Sasquan: Not a Convention Report

Well, this report has been some time in the writing. Jetlag kicked my ass and it’s stayed kicked for a week and counting.

The other week, I was at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, in Spokane, Washington.

My long-time reader may remember how in 2013, I worked on the Helsinki in 2015 bid that ultimately lost the site selection vote at LoneStarCon 3 (and if the previous sentence contains unfamiliar concepts to you such as “bid” and “site selection”, I recommend you go back and read the LoneStarCon report for the explanations). Well, this was it, and we were back.

This is not going to be much of a convention report, since I did not actually see much convention. The Helsinki 2017 bid owned me for the duration, so my time in the convention centre was spent behind and around our bid table, telling passersby about Helsinki, Finnish science fiction literature and fandom, and other stuff that was asked of me.

I think the strangest question I fielded was about the genes of Eero Mäntyranta.

My time at the parties was mostly spent cleaning up and tending bar, except for a short while on Friday night after dinner, before the news about site selection results broke. I was on my way to the Dublin in 2019 bid party, when I was waylaid by a member of the DC in 2017 bid committee, who started pumping my hand and offered his congratulations and condolences.

It’s like they say. Losing a Worldcon bid is horrible. Winning it is terrifying.

For my part, I am happy that this vote stood in stark contrast to the other one at this year’s Worldcon. The competition between the bids was friendly, clean, fair, and fun. My condolences to the other bid committees – I’ve been there. I know how it feels.

And now, they say, the hard work begins. I’ve travelled abroad three times for this thing already and I’m only middle management at best. I think it’s been pretty hard already. At least I get to keep to my own time zone for most of this.

I managed to witness precisely two program items: the Hugo Award Ceremony and the first twenty minutes of Saturday’s business meeting, where the site selection results, already public since the previous night, were officially ratified.

I was at the ceremony as the plus one of Hanna Hakkarainen, who was the designated acceptor should our friend Ninni Aalto win Best Fan Artist. This came complete with access to a slightly awkward pre-ceremony cocktail reception and a somewhat awkward Hugo Nominees’ Reception where I was talked at by a remarkably grumpy gentleman who had just lost a Campbell.

Oh, and the Hugo Losers’ Party. Which was awesome. George has the details.

The actual ceremony was excellent. It could have been as awkward as the events that bookended it, but it managed to be warm, positive, and funny. Though there were all kinds of glitches, David Gerrold and Tananarive Due kept the show going on and at no point did it lag. Likewise, Robert Silverberg and Connie Willis are fixtures of these ceremonies for a very good reason. There was song, there was dance, there was a Dalek, a man announced his presidential candidacy, a woman thanked the patriarchy, entertainment was had, and some rockets were actually given out.

Don’t take my word for it, watch the recording! The actual ceremony kicks off at around 1:06 in the second video.

For the record, I disagree with some of the results, mostly in that the Editor categories got nuked. However, I believe we have now seen exactly what voting slates are good for, so could we please dispense with them in the future?

The business meeting is also online. It is much less exciting, though watching Kevin Standlee do his thing is pleasant in the way that watching the work of someone utterly competent often is. Also, some of the debate-heavy parts, such as Sunday, cause my will to live ebb.

Next year, MidAmeriCon II. In 2017, Worldcon 75. See you there.

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