Volume 27, Number 1, Fall 2008

Denvention3—2008 Worldcon Report

By Fred Curtis Moulton

Denvention3, the 66th World Science Fiction Convention, held August 6-10 in Denver, Colorado, attracted about 3700 fans. Denver is not as large a metropolitan area as the locales for previous Worldcons. Thus the attendance fell be off a bit since there was not as large a pool of people to pull from within easy driving range. Denver is known as the Mile High City and the altitude did take some acclimation. It also rained. In fact on Friday it rained very hard in the evening and quite a few unsuspecting fen got soaked. The main facility was the Colorado Convention Center and surrounding hotels were used for other events. The con suite, late night programs, gaming, filk and parties were in the Sheraton several blocks from the Convention Center. The Convention Center complex is large. Worldcon activities were primarily in the rear half of the building so there was about a two block walk inside the building before exiting to head to restaurants and hotels. This long and wide walk inside did have the positive features of allowing friends to spot each other since the walkway was spacious and almost everyone was on it often.

The LFS Awards ceremony was held on Wednesday afternoon instead of Friday. The reason for the shift was that since we had a tie for best novel it was necessary to coordinate the schedules of two authors as well as find an open room in the meeting rooms allotted to the con. Harry Turtledove and Jo Walton were present to accept their awards. Fran Van Cleave was in attendance to assist and read the statement announcing the Hall of Fame winner. I announced the Prometheus Best Novel award winners. Harry Turtledove spoke first, followed by Jo Walton. Both Harry and Jo said how pleased they were to get the award. Following their remarks we had a general Question and Answer session with several good questions from the audience. Other LFS members were present and assisted with photos and other details. Announcing the authors of the winning books a couple of weeks prior to the convention appears to have worked well.

Wednesday evening several LFS members met for dinner and conversation at Marlowe’s restaurant. It was a good chance for getting caught up since it had been at least a year or more since some of us had previously met.

As for the con itself, it had its ups and downs. The registration on Wednesday morning had poor signage and was not well organized. They had the pre-registration open the previous day until 9:00PM but failed to realize that many people were on flights that arrived late. And even if the flights arrived early in the evening the Denver airport is so far out that it takes a long time to get into downtown Denver. If they had been smart they would have opened registration Wednesday morning at 8:30AM for all of the East Coast people who felt like it was 10:30AM and thus reduced the Wednesday morning rush. But they opened at 10:00AM with very poor signage, a slow process and a crowd of people. Fortunately SF fandom is resourceful and various fans in the lines started monitoring the lines and improving some handwritten signs which helped.

The various panels I attended were interesting and for the most part well moderated. There were a lot of impromptu meetings in hallways and around the various fan and bid tables. The Fanzine Lounge provided a centrally located place to rest, relax and peruse fanzines new and old. The Art show, dealers room, history of prior Denver Worldcons, and Fanac were all grouped together in an upper floor of the Convention Center. The Art Show had many fine pieces. The Dealer’s room had a mix of book, comic, jewelry and clothing vendors. L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser ran the Big Head Press booth in the Dealers Room selling copies of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas, as well as other graphic novels.

The Australia Worldcon bid beat back the strong challenge of bids from Xerps in 2010 (which had fun parties on multiple evenings) and Peggy Ray’s House in 2010. The next Worldcon takes place in Montreal from August 6 through 10, 2009, followed by the 68th Worldcon in Melbourne, Australia, aka Aussicon 4.

I heard very few negative remarks about the con overall, mainly about specific events such as the registration problems mentioned earlier and not about the con as a whole. I just assume that every con will have at least one problem whether it is with registration or the newsletter or some other item. So I identify the problem and then move on and have fun. I saw a lot of smiling faces. I had a great time. For those of you who want to review the con newsletters they are in PDF: http://www.denvention.org/publications/index.php. [archive.org copy]

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