World Fantasy

Over at John Klima has raised some discussion of World Fantasy Convention.  He refers to the estimable Chris Roberson’s comment that “World Fantasy is the hub around which my year turns.”   John talks about developing projects, making contacts and so on, and there’s no doubt that’s part of the event (and I’ve certainly done all of those things). But, it made me wonder why World Fantasy is my absolute no-fooling hands-down favorite convention in the world.  I attended my first World Fantasy in Washington DC in 2003, then Madison in 2005, Saratoga in 2007, and now Calgary in 2008.  I loved them all, and will definitely be in San Jose next year and in Columbus too, if I can.  Why?

It’s tricky.  I know people who prefer fan-oriented conventions prefer WorldCon  (Jo Walton says as much on and it was said to me in Calgary by a couple people).  I can certainly respect that.  I find WorldCon too big.  I can’t find people when I want to and spend time rattling around at loose ends.  I find I can’t travel to the other side of the world to rattle around – I’d rather go to Swancon or Conflux for the fan experience.  At World Fantasy I can get the pro experience.  Not networking, which I’ve lost interest in.  Not working on projects.  Not making sales.  I see my agent for an hour maybe (we’re on opposite sides of the world so an annual catch up is worthwhile), but otherwise just see friends for dinner, hit the bar, and hang out.  The pro experience I crave, and that makes World Fantasy so wonderful for me is that there’s a conversation I can have there that I can’t have anywhere else in the world.  At each WFC I’ve attended I’ve had, for example, occasions to sit down and talk with various people who do exactly what I do; to share experiences and learn from people who know more.  Now that I edit anthologies, having the chance to talk about them with Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow, David Hartwell or whomever as colleagues is wonderful, enormously valuable.  All the rest of it is fun, and I’d go to WFC just for that, but that kind of thing is something I can’t get anywhere else.  So, WFC is always on my agenda.

7 thoughts on “World Fantasy”

  1. For me, it’s Readercon first, WFC second. Unfortunately, Calgary just seemed too expensive and distant for me this year, which I guess I shouldn’t say, considering how far you had to travel.

  2. For me, it’s WFC first, Readercon 2nd. I realized after the fact that I really loathed Worldcon this year, partly because it was so big and spread out–and I also realized that it’s always big and spread out, and thus I can never find half the people I’m looking for (thank ghod for cell phones)–and even when I do, am torn from them by other people seeking my attention. I never feel that way at WFC. I can actually make plans to hang out–usually in the bar, where everyone will eventually stop by.

    Granted, too. WFC has always treated me extremely well as far as awards go, so I can’t discount that factor in my enjoyment of the convention.

  3. Jay, I’m glad you find it the same way. I respect people who go to WFC to do work, but I’ve given that up. I find work happens if I’m there, but I don’t go there to do it.

  4. Scott, I’d love to go to Readercon, but I doubt it’ll ever happen. There just isn’t the chance for me to add it it to the travel itinerary.

  5. WorldCon is too big and spread out for my tastes. I can see why people like, especially long term attendees, but for me WFC is the big winner. I’ve been a few times, and it feels like it’s a community that I’m part of it.

  6. I like both WorldCon and World Fantasy. OK, I’ve only attended two WFCs so far, but it has become my favourite convention.

    Like Jonathan, ReaderCon is very hard for me to put on the travel itinerary, especially considering the fact that I feel compelled to go to a total solar eclipse which happens almost every year (and almost always in remote locations).

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