The 2010 Worldcon, dubbed Aussiecon 4, was the fourth Worldcon held in Australia. ‘Worldcon’ is the term for the World Science Fiction Convention, an annual event usually held in North America, but occasionally elsewhere, such as this year when it was in Melbourne. It has also been, in recent years, in Yokohama, Japan, and Montreal, Canada. The Worldcon is run entirely by volunteers as a project of the World Science Fiction Society. The five-day event attracts loads of famous, even legendary, authors from the field, as well as artists, high-profile fans, and thousands of ordinary people who love the genre in all its many forms. The first Worldcon was held in the US in 1939.
Fremantle Press science fiction author, K.A. Bedford, got along to Melbourne for Aussiecon 4 and told us about his highlights.
“Aussiecon 4 was my fifth Worldcon experience, but the first here in Australia. Previously, my wife Michelle and I have trekked overseas for the annual Worldcon, usually to the US but also to Canada, to help promote my books as they come off the press for my North American publisher, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. I didn’t have a new book to promote at Aussiecon, so this Worldcon, unlike the others, was surprisingly relaxing for me. When I wasn’t busy on panel discussions, or other programmed events, I spent a lot of time simply sitting around the convention centre chatting with friends or reading (the excellent Watch, by Canadian sf author Robert J. Sawyer). It was marvellous.
“When not loafing about, I did have some assigned duties: there were two panel discussions, both themed around the subject of videogames (I do a lot of gaming, mostly on weekends); there was also a reading, in which I nervously read out the current (very rough) version of the first chapter of my new book, Paradox Resolution No Extra Charge, which should be published in time for next year's Worldcon in Reno, Nevada. I also had a signing session, in which I was expected to sit for an hour in a designated location and hope that someone, anyone, would turn up wanting their copy of one of my books signed. My experience with signings is that not much happens, and that you are well advised, if you’re still a bit of a minnow in the food chain of science fiction writers, to bring along something to keep you entertained during that long, gruelling hour. At a signing session at Worldcon 2006 in Los Angeles, I had a signing slot next to the legendary and amazingly popular author Connie Willis. The queue of people wanting her to sign books stretched, it seemed to me, for at least three kilometres. The queue for me? There was no queue for me. I kept busy with puzzles. Flash-forward four years to 2010, and I found, to my great surprise, that I was kept occupied with a steady stream of intrepid folks wanting me to sign copies of my latest book (and even US editions of my earlier books). I could not have been more surprised, or delighted.”
(to be continued ...)