Saturday, September 7, 2013

WorldCon Post # 3: Community

During Worldcon 2013, I attended my first Hugo Awards ceremony. For those who don't know, the Hugo is probably the biggest award* in the SF&F industry. In a way, it was like attending the Oscars. Many of the nominees arrived in tuxedos. The ladies were spectacular in their gowns. The list of nominated writers read like a current pantheon of SF&F royalty.
Of course, I didn't get to sit up front with the pretty people (one day I will). I sat in the back with the regular joe audience, and the room was packed with us regulars. To get my up-close seat I had to be in line early. Gabe and Paul, my road trip buddies and roomies, bailed on me and decided to watch the live streaming. Unfortunately, the broadcast had difficulties and they missed much of the show. Besides, watching through a laptop cannot compare to being there in person. It was both a learning experience and a magical one. 
The winners presented a consistent theme among the many standard "thank you" and "couldn't-have-done-it-without" acceptance speeches. They spoke of the sense of community that binds all SF&F readers, writers, fans, and industry professionals. Many said they were nerds in high school who had been persecuted for their love of SF&F. Yet, when they discovered the Cons, they found their people. It didn't matter if their primary interest was writing, reading, making music, creating art, or wearing a costume, everyone was accepted as equals.

(Left to right) Tex Thompson, Paul LaMarre, Gabe Guerrero
(costumed as his orc cosplay character, Tarbuz), Alley Hauldren,
Grace Roeber, and me. (Not pictured Gerald Warfield)
That thought made me smile. I'm blessed to be a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. While not everyone at DFW writes SF&F (thank goodness, the competition is already too intense) we share a sense of community that I've never found in any other organization. I'm also blessed that there are several SF&F writers at DFWWW. People whose work I admire. Stories that I enjoy following during each week's read. Folks knowledgeable of SF&F tropes who critique my writing and make it better.

Attending WorldCon with several of my fellow Workshoppers made me appreciate them all the more. The Con and its thousands of attendees were not scary because I already knew people there. We helped each other meet our favorite authors (I ate a bug so Gabe could meet Martha Wells, and Paul encouraged me to say hello to Joe R. Lansdale). We attended panels together; provided support as we spoke to literary agents; and entertained each other during meals. Without the strong writing community I'm a member of, I'm sure I'd never have taken the first steps toward writing a novel (even if my journey has been a long and often confusing one).

Next blog: my WorldCon Writers' Workshop experience.  
*There are many other awards in the SF&F community, and it's debatable if the Nebula is more important than the Hugo. However, I've yet to meet anyone in SF&F who does not consider the Hugo to be the more prestigious award.


  1. Hahaha, I hadn't heard that one, man. That is AWESOME. I mean, everybody talks about being willing to take a bullet for your buddy, but eat a bug for his celebrity moment? That's friendship, there!

    And yes, totally: I went to ConDFW earlier this year, and it was good, but being by myself was a huge bummer. I think it would have been about 800 times more awesome if I'd gone with other people. Even having a couple other folks in your group can really get you the charismo-gravitational pull to bring in tons more. Wish I could join y'all for FenCon - by then, Gabe will have beat out Grumpy Cat as the sleeper hit of 2013!

    1. (And turn off this dang Captcha thing, will you? I know you want protection and all, but it's seriously the goatskin condom of comment moderation techniques.)

  2. To be honest, Gabe ate a bug, too, but only after I grabbed one and did it first.

    You'll be absent at FenCon? Sad to hear that. I'm probably only going for Saturday.

    Sorry about the Captcha thing. I did not know it was there. Hopefully, I've removed it.