They may not quite be Bohemians, but next year 10,000 of some of the most eclectic people I know shall invade Texas. Yes, the World Science Fiction Convention returns to San Antonio after a 15 year hiatus, Thursday 29 August 2013 through Monday 2 September (Labor Day). The 2011 world con (in Reno, Nevada) had over 1500 hours of programming (running concurrently in 30+ venues) for 5000 people; I anticipate about 3000 hours of programming for this one. Unfortunately, I cannot be in 10 places at once.In case you had not guessed, this is a big event. Over a quarter-million square feet of convention space. Approximately 100 convention staff (all volunteers) managing several hundred more volunteers, making this event fun. Two almost-thousand room convention hotels. So what do you do in this small city?
My favorite event is the masquerade: a costume competition by dozens of the best crafters across the world, running about 4 hours Saturday night. I remember one entry in the Phoenix world convention, consisting of a score of folks dressed up as 20 of the Egyptian gods. People spend a year working on their costume, and the results are fabulous.
Many people enjoy the Hugo awards best. Convention members have the right to nominate recent works in over a dozen categories. Like Amanda setting up the Bohemia Awards, the conference organizers then put the Hugo nominees’ work on-line for the members to see. Approximately 40% of the members vote. Then, Sunday night, you can watch the winners be awarded. Go to http://renovationsf.org/ to see the 2011 winners: the categories range from story types to editors to artists to fanzine.
Another favorite of mine is the art show, open during most of the convention. In Reno, there were over 300 items on display, ranging from pieces by good amateurs who wanted to sell their work to masterpieces displayed by proud owners. Perhaps half was available to be bid upon. The other half included the original cover work for Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Over a million dollars of art, in toto.
Most of the programming in 2011 was panels and speeches. The proud owner just mentioned gave an hour presentation on the works she had brought from her home in Alabama, and then offered docent tours of her collection. Boris Vallejo came up from Peru to be one of the guests of honor (he and his wife, Julie, are two of the world’s best fantasy artists). There were two 19thCentury ballroom dances and classes for those who wanted to learn. There was a trio of speakers from NASA talking about space telescopes. An expert in medieval weaponry gave a 2 hour presentation on his subject with lots of demos and a hands-on exhibit: my daughter learned how heavy a pole arm really is. I participated in a 3 hour workshop on the evolution of an alien language. And much much more (over 1500 hours worth).
There is too much for me to tell here. For more information on the upcoming convention go to http://www.texas2013.org/ and click on the entry that reads “Worldcon Greenhorn ?”. Or for information on World Science Fiction Conventions in general, check Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldcon .
But get your 5-day membership quickly (at http://www.texas2013.org/ ). Prices go up, 1 July.
See you there !