This week begins Worldcon, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Starting on Thursday, August 29th and transwarping through Monday, September 2nd, the convention this year is also called LoneStarCon 3, as it is the third time this convention has been held in Texas.
What is a ‘Worldcon’?
Perhaps the better question is, what isn’t Worldcon?
The most prestigious part of Worldcon is the Hugo Award Ceremony. Consider the Hugo Awards as the Academy Awards of the science fiction and fantasy genre. Also called speculative fiction, this genre has some elite writers, both steampunk funky and literary, and each year, the Hugo is awarded to the “best” book of the previous year, voted by the Worldcon members.
Presented annually since 1955, this shiny spaceship award has been presented to some of the world’s most notable authors like Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, and many, many more. To see a complete list of award winning novels and their authors go to The Locus Index to SF Awards.
This year’s Hugo Award Ceremony will be streamed live around the world on Ustream. The awards will be handed out Sunday, September 1, in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Rivercenter hotel in downtown San Antonio, Texas, starting at 8 p.m. Central Time (9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific). Catch the broadcast live via Ustream at www.ustream.tv/hugo-awards.
If the Hugo Award Ceremony is only one evening, why is the entire Worldcon event five days long?
Because there’s tons of cool stuff happening during Worldcon!
Nevermind that this is a world speculative fiction convention, with hundreds of people traveling from around the globe for this one event. And nevermind that some of the best and the brightest writers, editors, agents, and even scientists and space enthusiasts will be there talking on panels about everything from how to write a speculative fiction novel to updating us on NASA, the European Space Agency, SpaceX, the National Space Society (with local branch members as panel speakers), and more.
Besides all that, it’s just plain fun.
Who are the World 2013 guests?
This year’s Guests of Honor are Ellen Datlow, previous editor of Omni Magazine and SCIFICTION and more than fifty anthologies, James Gunn, one of our most influential authors, scholars, and educators in science fiction for 60 years, Norman Spinrad, the author of over 20 novels, and Willie Siros who founded and chaired two of the earliest SF conventions in Texas.
The special guests are people who bring something special to science fiction and science fiction conventioning. Leslie Fish, pioneer of filk music and the winner of eight Pegasus Awards and perhaps the most famous filker in the world, and Texas’ own Joe R. Lansdale, of Bubba Ho-Tep fame, who’s won eight Bram Stoker awards, a British Fantasy Award, and many more.
This year, Darrell K. Sweet, is being honored at Worldcon. Sweet provided some fantastic cover art for science fiction and fantasy works like cover art for Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, Piers Anthony’s Xanth, Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Sweet was nominated for a Hugo in 1983. Sweet died only four months after receiving the news that he would be one of LoneStarCon 3’s Guests of Honor.
What do we do at Worldcon?
Party like it’s 3099.
Programming during the day usually consists of tracks of panels including an academic, art, animation, children’s programming (there’s even day care), comics and graphic novels, costuming (with dances!), literary panels covering writing, publishing, and criticism, media, music (including filk), poetry, science, Steampunk, and more.
The academic track includes a panel on cyborgs and monstrous utopias, space opera, and aliens and ourselves.
The animation track includes anime like The Eightman, A Cat in Paries (Line Vie de Chat), The Real Zombie Hunters of America, Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Trigun 1, and many more.
There are tons of panel talks, demonstrations, films, hands-on clinics, and more.
Did someone say party?
Yes, I did. Every evening there are “room parties” where, on a designated floor of one of the three hotels specified for the convention, where people open their hotel rooms up to party with both nonalcoholic beverages and snacks and some with alcoholic beverages and some even with nitrogen-cooled ice cream. Some room parties are sponsored by individuals and some buy publishers and other sponsors of the event. These parties are held every night of the convention.
And don’t forget the Masquerade.
Fans love to dress up as their favorite character, whether from history, TV, books, film, or just in their imagination and this is the place to dress to impress. One of the prime attractions at Worldcon, as well as local science fiction and fantasy conventions, is the Masquerade.
Some dress just for fun and some really get serious with their costumes. Awards are given for various costume qualities, including but not limited to—historically accurate costuming, workmanship, presentation, outlandish, fun, creative and so on. The awards are divided up into a “fairness division” of Young Fen (under 13), Novices (first time competitors), Journeymen (1 – 3 wins), and Masters or Craftsmen (in the biz, or have three or more world class wins as a journeyman or any world class wins as a master or craftsman). Check out the Masquerade page for more information.
What else is available?
Lots of stuff, more than I can list here, but do look for the Dealer’s Room with books, autographs, jewelry, swords and other weapons (not of mass destruction), DVDs, clothing, and more.
And the exhibits like the Dr. Who 50th Anniversary Special Exhibit, The Texas Lego User Group Special Exhibit, the Star Trek Bridge Special Exhibit, which is a recreation of the original series version of the Star Trek bridge. Members can sit in the captain’s chair and get photos.
Where is Worldcon?
This year’s Wordcon is in beautiful (but hot and humid) San Antonio, Texas, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The hotels supporting the convention are all located on the sinuous and shady River Walk where you can shop, eat, drink, ride a boat, hear concerts, and much more.
San Antonio is a great vacation spot and an even better convention city because of the rich history of the area—did someone say, “Remember The Alamo!”—from the colonial Spanish days with 18th century missions to Brackenridge Park, home of the Japanese Gardens.
And don’t forget the food!
San Antonio is home to some of the best tacos in America, as rated by The Daily Meal on Monday, August 26th with its rankings of the “35 Best Tacos in America,” for places like Henry’s Puffy Tacos & Cantina (#15), Taco Taco Café (#33), and Ray’s Drive Inn (#23)in the top 35.
Ready to get your geek on?
Come join the rest of us nerdaholics later this week in San Antonio at The 71st Annual world Science Fiction Convention, aka Worldcon, starting August 29th.