the Mass the next morning;
  • John Scalzi proving how classy he is accepting the Campbell award;
  • and much, much more.
Prior to this, the closest I had ever come to a SF author was their dust jacket pictures. Well, that has definitely changed -- along with those mentioned above, I saw (and in a few cases talked with) Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Cory Doctorow, Harlan Ellison, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Tim Powers (just finishing Last Call), Mike Resnick, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg, Connie Willis, and Robert Charles Wilson. I'm also sure I have left somebody out and I wasn't even trying hard.

I didn't plan on kaffeeklatches and attending Masquerade, but these were some of the best moments at Worldcon. And on Sunday morning, when the designated location proved to be much too noisy, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden guided those of us who had gathered for the kaffeeklatch up to the green room where we stole most of the available chairs for the session. The Hugos could not have gone better for them, and they were simply glowing, proud of the honors paid to their friends and co-workers. Teresa sliced up some dinosaur egg plums for us, and we found out that what looked like a leaf pendant had a better use.

Will I go to another one? I just don't know -- let's see what happens with BayCon next year.

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