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Denvention 3 -- 66th World Science Fiction Convention
Review by sfrevucrew
WSFS  
Date: August 2008

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This year the World Science Fiction Convention was held in Denver, Colorado. Denver the mile-high city, had great weather and was a wonderful venue. The hotels were all within walking distance of the convention center and the 16th Street Mall. The mall is a street that has been blocked off from traffic, allowing pedestrians to freely walk the area. There are shuttle buses that make regular stops and go up and down the length of the mall carry people at no charge. Since there are hundreds of food places along this strip there were plenty of places to turn to when you needed to eat.

We all took the convention's admonitions to drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated, and to take things easy to avoid altitude sickness. Many attendees did find themselves a bit short of breathe, and since walking was the major mode of getting from one place to another, we had to keep in mind that we couldn't just barrel along but needed to stroll.

The convention center was huge. I mean really, really huge. Even though there were several thousand members of the convention attending and there were at least two other conventions in the center it seemed roomy to the point of being nearly devoid of people at time. You'd begin to think that hardly anyone was there until you went to an event or panel. All were well attended and some had standing room only.

This year the panels and talks were, as usual, well attended, interesting, and informative. From my point of view many of the best panels were at the same time and my hardest decision were which of the several panels that I wanted to sit in on would I actually go to.

Of course, our mornings were taken up with the Business Meetings. Held from 10 a.m. until noon, the business meeting are open to all members of the convention. Some of the topics covered in the business meeting this year was the decision on whether or not to eliminate the semi-prozine category from the Hugo Awards. The membership voted to eliminate this category and the second vote will be taken at next year's Worldcon in Montreal, Canada. Also, the membership voted to institute a Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. The confirmation vote will be at Worldcon next year. However, Anticipation (Worldcon in Montreal) will be giving out the first Hugo in this category next year, as every Worldcon is allowed to give out one special Hugo, even if it is not one of the officially sanctioned ones.

We also attended the Masquerade. The costumes, as usual, ran the gamut from the sublime to the silly. Costumes (and presenters) are entered in categories from Novice to Journeyman to Master Class. Also, as usual, some of the Novice and Journeyman entries gave indication that if this is what they do now when they get to Master Class we'd better watch out. We signed up to take pictures of the costumes and presenters.

The Hugo Ceremony was also well attended by the membership and we listed the winners in our news column shortly after the presentations. The ceremony went well, though many of the winners were not in attendance and their awards were accepted by others who read prepared speeches. The economy and hectic schedules took their toll on getting people to the convention this year. However, everyone had a great time and the audience made sure those receiving awards got the applause and celebration that their writing so richly deserved.

This year, we managed to get into the Hugo Losers Party. Each year the convention committee for the coming year hosts a party for all the nominees for Hugos and their guests. We took lots of pictures and managed to actual see a Hugo close up (I managed to actually touch it -- sigh, but with the category that this zine was in now eliminated it's doubtfully I'll ever have one of my own -- not sour grapes, just wishful thinking).

The Art Show and Dealers' Room are also big draws. This year they were both in the same huge room. There was also a seating area and mini-food court at one end so you could visit the Art Show or Dealers' Room, take a break and return for further art or shopping. We enjoyed a stroll through the Art Show noting some outstanding new pieces by artists we admire. Then in the Dealer's Room, we spent more than we thought we would. (You'd think with our access to books through the zine that we'd never buy books. You'd think that but you'd be wrong. Book buying is still a big part of our personal budget each year.)

It seemed far to quickly that the convention came to an end. We loaded up the car and headed for home. These conventions are always a great time to meet people we only see once a year and to greet new fans and new friends.

Next year, it's Anticipation in Montreal, Canada. The 67th World Science Fiction Convention. Hope to see you there.

Last: Reading Speculative Fiction/Science Fiction/Fantasy with a Different Eye / Next: Interview: Joe Abercrombie

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