Although I ended up shying away from presenting a paper as was suggested to me at the world Con, I still ended up going. Come off it, how often does a World con just happen to be in your back garden, so to say?
I went with the intended focus of observing fan communities in person from a folkloric perspective (sounds good dunnit?)
... I kept up the appearances for almost a day, attending academic papers as well as specific fan community related ones, carefully taking notes and even commenting ;-P
then the transmutation began. I was already aware of the fact that Alan Lee would be signing his yet unpublished book there, the thought of which sent strange tingles to even stranger places.
But as I stood in line, waiting for my turn, there began the aforementioned transmuting effect. My knees grew week, I constantly had to be drying sweat from my hands so as to be able to shake his without too much embarrassment and my two bags and coat became increasingly difficult to handle. When it was finally my turn I at least had the presence of mind to ask if I could have my picture taken with him (can anyone say “fan girl”) but as he very nicely commented upon me being from Iceland and him always having wanted to go there I found that all-over-a-sudden over half of my English vocabulary had dissipated and what little there was left I couldn’t actually pronounce, hence me trying to say that Iceland was a very picturesque place well worthy of an artists attention turned into incoherent babble followed by me fumbling around with my two signed books bags and .... Well you get the picture..
Then strangely enough as I left the hall I had this amazingly strong urge to scream or to shout....
My descent (or should I say enlightenment (has a more upward feel to it ;-) ) into fandom having already commenced I started vigilantly attending all panels which included Alan Lee in it bringing to my attention another concept artist by the name, or should I say the artist formerly known as Fangorn ;-) Chris Baker
. He did the concept art fro A.I. both Kubric as well as Spielberg and has worked on a lot of Tim Burton Movies apart from being a scifi artist in his own right.
Other highlights of the con would have to be the panel upon which Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett discussed the pros and cons of fame, with Terry P pointing out that if a bearded man in a black overcoat and with a black hat wants to have sex with you it’s NOT him! ;-P Which was great fun, with them all recounting stories from before fame and after and various mishaps.
We attended the Masquerade which was an experience in itself, all in all very laid back, friendly and flirty atmosphere with some good costumes to be seen, my favourite being the vampire cheerleader ;-)
Then on Sunday night we finally attended the party hotel, a trip well worth it ? we started off by going to this wee Japanese restaurant in Glasgow centre, only to have Terry Pratchett sitting with a group next to us and Klingons waiting behind us in the line. (We later got to chat with said Klingons at the party) The party centre was at the Hilton Hotel and divided into rooms all of which seemed to be cities or countries shivying for to hold the World con at some later date. The Finnish room, in offering loads of pepper snaps and beer was an obvious winner ;-)
Among people with whom we chatted were an aerospace engineer couple from the States, an incredibly tall Mansonesque Kyudo player from Finland (currently studying physics at Oxford), a Japanese professor of American studies at Keio University and his wife of cos-play fame, a klingon couple from the States who’d left their 8 dogs in the capable hands of her mother, some very nice Finnish girls who sang sci fi songs in Finnish to Beatles tunes and Lady Galadriel, all in all a great group of well adjusted fun people (excluding perhaps the Finnish one)
And then I proved my fanishness by hovering around poor Fangor, introducing myself and asking whether I could have my picture taken with him (geek what)upon which he asked why, to which I answered due to your art, upon which he quizzed me, then grinned and hugged me ;-P
So all in all it was a great experience, only five trek costumes I could count but heaps of dragons, some pirates and admittedly loads of very strange grossly overweight people with American accents and often having pink hair ... The variety of the lectures and panels was such that often I was coming across the same people repeatedly although the guests numbered over 4000 and when I attended lectures with Halldor I saw people I’d never come across there. The papers ranged from purely scientific ones, with physicists and for instance one of the technicians behind the mars probe thing, through fantasy realms of hobbitesque proportions, through folklore, movies, TV shows and just abut anything interesting vaguely related to the genre. Me and Halldor even attended one panel on how to speak scifi fanish in Japanese as well as sword fighting 101 ;-)
Having attended I see in retrospect that I could easily have presented a paper there, I could even have presented my Buffy magic paper without a change to it, but there again it would have left me nervous and stressed and perhaps not free to enjoy it as much as I did. This was my first con and as such I thoroughly enjoyed it, but come Yokohama 2007 I will most definitely be presenting a paper or two!! Just you watch out ;-P
Oh and as I came home to my e–mail I got the Amazing news that I’ve been short listed at the Japanese embassy in Iceland. Meaning, that as I am applying for a study grant to go to Japan for a couple of years to do research in the field of folkloristics, I’m now in the final draw. So later this month I go back home to take an English test as well as a Japanese one, and will then be interviewed... so keeping my fingers crossed :-D