Oi! It is early on the second day of Worldcon, so I thought I’d post about the first day, as promised.
The first thing I noticed about Worldcon was the scale. It’s big. Very big. I mean, granted, I have little basis for comparison, other than Ad Astra, with was a more local/regional con, but I didn’t realize just how big Worldcon could be. Thus far, however, everything seems well-organized logistically, since signing in was no problem. They were also able to give a quick recommendation of a nearby restaurant (Steak Frites) that was quite pleasant.
We arrived rather late in the afternoon, thus the first panel we managed to take in was one on “When is Genocide Justified?”. (Note: The we refers to me and my girlfriend, who got me this Worldcon membership as a birthday present, because she is awesome.) It had Neil Rest, Richard Foss, Connie Willis, and Nalo Hopkinson (I think—I missed the intros, and thus this is a guess as to who was actually there). It was an interesting and entertaining look at how genocide is used in speculative fiction, in all sorts of different ways.
After that, we hit up the Opening Ceremonies, which was a bilingual introduction of the guests and the con. Well done, and well-produced, with cameras and projection screens for those halfway back in the gigantic “Main Tent” There was also a performance by a contortionist (Sabrina Aganier?) and a welcome message from Dr. Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in space and currently the MP for the site of the Worldcon. He was a good speaker. Neil Gaiman (the English-language Guest of Honour) was charming and funny in his brief opening remarks, and all the other guests were quite good as well. (Oddly enough, David G. Hartwell, the Editor Guest of Honour, may have gotten the most laughs, though.)
After that, we stayed for a conversation between Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman and Hugo-nominee and winner Charlie Stross, on economics and future of SF and society. It was interesting, and the two of them had a good back-and-forth, and Krugman clearly knew his stuff (both economic and SF), so it was clear he wasn’t an example of “stunt casting”.
I have more to say, but too little time, so this post may be added to later. But all in all, a most excellent start to the Worldcon.