Worldcon is coming up in a month’s time, down in Wellington, New Zealand…
Or at least it would be, if not for the pandemic. Which New Zealand has handled splendidly, for what it’s worth. If only America had done half so well..
In any case, there will still be a CoNZealand, but it is going to be a virtual worldcon. (Which is a damned shame for all those who will miss the chance to visit New Zealand, truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world). And as CoNZealand’s toastmaster, I am going to be there… virtually… taking part from my fortress of solitude in the mountains and my theatre (now shuttered) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The toastmaster wears many hats at worldcon, but probably the single biggest part of the gig is hosting the Hugo Awards ceremony. I am going to be doing that with a combination of live streaming and pre-recorded videos, which we will (I hope I pray) edit seamlessly together. This week I have started recording some of those videos. It has been fun, if a little surreal, to be reading off the names of this year’s Hugo finalists when voting has not actually started yet. And trying to be amusing (one hopes) while talking into a camera without the feedback of laughter (or moans, boos, or soul-chilling silence) from an actual audience is challenging as well. But so it goes.
SFWA did a great job with the virtual Nebulas. (Hats off to Mary Robinette Kowal and her team). We want to make the virtual Hugos just as much fun. An evening of joy and celebration in these dark days of plague, riot, and police brutality. We all need a little laughter. I know I do.
The Kiwis are doing all they can to make Virtual CoNZealand a success. I applaud them for their efforts, and hope it all comes out splendidly. That being said, I also hope we never have to do it again. Over the last half-century, worldcon has become an enormously important part of my life, I have come to realize. I see people online — younger writers, most often — describing worldcon as a “professional conference,” and yeah, maybe, a little bit, for them… but not for me. There are professional aspects to conventions, sure, networking and promotion and all that, but for me worldcon has always been a celebration, a party, a holiday, Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween all rolled up in one. Most of all it is a family reunion, a place where I get to laugh and drink and share meals with old friends, meet new friends, and catch up with so many of the people I love, people I do not get to see anywhere else. So let’s work hard on that vaccine, all you docs out there; I will be at CoNZealand in spirit, but I want to be at DC in the flesh.
((And before anyone starts to panic, “oh my god he is making videos in place of writing,” OF COURSE I am still working on WINDS OF WINTER as well. That really should go without saying, yet somehow I need to say it, or someone might make stupid assumptions. I am also doing some editorial work on three new Wild Cards books, reading scripts and making notes on a couple of exciting Hollywood projects, texting with agents, editors, and friends about this and that, eating several meals a day, watching television, reading books, and from time to time using the toilet. Just because I do not mention it in every Not A Blog does not mean it is not happening)).
Current Mood: busy