Best convention ever? I’m hardly an expert–I’ve only been to a few in the past, and found a couple to be very good, a couple of middling quality, and a couple which made me fervently wish I’d spent my limited time and cash on a nice weekend in Paris or something instead. World Horror Con 2010 is certainly the best I’ve ever attended–credit to the organizers, who put together an awesome event which in turn attracted a fantastic crowd of people. And the red-shirted volunteers were tireless–did you poor people ever rest? I saw the same set over and over and you managed to be everyplace you were needed at the same time.
It would be churlish of me to start naming names of all the wonderful people I met and chatted with and listened to (speaking or reading) over the weekend, because I’d inevitably leave some out, although I think a shout-out to the ‘4-nation alliance,’ a terrific group of people who made the weekend even more special for me, is in order: Sandra, Wendy, Jenni, Helen, Claude, Dom, and Anthea. Y’all, writers and readers of horror (and the partners who love and support them in their endeavors) are an astonishingly convivial bunch. I was also delighted to meet some of the wonderful and influential-for-me writers I alluded to in my last post, although I missed some as well, so I suppose I’ll have to return to the UK for more conventions, darn it all.
Maura McHugh moderated my favorite panel of the weekend, on women in horror–an especially contentious issue of late–and there were some other program highlights for me as well, including the readings I attended, but mostly it was all about the people I met and the talks we had and, yeah, sure, the drinks we consumed, as the best of these events always are. So I don’t have a proper con report. I took about six pictures the entire weekend because I am lame but also because everyone around me had cameras, so those will be turning up somewhere soon. There were book launches and freely flowing wine and two actual days of pretty decent weather and a couple of great meals in local restaurants and truly a international feel to the event to go along with the “world” in its title–I really think both this convention and World Fantasy would benefit not just from being held more often outside the US but off the North American continent altogether. (Plus, I think we are starting to get a nasty reputation for beating, arresting, and/or deporting folks in the speculative fiction scene, insidious types that they are, which can’t bode well for future attendance from outside the walls of fortress America. But I digress.)
I was a walking technological disaster this weekend, by the way: the hard drive on my week-old laptop expired (hence no updates here) on Thursday afternoon, I kept demagnetizing my hotel key card no matter where I put it, and somewhere between entering the security line at Gatwick and landing (but not yet disembarking) on the plane to Atlanta, I lost my cell phone, which, in combination with my flight mysteriously vanishing from the usually-available online updates, caused my loved ones back home to imagine I’d fallen into some sort of bizarre Bermuda Triangle until I actually did turn up back here in Athens around 5 p.m.
Anyway, as nice as it is to be home, it’s always disorienting trying to integrate back into the swing of “normal” life and feels like a bit of a let down, so I’m already thinking ahead to future conventions: Where shall I go next?