Some of you may be aware of my big news out of AussieCon4 (at which I had a lovely time, and about which I will discourse in an upcoming post), but in case you’re not, here it is:
I was offered, and have gleefully accepted, the position of Toastmaster of Chicon 7, the 2012 Worldcon in Chicago. It was announced at AussieCon4 a week ago, when Chicago won the 2012 Worldcon bid. At that time I was given the honor of announcing the other Chicon 7 Guests of Honor, who are: Mike Resnick, Author Guest of Honor; Rowena Morrill, Artist Guest of Honor; Peggy Rae Sapienza, Fan Guest of Honor; Jane Frank, Agent Guest of Honor; and Story Musgrave, our very special Astronaut Guest of Honor. It’s a hell of a lineup.
Being asked to be a Worldcon Toastmaster is a very cool thing. I’m sitting here giggling like a madman just typing out these words. One, it’s mind-boggling to be asked to be a Worldcon guest of honor in any capacity. Two, that it’s unspeakably brilliant that I get to do so for a Worldcon in Chicago, in which I have roots as a graduate of the University of Chicago, and which is one of my favorite places in the world. I often say Chicago is the quintessential American city (New York and Los Angeles being more international cities at this point), and every time I go there it does feel in some way like I’m coming home. So basically, speaking as a science fiction geek, this is the best of all possible worlds.
And you may ask, well, what does a Worldcon Toastmaster do? Well, unlike the other GoH positions, which consist of being fed grapes and chocolates by adoring minions whilst fans and admirers toss rose petals in your path as you are carried in an ornate palanquin to your panels and other events, the Toastmaster actually has to work. I will be taking part in the opening and closing ceremonies and in that year’s Hugo Awards ceremony, and will be also doing all sorts of other tasks during the convention itself (as well as, I’m sure, my own load of programming and the like). And over the next two years I’ll also be promoting and boosting Chicon 7 to others, getting people excited about the convention, and taking part, in whatever capacity the convention committee deems appropriate, in various planning and organizing.
Now, I don’t want to overstate my role, and in any event, I do have other things on my plate, like, oh, being President of SFWA and writing books and such. All the real heavy lifting of the convention will thankfully be done by others. But Chicon 7 head Dave McCarty has (rather all too cheerfully) told me how he plans to work me like a dog over the next couple of years, and I went in to the Toastmaster position assuming that I would be devoting a fair amount of time and energy to the thing. So, yes, I’m all in on this. And let me just say: Oh, man, do I have plans.
And now, what I really want to say about this, and to be sure that I am as unambiguous about this as possible, allow me to put the following in all caps and bold on its own separate line. Ready? Here it is:
YOU ARE SO VERY COMING TO CHICON 7.
You. Yes, you. Oh yes, you so very are. I want to you go over to your calendar right now and block off Labor Day Weekend 2012. Just go and block it off. Because that weekend you’re going to be in Chicago. And no, I don’t want to hear your excuses. You’ve got two full years to prepare, people. More than enough time.
What? Family plans? Then bring the family. They will love Chicago. It is chock full of family stuff.
Kids going to back to school? Bah. Take them to the Art Institute and the Field Museum. If the school won’t give them credit for that sort of unparalleled educational experience, then you should change schools.
Going to be on the run from the law? Dude, this is Chicago.
Hoping to be abducted by aliens that weekend? Come on: science fiction and fantasy convention. Far better chance for abduction than a lonely, cow-filled rural road, I’d say.
Giving birth? Well, aside from your very exact planning skills in planning a birth two years from now, for which you are to be congratulated, I suppose, I personally promise to dedicate a book to any child whose mother goes into labor while physically attending Chicon 7 (Note that you don’t have to actually give birth at the convention, although that would be one hell of a panel, wouldn’t it).
Planning a trip somewhere else for Labor Day? Not in 2012, my friend. In 2012, the tribe descends on Chicago. Chicago, a town of awesomeness. Chicago, city of brats and broad shoulders. Chicago, the place where the atom was first split — under a squash court. Chicago. Baby, you so want to go. The tribe won’t be the tribe without you.
Look, I’m totally serious here. This is my Worldcon, folks, and the appalling orders of fun we’re going to have there are going to be the sort which years from now, people will look back on and kick themselves that they weren’t part of. They will resort to lying about it: “What? Chicon 7? Oh, I was so totally there. No, really. I was in the back, man. Where you couldn’t see me.” Don’t be that guy. Be that guy who was actually in the back, the one that the other poor bastard is pretending to be. The one who he spends his night weeping that he isn’t.
You don’t even have to wait to register: Go to the Chicon site now and click on the “Membership” box and you can get yourself set up just like that. And then you will feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that no matter what happens to you between now and Labor Day Weekend, 2012, when that weekend rolls around, you’re going to be awash in awesome. And having that sort of certainty in your life is so reassuring in these troubled times.
Okay, enough hammering you over the head (for now). Just know that I’m tremendously honored and excited and can’t wait for 2012. And that I hope you’ll be there to share in the fun.