This blog is not really intended as a record of my life so much as an archive of ideas (or at least those which both seem publication-worthy, and stick around until I get to posting them), but going to a WorldCon is supposed to stuff your brain to busting with ideas, so let’s try the chronicling thing.

My first two sessions today were the opening ceremony and the “How to enjoy this con” session and I was kind of ambivalent about them. On the one hand, there was plenty of enthusiasm and general warmth, and it was nice to see an acknowledgment of country right up front. But the intro video was a (tongue-in-cheek, and even occasionally funny, but still) riff on the “only one man can save us” action movie trope… which is kind of tired, and reasserts a narrow, unwelcoming idea of SF.

Further, when the guests were introduced, one guest in a wheelchair was stuck down in the darkness in front of the stage instead of coming on stage – despite the fact that there was a door on stage, suggesting she could have entered from backstage. (The theatre generally seemed pretty unfriendly to wheelchairs and scooters… it was stairs all the way down from the rear entrance, so you had a choice of sitting right at the front or right at the back.)

Now, it may not be the fault of the con organisers – that door may have led to offstage space which was just as inaccessible to wheels as the rest of the theatre. And people may not have realised that the problem would arise (though again, not clear how she got down to the front of the space if so). But some sort of public statement that the limitations were the venue’s would have been a good idea – it would have served to simultaneously highlight the injustice, define the community as one which noticed and did not acquiesce in it, and given the MCEC a nudge to fix it.

The session on how to enjoy the con was also illuminating. I’ve been thinking of it as kind of a party for the brain… turns out for a lot of people it’s just a flat-out party. Which is fine, and one of the things I like about geek culture is that the two are linked, rather than apparently irreconcilable as in mainstream culture. But, yeah. It was a leetle surprising how many stories were OMG I was so drunk, OMG guess who hooked up, and how few were about SF. Though I learned that Ursula Le Guin was a key figure responsible for the 70s renaissance of Aussie SF – one more reason to love that extraordinary woman, insofar as you can love someone you’ve only met through her books.

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