CON REPORT: Worldcon 80 – Chicon 8

Rebecca Inch-Partridge reports on this year’s recently concluded Worldcon convention.

The 80th World Science Fiction Convention was held from September 1st thru 5th , 2022. This was the 8th ChiCon. It returned to the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel and Convention Center where Chicon 7 was held in 2012. It’s a beautiful facility with a maze-like layout that disoriented and confused even the most seasoned convention goer. I quickly regretted not taking one of the many tours offered, but fortunately staff kindly guided lost souls to their destination.

I’ve been to several WorldCons, but wasn’t sure what to expect after the pandemic. Over 4,000 people preregistered and attendance did seem slightly lower than usual. However, there was online access available for those who could not attend in person, which might account for the decrease. What I noticed the most was how everyone there seemed more patient and considerate. Perhaps everyone was just so glad to be there it made the mood feel more like a family reunion than a convention. Old friends practically wept when greeting each other.

There was some shuffling of Guests of Honor. Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due served as co-author Guests of Honor when Charles de Lint could not make it. Erle Korshak had passed away between the time of the bid and the convention. Floyd Norman was also unable to attend, so there was no Artist GoH. However, convention staff brought in three special guests including; Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Gene Ha, and Eric Wilkerson. Edie Stern and Joe Siclari were the Fan GoHs.

This was my first WorldCon as a panelist. I served on the Best SFF Mysteries panel with Lucy A. Synk, Mark Painter, Roberta Rogow and Victor Manibo. The recommended reading list that came from our discussion will take me years to get through.

Since I am new to cosplay, being on costuming panels was a great learning experience. I’m excited to have made some new friends who will be able to help me figure out how to create costumes based on the alien races in my books. A special shout out to Debbie Bretschneider and Theresa Halbert for sharing their expertise.

Though there were only 18 entries for this year’s masquerade, they were among the best I’ve seen. But for me, the performance by the Chicago based professional dance troupe, “ Raks Geek ” while the judges deliberated, stole the show. Incredible!

And of course, no WorldCon would be complete without the Hugo rewards. The emcees, Annalee and Charlie Jane Anders, did a phenomenal job of keeping the award ceremony entertaining. For a list of Hugo winners, see https://chicon.org/home/whats-happening/hugo-awards/. Of note was that Tordotcom swept the nominations for Best Novella category, and Asimov’s, Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction did not make it on the ballet for the best short story category this year.

Chicon 8 is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Illinois. Helen Montgomery chaired this year’s event. (chicon.org) Next year’s WorldCon will be held in Chengdu, China on August 16-20.

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