If you haven’t ever gone to a WorldCon before, you need to find a way to attend next year in Kansas City. Ignore any politics or negativity. Go as a lover of science fiction and fantasy, enjoy it as a fan, experience it as a lifetime learner and a catalyst for future world change. Science fiction is future, and has always influenced society to move forward.
As an avid reader and a newly published author, I had an absolute blast. It was so much fun meeting all the authors that I’ve read and looked up to over the years. There is nothing more stimulating than hearing the stories of how those authors were once inspiring writers hoping to someday be like the authors they too looked up to.
The authors at #sasquan were very approachable and willing to answer questions and indulge my fangirl excitement. I spent more than what I budgeted on books, but it was worth it to meet so many wonderful people. Besides, books are always welcome in my house!
The panel discussions were fascinating and yet another way to get to know the authors. There were so many choices, often at the same times, it was hard to choose what to do each day. I literally had something scheduled every hour from nine to five every single day.
Lunch was snacks on the run, or nachos from the concession stand. We did have a sit down dinner once when we went with a friend to the Steam Plant, which has fabulous food and excellent service. The building itself inside was a gorgeous structure of wood and glass and multiple levels. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Spokane.
As an introvert I was quite nervous to attend a convention with so many strangers. Going with my friend and fellow writer Cathy helped ease my anxieties and to just enjoy every moment. I tried to not worry or stress and take each moment as it came. This allowed me to meet so many wonderful people that touched my life in ways that will stay with me forever. I tend to stay in my safety zone in my home community. I go to the same places, talk to the same people. Its my comfort zone to ease my anxieties. But at WorldCon I was surrounded by so many different people, and it was fun! My anxieties melted away as I enjoyed learning about other cultures and societies.
L.E. Modesitt was one of those people that touched my heart. I first met Mr. Modesitt at the shuttle stop at the Davenport hotel. We ended up meeting there almost every morning to catch the shuttle to the convention center. We talked all the way through the long registration line, and ran into each other often during the conference. His smiling face and quiet and caring nature spoke happiness into each of my days. I love it when talented authors like Mr. Modesitt are genuinely wonderful people as well.
Zaza Koshkadze was another author that captured my heart. Traveling to the United States for the first time from the country of Georgia, Zaza came not only as a poet and author, but as a shining example to his country of what kind of change and success one person can accomplish. He was inspiring and enjoyable as a panel speaker, which having English as is his second language made it even more incredible! In between panels and parties I got to learn a little bit more about his country and his writing. I look forward to remaining lifelong friends and writing peers with Zaza, as he is a very talented writer and genuine person. I hope the WorldCon committee will decide to bring him back to the states in 2016 for the Kansas City WorldCon.
The Hugos were also an incredible experience for me. I sat right behind Larry Niven, whose Ringworld novels have been my favorite series since childhood. I was excited, but not surprised when Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer, and Cixin Liu with translator Ken Liu won the Hugo for Best Novel for The Three Body Problem. It was amazing talking to both Wesley Chu and Ken Liu during the conference, and then watch them win these prestigious awards.
I was very blessed to be a part of this amazing conference, and I hope to one day attend as an author Participant. Thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this huge opportunity available. I will cherish all the memories that were made and look forward to making many more.