My Slightly Longer Worldcon Recap

Krissy and John Picacio at the Hugo Loser’s Party

Now that I am comfortably ensconced in the hotel for Bubonicon 50 and will not be required to drive or appear anywhere else for a few days, it’s time for my Worldcon 76 recap. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

* It was good! I enjoyed myself tremendously over the course of the convention, thanks to friends and to the fact that downtown San Jose was surprisingly (to me, anyway) walkable and full of good restaurants and bars. There was always something to do and great people to be met. I was never bored and I never felt like I wanted to be anywhere else, which means that this convention was a success on a personal level.

* In terms of my own programming and events, my own highlight, not surprisingly, was the 80s dance that Worldcon 76 graciously allowed me to DJ on Thursday night, after the Retro Hugos. As it happened, the Retro Hugos theme included several dance interludes with music from the 50s, 60s and 70s, so the people who attended the Retros were both already in the mood for dancing and primed to segue into the 80s. The dance was well attended and there were people on the dance floor from the first song to the last, two and a half hours later. So if you went to the dance, thank you for making it a success, and if you didn’t, well. You missed out.

For my other programming items, the first was the actual Retro Hugos ceremony, where I played a character in the futuristic skit that accompanied the awarding of the trophies. I hammed it up and that seemed to work out fine. I also had a reading with fellow Hugo Best Novel finalists Mur Lafferty and Ann Leckie, where we all read from upcoming works. I thought that also went well, although we were in a room that was roughly three sizes too small — too many people who wanted to see us weren’t able to, and that is my only real complaint for the convention. Next up, I moderated a panel on Near Future Fiction with Annalee Newitz, Sarah Pinsker, Linda Nagata and Stanley Chen; where they were all very smart about what it takes to write fiction set not too far from the present. I also moderated a panel called “Author vs Fan Ownership,” with Renay WIlliams, Foz Meadows, Eric Kaplan and Greg Hullander, which was (heh) quite spirited and also included me calling out Cory Doctorow for making a comment rather than a question from the audience (this was funnier than it sounds, and Cory and I giggled about it later).

* There were meant to be protests at the Worldcon, and there were, of a sort, but they were mostly a bust. The alt-right fascist dumbasses who came to protest were corralled into one corner of the square in front of the convention center, where they were obscured from the street view by a bloodmobile. No one seemed to notice them much. The antifa protesters who came were corralled into a separate corner, and no one seemed to notice them much either. The police mostly stood around and got paid to do that. At 4pm, they apparently all went home. Certainly there was no disruption of the convention itself. In one of the least surprising twists of all time, one of the instigators of the protest was nowhere to be seen at the protest; he instead popped into the convention center a day before and walked around aimlessly until he was caught and punted out, again, to absolutely no consequence to the convention itself. So much for that nonsense.

* The Hugos were delightful, both because I approved of nearly all of the winners and also because emcee John Picacio’s philosophy of the Hugo ceremony was, basically, “Let’s get people their rockets and then go party.” Which is a philosophy I wholeheartedly embrace. The ceremony was done in two hours flat, which may be a record and is impressive considering there were new awards given out. As noted earlier, I did not win the Hugo category in which I was nominated, but I didn’t expect to and was thrilled with who did, so it was all good. And I came in second, which was a pleasant surprise. I’ll take it. I note the usual whiners complained about who won (the fiction categories were all won by women), but, you know. Fuck those pissy little manbabies right in the ear. All the works that won were eminently deserving of their awards, and all the pissy little manbaby whining doesn’t change that simple fact. I was going to write more on this topic, but on further thought, “fuck those pissy little manbabies right in the ear” is really all they deserve. Others complained about NK Jemisin’s acceptance speech, but personally, I thought it was great, A+++, would watch again. And at the end of it all, the Hugo Loser’s party was epic fun, and everyone went away happy.

So, to wrap up: Worldcon 76: A really nice Worldcon. I’m glad I went. And now I’m looking forward to the Worldcon in Dublin, quite a lot.

34 Comments on “My Slightly Longer Worldcon Recap”

  1. Fuck Those Pissy Little Manbabies Right in the Ear is the name of my next band. Which will never get hired because the name is too long and has a bad word in it.

