WORLDCON76 – San Jose

It’s not easy to write about things like the WORLDCON. You meet a lot of people, muck around book rooms, bars, parties and panels. This being my second Worldcon I even see people I saw last year and stop to have a short conversation before moving on.

This time it’s been a bit easier though I feel my shyness gets the best of me a lot of the time. But last year my hotel was all the way across the city from the convention center. This year I’m right beside the center and so I can head back, collect myself and then go out again without too much hassle. This helps my anti-social self a little, though it does no wonders.

The book room here is amazing. It’s not just the books but the wonderful art and jewelry that people put up for sale. I could easily spend most of the four day duration there. At least I would if it wasn’t so damned cold. It’s 31°C outside, but inside it’s so cold that you need pants and a long sleeved shirt.

People here are incredibly friendly though. Californians, or at least people at this convention and they are from all over I guess, are amazingly friendly. I love the way people compliment each other in the elevator all the time, wether it’s on shoes, hair, dress or perhaps on one of the extravagant outfits you can see at this convention – and they are spectacular. I especially love the cyberpunky old fashion dresses.

The convention center is good too. It’s big, the rooms are easy to find and though the panels aren’t elevated (not all of them at least) I have been grateful that I haven’t experienced a single line like we had last year in Helsinki, where you sometimes opted out of going to panels because the line was to just too long and there were limited amount of people allowed in there.

There is, however, the case of the floor downstairs. It has been trying to kill me ever since I got here. I’ve started to go out of my way to avoid walking the downstairs floors if I possibly can. To get to the shop where I buy some of my sustenance I therefore round the building rather than having to walk there, or if the second floor is open I walk through that – because that has a carpet instead of the floors that seem to catch my shoes every now and then and make me trip over. The first day here I stumbled so often that I started to laugh at it myself. It was just beyond silly. I even stumbled, several times, while thinking “I will not stumble this time!” I haven’t actually fallen flat on my face yet, but I feel if I’d braved those floors more that would only be a matter of time.

It’s been inspiring to go to the panels. And it’s been very inspiring to meet people here that think the same way I do. To meet all these people that talk about books, people who don’t mind talking about books, people who even LIKE talking about books – it feels like coming home meeting these people and I’ve also been lucky enough to get to shake hands with some very interesting writers, many of which I admire very much.

I’ve learned that keeping my name tag on is a good thing. People can look at it when you tell them your name and you don’t have to explain too much. I’ve also met a few people who’ve struck up a conversation because they recognize my name as Icelandic – and I love it when people strike up a conversation with me- I may be a bit socially awkward, or shy as you might want to call it, but I do love talking to people – no matter how hard it can be.

Tomorrow is the last day of the con and I move from here to the lovely town of Santa Cruz that I only drove through shortly before. It’s my last real stop on this trip, but I intend to use those days fully to explore and take in the atmosphere this place has to offer.

It’s been great to attend WORLDCON76 – I’m really happy that I did and it feels a bit sad that it’s coming to an end already. I guess we might have to all meet up in DUBLIN 2019, huh?

Fittingly enough the artwork in my hotel room all has typewriters depicted. It’s a good room, extravagantly on the 17th floor and the room-alarm-clock-cube is possibly haunted but it gave me a short story yesterday so I have forgiveness in my heart for the damned thing waking me up repeatedly, untimely. The story came to me so fiercely that I opted out of going to some panels so I could sit down and write, because these things sometimes have a limited lifespan and you have to catch it while it’s in there (in the brain) rattling around. And I do owe THE CHESTNUT a good story.

It is now written (an awful first draft anyway) at the cost of some great panels I’m sure. But I have no regrets. I’ve met some GREAT people here and I have a bunch of photos with books I need to look up and a list of writers I need to check out.

People here are generous, gracious and go out of their way to make others a bit happier and I really like that.

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