Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Worldcon 2011 Wrapup

Been slammed here since I returned from Worldcon. Reno's in the rearview mirror. Bubonicon looms ahead.

A few thoughts about the 2011 Worldcon:

1. Congrats to the Renovation concom: This was amongst the most dynamic and diverse Worldcon programming schedules I've seen at a Worldcon. So much good stuff. Jim Mann, Laurie Mann, and Ian Stockdale deserve so much credit along with their hard-working programming team. They were a well-oiled machine. Patty Wells was the chair and ran a top-notch Worldcon operation.

2. Huge congrats to Colin Harris, Anne Grey, Patty Wells and all who made Art Night and the art programming a major success. I think there's room to grow and improve upon what they have started, but it's a MAJOR victory on their part to plant a much-improved seed for art to build around at Worldcon. Giant applause for their victory. For the first time ever, the Art Show had a beautiful program book representing all of the artists in the Art Show. If you missed it, you missed a beautiful object that will be a collectible down the road. They put a lot of work into the art effort, and Worldcon is better for it. I think some of the organizers were disappointed that more artists and more audience weren't in attendance to appreciate how good this convention handled its artists and art, but that comes with time. It doesn't happen overnight. Artists have to make hard choices when it comes to conventions because of huge expenses and limited resources. So hopefully Worldcon will continue to earn status as a major art destination. Renovation took a huge positive step in that direction.

3. Whomever was responsible for doing the big banners in the Exhibit Hall -- major applause to you. I'm thinking Patty Wells and Colin Harris were involved once again. Having the Artist Guest of Honor's artwork used in that way rallies the entire convention to feel like Worldcon "owns" that giant space. It raises spirits and shrinks the scale of an otherwise cavernous hall space. It makes art central to the Worldcon conversation, and it celebrates Boris Vallejo (in this case) the way he deserves to be celebrated as Artist GoH. It was a great move. Well done, Renovation.

4. Ditto the airport banners welcoming Worldcon attendees to Worldcon. Nice one.

5. As for myself -- I was everywhere. Because I needed to be. I did 13 official events for Worldcon and many more unlisted obligations. Highlights included the Art of Game of Thrones panel with George R. R. Martin and Martina Pilcerova, and my own slideshow where I talked about my process and recent works. I had to spend the first 30 minutes of that slideshow doing Q&A and thinking fast on my feet because the techs were trying to fix the projector, and yet the audience hung in, asked great questions, and by the end of the hour, I think we all came out ahead. The big applause said it went well after I blitzed through 60 minutes of slideshow in 20 minutes.

6. Artists Alley -- first time for Worldcon to do an Artists Alley in recent memory. I signed a lot of books and calendars. Had good talks with fans. It was a great idea and I hope Worldcon continues to build upon what they started here.

7. Art Show -- Personally, I did very well. A number of works went to good homes, and I won an Art Show Award for Best B/W for my Ned Stark underdrawing.

8. ASFA's Chesley Awards -- Congrats to all of the winners including Boris Vallejo who won a Lifetime Achievement Award. Well-earned, Boris! And congrats to Jon Schindehette who won Best Art Director. I was glad Jon was at Worldcon, and it was a richer experience because of him and all of the great, diverse lineup of artists and art directors who were there this year, including Lou Anders and Irene Gallo.

9. Hugo Awards -- Huge congrats to many of my friends who won on Saturday night. Lou Anders finally broke through and won. His victory was the highlight of my entire con. This man deserved this recognition long before Saturday night. I've told him congrats a million times, but again, huge congrats to him and all of the winners, including my very good friends Mary Robinette Kowal, Christopher J. Garcia, Sheila Williams, and Lev Grossman. Well-earned by all.

10. Shaun Tan -- Have to single out Shaun as he won Best Professional Artist again this year. Well-earned, Shaun. If you haven't experienced his work, your world will be better when you do.

11. 0 for 7 -- What can I say? This was my 7th consecutive Hugo nomination and 7th loss. The strange part is explaining to people that indeed I have never won a Hugo because they get confused and think I already have. One friend hugged me at the Losers Party because she thought I'd just won a Hugo. I had to calmly explain that I hadn't and never have. Very honored to be amongst the nominees as always. This loss was a tough one, no doubt.

For those that have never been nominated for a Hugo -- every year, it's a little harder to be nominated than the previous. Critics and grandstanders do what they do in the blogosphere. Agenda-pushers push their agendas. Competition gets tougher and tougher because talent gets better and better (and hooray for that!). All I, or anyone, can do is get better each year -- and just work. So the best thing from here is to move on and come back with a bigger, better body of work for 2012. Next year, my artwork for the entire 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar will be eligible for awards consideration because it was published this July. We'll see what happens then. In the meantime, it's a long year ahead. I have many opportunities and a lot of decisions to make.

Thanks to John Scalzi, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liza Trombi, Lauren Beukes, Steven Silver, Bob Eggleton and others for smart words.

13. The Brotherhood Without Banners -- thanks to everyone with the BWB that I met in Reno. They welcomed me and my work with open arms at Worldcon. My conversations with them are amongst my favorite memories of this Worldcon. Shoutouts to Stego, Lodey, Lord Mountain Goat, Xray & Mr. X, Chataya, Blackfyre, Katie, Yagathai, Leigh, Andi, Boiled Leather, RaceBannon, KSC, Secret Tarth, Whitefish, Hedgerow, RedWoman, Lacy and too many more to name in one list. I feel like I joined a family at this con. Holler anytime.

14. Lastly -- congrats to George and Parris on their amazing nuptials ceremony which Traci and I were honored to attend. And special shout to John Joseph Adams and Christie Yant on their wedding event as well.

Here are a few phone pics from my 2011 Worldcon.

Time to get back to work here!


Blogger Race said...

It was indeed a great Worldcon. Thanks so much for everything. your panels were really amazing, and it was of course great to see you again.


2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meeting you was such a pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to chat and hang out. (Leigh-author with the fuzzy hat on twitter/Hedgerow)

2:39 PM  
Blogger LacyinTX said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:44 PM  
Blogger LacyinTX said...

The Renovation crew did an excellent job. There were so many great panels to choose from, I hardly knew where to start!

It was wonderful meeting you. Thanks for coming to our parties. I can't wait for Chicago!

Edit: Because I can't type.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Mur Lafferty said...

Honestly bummed that I didn't see you more, but dang you were a busy one! Hoping we can connect at a future con.

And you don't know this, but after the day I'm having, this meant the world to me:

"All I, or anyone, can do is get better each year -- and just work."

It's so good to remember that, sometimes. Thank you.

I'm very sorry for the 0-7 record. I don't know anyone who deserves it more than you, and I'll be voting for you next year as well.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Lou Anders said...

You are the best John.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Lee Harris said...

You've had my vote every year I was eligible to vote. And I'll continue to recommend your work to others. Madness that you're 0 for 7. Let's make it 1 for 8 next year!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Paul Cornell said...

What Lee sId!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Colin Harris said...

Hang in there John - it's surely coming and more than deserved!

7:49 AM  
Blogger Mair said...

WC was just a fabulous time. It was great to see you again. Renovation was so much more than I expected...just a grand time....

John, your panels were great. Am always interested in your points of view.

7:45 PM  

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