  2. Ha ha ha aha aha hha aha ha ahaa aha aha haaaha ahaa ahavahmmm!
    (Deep inhale)
    Hahaha aha aha. Hahaha ahavav Ha ha hahaha hjhaaaa ahhaaa aahha ahaaah Haaaaaa….

    I cannot believe the pathetic little shitheads that are today’s nazis and fascists. Half a century ago, nazis nearly took over the world. Today, they cant take over a convention center…. thats just embarrassing…

  3. Well, fucking an ear doesn’t sound like much fun for either of the parties involved… but I’m a geezer so maybe it’s just me.

    Glad to hear things went well.

  4. Since I was 12, I’ve dreamed of winning a Hugo the way drama club kids might dream of winning an Oscar; but, now that I think of it, the Hugo Losers party might be even better!

  5. Welcome to Albuquerque, Mr. Scalzi! I hope you find your stay enjoyable and I look forward to hearing “fuck those pissy little manbabies right in the ear” in person (not sure how you would work that into any of the panels you attend but, we’ll see).

  6. I know I said roughly the same thing on your post regarding N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo win, but… I’m just so happy it sounds like you had a wonderful and wonderfully rewarding Worldcon. I’m glad it was fun for you on a personal level, I’m glad it sounds like the attendees had a great time, and I’m glad you lost the Hugo to someone so eminently deserving and friendly. It just sounds successful on almost every level, and that makes me happy for everyone involved.

  7. Nora’s speech was AMAZING as well as her cape. Seriously anyone who had problems with either can go suck a bag of rocks.

  8. So refreshing to hear about a good time had by all. Yay!
    About Jemisin’s speech…..well we needed someone to cut through the turds now that Ursula LeGuin is gone along ahead too far to reach. Some may not like what she says, but they bloody cannot ignore her.

  9. I saw you twice on my one day quick trip, but one time you were talking to Krissy, and the other time I was talking to a friend, so I didn’t get the chance to say hi. I didn’t get the chance to smack you with my backpack either, so I suppose it’s all good. :)

  10. Missed having you sign my book at dinner, at Signing, AND at The Poisoned Pen! How embarrassing. I’ll simply have to plan better in the future.

    Also, I think if Nora’s speech caused a little bit of discomfort, that’s all to the good. Some uncomfortable things need more immediate attention. I thought she was terrific.

    It was my best WorldCon ever! (Heh.)

  11. I’ve seen it said that PLM is a nice counter-acronym to SJW. It is…tempting.

  12. I enjoyed WorldCon76 immensely. The programme was great, and the Hugo ceremony was exceptional – John Picacio’s energy & humor kept the whole thing ticking over nicely, and Nora’s acceptance speech was epic. The only downers for me were the rooms being *way* too small for the numbers attending, especially for the readings, and the queue management for the main events, which was comically bad.

    I missed the novel reading session (grumble, room sizes, grumble), but enjoyed the “Near Future Fiction” and “Author vs Fan Ownership” panels; your moderation skills are awesome to behold! (“Your question needs to be in the form of a question”).

    Looking forward to Dublin already – bought my membership today.

  13. From what I read elsewhere, the instigator who couldn’t make the protest was taking care of a sick child. While I condemn him for the rest of his actions, I think that he made the right choice, for once, on Saturday afternoon.

  14. I’ve realized that one of the reasons I love your posts about politics or SJW issues or Jemisin winning the Hugo is that you are always so damn cheerful and forward looking about things. I really appreciate that. Current events tend to make me really nervous and scared and your attitude about them always cheers me up. So thank you for that. Congratulations on a wonderful Worldcon and I’m looking forward to the next book.

  15. I don’t follow his tweets, but I read that his son has cystic fibrosis, and the according to the first few articles on Google, ocean air is a lot better for his son than the smoky air of the bay area. Of course, that doesn’t justify him being an jerk and then trying to wreck everyone else’s good time because he was preempted from being a jerk at the con.

  16. Any chance you’d be willing to post your DJ gig’s setlist? Couldn’t make it to the dance Thursday night, but was one of the lucky few crammed in your reading. Hope to see you at Borderlands in October.

  17. Bruce A:
    I certainly agree it was a better use of his time to tend to his child than to be an ambulatory piece of shit at the convention. I also strongly suspect that even if the air at the convention center had been a pristine azure, he’d have found an excuse not to be there. Be that as it may, he wasn’t there, and that’s the end of it.

