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September 2002
© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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David Kyle falls under the sway of SFRevu's Canadian Columnist

WorldCon Report: ConJose by Asta Sinusas

Though I had gone to the Millenial Philcon last year (Confessions of a Con Virgin), Con Photog Lenny Provenzano informed me that  wouldn't be my first official Worldcon until I met David Kyle. A block later we ran into the famous gentleman, resplendent in his traditional red blazer.. As the group of us had decided to hit the room parties, I crossed the street on David's arm, but he didn't let go until all of us had gone into the hotel, up the elevator, and past the gatekeeper at the Hugo Winners/Losers party.

Continued Below:
(Left: Even the Grand Masters aren't immune to Asta's charms, as Dave Kyle shows here.)

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The brunch bunch! Rosemary Kirstein, Ann Zeddies (aka Toni Anzetti), Laurie J. Marks and Pat. We had such a good time talking at the DelRey party, we continued it over breakfast the next morning! Art auction - Is that David Hartwell I see in the front row?


The auction for readassist.org. Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta at the Del Rey party- Star Wars books wouldn’t be the same without them. Derwin Mak with some of his latest works.


Even the parrot knows where to go! For those that can’t read as it was late one con suite night, the T- Shirt says: Actually, I am a rocket wizard. Sean Mariner stopped by our booth, prepared for anything with his wallet out, but we had nothing to sell. Sorry, Sean, but would you be interested in entering our draw for FREE books?

Continued from above:  We started talking and found a number of shared experiences: He had gone to art school at the same building in New York City where I now worked, I had stayed several times in the small town where he lived in New York State. When he recommended that I should experience a few silent films from 'the good old days' I mentioned that I had started going to a local theatre that specialized in early movie revivals. All this was in addition to a common interest in science fiction.

As far as my impressions of Worldcon, I was still frustrated by the fact that all the panels I wanted to go to happened to be at the exact same time. I went to less panels than last year, but managed to make it to my first Masquerade and Hugo Award ceremony. I have to admit a certain frustration with participants who present their costumes with flair, but as soon as the music ends, run off stage completely out of character. Perhaps they are only charged by the music, and when that's gone, so is their alter ego, leaving mere quivering remains that can't get back behind the curtains fast enough. I did think it was nice that Sean Astin showed up to accept the award for the Lord of the Rings win. It made it seem like Hollywood actually cared, or maybe because he was on the West Coast anyway.

This time around I got the impression that the field of SF is doing just fine, thank you very much, but it was at the individual level that differences could be made. Before the "Women in Science" panel I knew that most men in SF and science don't mind working with females and that SF has provided a few really good role models from Heinlein to Wonder Woman. However, the emphasis on mentoring people, which is completely normal in men, seems to be lacking in the female half of the species. I also learned that one should be subversive and encourage girls that had aptitudes for science. In "The Future of SF as a Literary Form" I learned that if a friend likes Michael Chrichton, that perhaps I could recommend a few related books and disabuse them of the notion that 'SF is no good, and if it is, it's not SF."  

I did mostly panels in the publishing and promotion track, which had some good advice for authors. In "Basics of Publishing" that if with a house, you have to trust that they are doing its best to work on your behalf, and that there is a fine line between asking enough questions to know what is going on, and asking too many questions and being a pest. In "Promotion and Publicity" that it is far easier to be published than it is to be promoted, and that as an individual you have to learn there are lengths you shouldn't go to, especially when you're only seeing 60 cents from the sale of each mass market book. It was the "State of SF Publishing" that fascinated me the most, and Tom Doherty was the one holding court. I learned about distribution and how the amalgamation of so many distributors has left the drugstores, which used to be the old way of getting people hooked, without any SF for the uninitiated reader to get attracted to. I also learned that the young reader is receiving more attention and that while most think that they can never compete with the Nintendo experience, that books have something to offer and are not mutually exclusive. In "Why the Press Doesn't See SF the Way We Do" in the midst of a discussion about the few SF media outlets available in the US, Yoshio Kobayashi interrupted and chided the panel for focusing on America, when there were other nations involved in SF. I came to the conclusion it's because no one ever educated the media, and that it's easier, especially in newspapers and TV to go for the image, especially when on deadline. Radio, on the other hand, is the perfect venue, because it's about the words and not about the images. Overall, people seemed to think that SF has become exclusive. Some people prefer it that way, as it makes the genre more intimate and fans can have access to the authors. If SF became mainstream then it would loose its uniqueness, but its ideas about the possibilities and probabilities would reach a greater audience.

-- Asta Sinusas

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