I have a lot of not-super-nerdy friends who find the idea of cons absolutely fascinating. Before I started going to cons with the podcast, I had no idea what to expect.. I’ll be the first to admit they're weird—even crazy—but they're also fun, and I think anyone with a bit of nerd in their heart can find something to enjoy at a con. For those of you who have never been, but would like to know what World Con was like, here’s a quick look!
Kansas City isn’t a city. It’s City’s little sister, Small Town, after Small Town stole City’s party clothes for a night. Seriously, does anyone even live there? I went on a run at 7:30 a.m. and over the course of 45 minutes and 3.5 miles*, I saw approximately ten homeless people and five men and women in business clothes. So…fifteen people live in Kansas City, from my best guess.
You Forget to Eat
At a giant nerdfest like WorldCon, there are a zillion things to do at all hours of the day. This means you spend so much time running to the next cool thing that you may forget basic things like drinking water and eating lunch…or dinner. This leads to hanger. Hangry people don't have as much fun.
A Typical Day is Atypical
I have some friends who went to WorldCon just for the networking**. I know there were a lot of people who stayed in the dealer’s room most of the time, and some split their time between panels and sitting in their favorite chair in the hallway. Everyone goes for a different reason, and while some of those reasons make no sense to me, I’m glad everyone can find their own way to enjoy themselves.
My typical day involved a slow morning of coffee and breakfast, a quick change from pajamas to a dress, and a speed walk to the convention center. We snagged an apartment on 17th and Broadway, and the entrance to the con was up on 13th. It wasn’t a bad walk! I generally went to back-to-back panels from noon until 6, then edited my work-in-progress for four-ish hours. It was glorious. I filled half a notebook with notes about worldbuilding, nuclear fusion, gravitational waves, and making up languages, AND I finished going through three beta readers’ notes for my entire manuscript.
You Will Get Crop Dusted
…and it will be nasty.
Here Be Cool People
On our first morning, Emer, Giles, Emmy, and I strolled through the dealer’s room and happened to walk right past George R. R. Martin. We didn’t stop him, but we did freeze and stare (like the classy people we are). We spotted fellow podcasters, favorite writers, astronauts, and well-known intellectuals. At BarCon (when con attendees converge on a local hotel bar to chitchat), we hung out with old and new friends. Everyone you talk to has something interesting to say.
Even if you don’t care about learning or networking, WorldCon has fantastic people watching. The dealer’s room is full of art and books for sale. You can meet your favorite authors, attend book club conversations, or just stake out a spot and read or write all day. I loved finally going to a con I wasn’t working—while it’s nice to have an on-site table as home base, it was even nicer to be able to leave whenever I needed to recharge.
What’s your favorite part of going to nerdy conventions?
Michelle's loves include physics, Bastille, and alliteration. She's absolutely brilliant on Twitter (@redactionaire), but you shouldn't believe everything she tells you...OR SHOULD YOU?
*Holy canoli. I just now clocked that. I only meant to do 3 miles.
**Five days of networking sounds like hell to me. My introvertedness won’t support five days of talking myself up to strangers. I think it might actually be psychologically impossible.