  18. FWIW, I heard from the person in question because he’d texted me to say he’d be, um, infiltrating? attending despite not being particularly welcome? the Friday File770 dinner I’d organised at one of my favourite San Jose haunts. When I saw his mention on Twitter of his son’s respiratory distress and his intent to take the young man out of town, I figured the decent, compassionate thing to do was text him back, hoping his son does better with cleaner air, and suggesting the Monterey Peninsula on the basis of past experience with Northern California weather patterns during the fire season (and did so). He thanked me, and said he’d considered that area but the Lake Tahoe basin had a cleaner air forecast. Which is perfectly plausible. So, in all likelihood, that photo was somewhere out on the lake.

    Although his other conduct in relation to Worldcon 76 was IMO morally bereft, disreputable, and also hypocritical, I certainly have compassion for a father caring for his child, and wish them both well. Nothing wrong with him spending an afternoon on Lake Tahoe in that context.

    I’m not in the habit of throwing away people, even when I don’t like what they do (but I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions, mind).

  19. I’m glad you enjoyed the San José Worldcon (abbrev. SJW). I remember when downtown was left to rot because everyone could work in shiny new office parks and shop at the mall. Now it’s a treasure, everyone wants to be there, and the variety of excellent restaurants and bars is mind-boggling. Plus there’s lots of live theater and some good galleries.

  20. Thanks for the update! I enjoyed the Worldcon too, mostly in the dealer’s room (so. many. books.) but especially the Hugo Awards. Congratulations on the 80’s Dance Party!

    I think pillow-sized burritos are an intriguing innovation in the field of snackable sleep accessories.

    I hear you can rent castles in Ireland. I’m not saying pre-Worldcon Shadow War of the Night Dragons The Dead Can Dance Party, but I’m maybe saying Tor and often have a lot of Hugo nominees because their editors have excellent taste in stories.

  21. I’m thinking I might try to do WorldCon 2021. I’ve never been to one, but these posts are getting me interested, and if it’s in DC, that could be doable for me. Do you think you’ll still be doing dance parties in three years?

  22. Given the expense to which the convention and the city of San Jose went to to provide security and police presence during the epic fizzle that was the Big Protest on Saturday, I have been delighting myself with the fantasy of the Primary Instigator being delivered bills for same. Unlikely in the extreme, but still pleasing.

  23. So, are the winners allowed at the losers’ party? Or, do they have their own frankfurter beach party?

  24. Yeah, the panel situation at WorldCon was weird. Especially since there are 3 perfectly good panel rooms to use in the Marriott, one in the Hilton and a bunch of them at the Fairmont a block up. The rooms WorldCon used for the panels FanimeCon uses for Video rooms and kareoke every year.

    But otherwise for a first time WorldCon it was really interesting to go to, and far less crowded/noisy than I’m used to. ^^ I just wish I managed to get a closer hotel room and could have gone to more panels they were all such interesting topics.

  25. Protest/counter-protest: Yeah, when I was walking by the front window of the convention center I saw several cops standing guard near the bloodbank van and thought that’s what they were there for. It was ironic that those creeps from the alt-right were not far on the other side of that van. Other than that, I missed any chaos since I was inside the convention center most of the day. I really enjoyed your panel on near future fiction. It provided some good advice about how to stay ahead of present day science and technology in creating science fiction which can be very challenging since technology seems to advance significantly everyday more than ever, for better or for worse. Thanks for moderating the panel.

  26. @darkdreamyr

    Especially since there are 3 perfectly good panel rooms to use in the Marriott, one in the Hilton and a bunch of them at the Fairmont a block up.

    Yes, and we used the Marriott function rooms for our 24-hour spaces, including music, gaming, our print/newsletter/publications office and the hospitality seating. Remember we had to vacate the convention center every night; gamers and filkers want to run all night.
    The Hilton offered us no function space, and the Fairmont had otherwise booked theirs. We did ask.

  27. I agree about the Hugo ceremony. It was fast and efficient without feeling rushed (I hate having it feel rushed, which has happened on occasion). NK Jemisin’s speech was inspiring, and considering the crap she’s had to wade through to get there, its more caustic qualities were entirely appropriate. And – as others have pointed out – her imagery was less “vulgar” than that in the jokes used by one Robert SIlverberg to introduce the same category in the Hugos two years ago.

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