Today I head down to San Antonio and LoneStarCon 3, this year’s Worldcon. Coincidentally, this weekend also marks exactly the 10 year anniversary of me attending my very first science fiction convention: Torcon 3, up in Toronto. Before then, with the exception of a one-day Creation Star Trek convention that I covered as a reporter (and at which I stayed only a couple of hours), I had never been to a convention, or knew anything about science fiction fandom in any real sense. So cannonballing into fandom’s deep end, as it were, was a genuinely interesting experience.
Those of you who are curious of my thought on my very first convention at the time can get a report here (this is one of the nice things about having such a long-running blog: all this stuff is documented). Looking back across the expanse of ten years, I have become very fond of my time at Torcon 3. It’s where I first met so many of the people who I now call friends and are important parts of my life; not just writers but also booksellers, artists and fans.
Ten years ago, when I stepped foot into the convention space in Toronto, with the exception of my editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, whom I had met only once, I knew literally no one in science fiction, I had published only a single science fiction story (this one), and my novel Old Man’s War, which I had sold to Tor, wouldn’t be published for another fifteen months. I was, literally, no one. Even so, people were kind and treated me as if I was already part of the family. They made me feel welcome into the community, and made me want to be part of it.
Ten years later, I am, and happy to be so, and happy to be going back to see and spend time with my friends. While I’m there I’m sure there will be some people at LoneStarCon 3 who are like I was ten years ago: New, unknown and unsure of where they fit in. I hope they feel as welcome as I did; I hope to be one of those who makes them feel welcome.