I just registered. I’ve been to a lot of conferences – physics conferences, geology conferences, natural sciences conferences, student conferences, human rights conferences, medical conferences, and pharmaceutical conferences (amongst others). But this is my first SFF conference and I can honestly say I’ve never been quite as excited to go to any conference as I am to attend chicon8!

So I expect there will be some similarities – most science conferences have a fair amount of business networking, collaboration building, and late hours casual socializing – and I expect that too will be at chicon. As a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, those aspects have never been my strong suit, but as an aspiring author I am actually pretty excited even about the prospect of that. Most of my writer friends do not write SFF so connecting with another aspiring SFF author would be a big win in my mind. But the most fun bit of those other types of conferences is usually hearing about all the cool science other people are doing, or innovative programs, or just their approach to problems that you face. And for chicon8 I am hoping to hear exactly that from published authors, some literary agents, editors from publishing houses, and to get more insight into the world of publishing. As a huge SFF fan I’m also hoping just to have a good time nerding out on all the work, and being among like minded people!

And the truth is, that last aspect – the fun – has already started. For anyone that isn’t aware, as part of Worldcon you become a ‘voting member’ for the Hugos, and as such they give you a ‘Hugo Packet’. This is a veritable treasure trove. In my opinion, it alone covers the price of admission. Not every nominee submits, and some only submit excerpts of their work, but most of it is complete. Just for a start there are PDFs of five full length novels nominated for the Astounding award plus six for the best novel prize. That’s eleven novels with those two prizes alone. Not just any novels – some of this years best, and honestly, many of which are ones I would have bought anyway. As it’s my first Worldcon registration is $145 so to have registration plus all that included is an astounding (no pun intended) deal. You also get a lot of other amazing/inspiring stuff – four graphic novels the artwork for which are mouthwatering, plus the works that are up for best short story, copies of fanzines and semi-prozines, novellas, novelettes, best professional SFF artist’s work, and work by fans including both writing and art. Having been immersing myself in it for some time now I’ve concluded the collection is both inspiring and humbling. Anyway, voting closes in just 3 days. I won’t vote in any sections I can’t see everyone’s work, or in which I don’t have time to read all the entries, but I probably will in things like the short stories and the artwork, and I’m hoping to finish all of the Best Novel entries. So if you’re headed to chicon8, hit me up, I would love to chat to you, but I have to sign off for now – I’ve got a deadline and a lot of reading to do!

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