The beach curved away both north and south into a hazy horizon, and it looked like the entire population of the United States was standing shoulder to shoulder in the San Diego sun, drinking Bud Light, and ignoring riptide warnings.
This was Fourth of July weekend in San Diego, during a few hours stolen away from Conzilla, the fifty-ninth Westercon.
I confess, the hold-up this month was entirely my own. Gallivanting down the West Coast put the kibosh on timely publication of the July issue, but my fellow editors agreed: even had we published a week ago, no one would have been reading. At least, not the US readers: they were presumably on the beach.
It brought to mind the fact that we really haven't had as many con reports this year as we did last year. Without an organized effort to solicit such reports, we are rather at the mercy of whatever flies over the transom, and as with sub-genre spotlights, that tends to be a hit-or-miss affair. So con-goers take note: we're looking for good new material, and there are plenty of good cons coming up. In particular, I'd love to get a journalist with a camera on duty at WorldCon this year.
Back to Conzilla for a moment: I thought about trying to put together a real con report on this year's Westercon, but I'm afraid poor timing made it a rather lackluster convention. Personally, I had a great time and met some great people, but I think we were the only actual publisher in attendance. There couldn't have been much more than five hundred attendees, including guests, and panels were sparsely attended. This is what happens when San Diego tries to host a traveling convention just a week or two away from their own enormously important ComiCon, and just a hundred miles down the road from next month's WorldCon.
That said, a small con with some big names makes for a pleasantly intimate experience. There's nothing like having Walter Jon Williams mix you a margarita, then drinking it with Kevin J. Anderson. (And there's nothing like the headache Walter's margaritas bring on the next day either, let me tell you.) And you haven't gone party hopping until you've been party hopping with Evo Terra. Best of all, these San Diego fans are a friendly bunch: Cody Goodfellow and his daughter took Marti McKenna and I to the beach for fireworks on our last night there, and he didn't know us from axe murderers. Not that that would be likely to bother Cody.
But there was something vaguely unsettling about Conzilla. There was this sense that the science fiction world is aging, dwindling. More and more of our best are setting sail from the grey havens...a feeling reinforced by the passing of Jim Baen just a few days before the convention.
Thus we look forward to L.A. Con IV, the 64th WorldCon. Here we hope for thousands, and at IROSF we're not just hoping...we're planning. If you have been thinking about hitting L.A. this year, make sure to keep an eye on IROSF, as we're putting together a party to remember, with some new developments, announcements, and features for the publication that should bring a new spring to your step.
In fact, the most satisfying thing about publishing The Internet Review of Science Fiction is all the exciting new stuff that people bring to my attention: new views on older works, as well as intriguing introductions to the newest publications. As ever: keep it coming!