Journey to the Land of Misfit Toys (aka Worldcon 2013)

I was unsure about attending my first Worldcon.  Concerns…

Cost: My spare funds have been almost completely directed to production costs of Wasteland Renegades (almost ready, promise!), so the timing was bad.

Geography: Ucluelet is a long way from anywhere. To get to San Antonio, Texas (on my budget), would take me two full days, including five hours on the bus. THE BUS! *shudders*

Aloneness: Due to other work commitments, Josh was unable to attend. And, sure, I’m okay with attending events solo, I tend to make friends with relative ease, but I also know these sorts of events are much more enjoyable with at least one buddy.

I don’t really know why I ultimately decided the cons of the con did not outweigh the pros of the con, but I booked my flights, bus tickets, and hotel, and off I went.

Thank Cod I did.

There was a decided lack of sleep and overabundance of alcohol but my first Worldcon has taken a spot on my Top Ten Coolest Things I’ve Done In My Life.  Considering “driving on car chase scene” and “swimming with wild dolphins” are on that list, that’s saying something.

At the Glitter and Mayhem rollerskating launch party. (L to R) Me, Sandra Wickham, Nicole Feldringer, Kelly Lagor

I met a crazy amount of warptastic people but I have to give a special shout out to my fellow SF Canada member Sandra Wickham who is not just a social butterfly but a social MOTHRA. Sandra, for whatever reason, took me under her Mothra wing and welcomed me into her diverse and wonderful Worldcon circle of friends. Every new Worldcon attendee should be issued a Sandra at the door. This should be a new policy. Sandra got me into parties, Sandra took me rollerskating with the Glitter and Mayhem crew, Sandra ensured I never ate dinner alone, Sandra is all that and a bottle of awesomesauce.

I wish I had better/more photos of my time at Worldcon but… did I mention the lack of sleep and copious amounts of alcohol?

I know I’m going to miss someone on this list (please tell me if I do, I will add you with my magic editing powers) but it was my extreme pleasure to meet/hang out with/babble nonsensically at: Amy Sunderberg, Lauren Teffeau, Sara Mueller, Galen Dara, Mark Teppo, Dave Bara, Patrick Swenson, Kelly Lagor, Nicole Feldringer, Devi Pillai, Will Hinton (who bears a striking resemblance to Harry Potter), Cormac Russel, Robert Bennett, John Klima, Howard Tayler, Andrew Barton, and Fran Wilde.

Okay, one more group of folks to mention. Somehow I ended up breakfasting with authors Alastair Kimble, Andy Rogers, and Griffin Barber – henceforth to be known as The Breakfast Squad, (look for our upcoming cop series on HBO). I have not snort-laughed so much in my life. And if you hear the phrase “cave bacon” in the future, for the record, we started that.  Or, at the very least, we took that and turned it into something unclean.

I could rant on about the laughs, the new friends, the interesting panels, the fact that only one person during the entire conference gave me “that look” when I said I was indie published, but I want to talk about John Scalzi and his acceptance speech for the Hugo Awards. (He won Best Novel for 2013, for Redshirts. You must read it. It is snort-laugh inducing among many other fine qualities.)

The speech was good–not too long, not too rambling, full of appreciation for other nominees, etc–but one line hit me like a sledgehammer of happiness right in the gut. Speaking of his first time attending a science fiction convention, Scalzi said it was like “the Land of Misfit Toys”. This was exactly what this, my first Worldcon, felt like.  For most of us, there are few times in life where we find ourselves in a place where we feel completely at home. Here, among the misfit toys of science fiction and fantasy, I felt free to be myself… snort-laughs, bagpipe imitations, and all.

I would share this sentiment later, at about 3am, with a fellow partygoer. He was dubious. After all, (in his words), I am attractive, physically capable, and intelligent, how could I ever not feel that I belonged anywhere? In answer to that I wrote a very long and heartfelt explanation to share with you all.

Then I decided just to post these photos. (Apologies for the quality, they’re almost as old as I am).

Nothing says “I’m cool” like 5-pin bowling.

Yes, that’s me on the lower right. I am the only member of my team who is actually smiling because I am the only one who does not realize that belonging to a 5-pin bowling league is social suicide. I’m pretty sure all those other kids were forced to join, whereas I begged to be a bowler. Please note the patches on my uniform. I took my 5-pin bowling VERY seriously (as you should).

Little known fact: 5-pin bowling is only slightly less nerdy than clogging.

Once a 5-pin bowler, always a 5-pin bowler! Booyah!

In fact, I took my bowling so seriously that I was still doing it into my teens. There I am, (top middle), trying pathetically to have Farrah Fawcett hair. Be thankful I spared you my perm phase.

As an interesting side note, the fellow to my left would go on to be a big software guy. He was also the first person to introduce me to the internet. Parents, there is clearly a link between 5-pin bowling and success.

My homage to Steve Irwin

But of course no walk of nerd shame would be complete without a photo from my dance class. I loved this crocodile costume so much that I wore it to school on Halloween, in the eighth grade. Needless to say, among the many sexy cats and Playboy bunnies that year, I was noticed.

Attention everyone! Kristene Marrington, who lives on 119a Street, is the queen of the dorks!

And just to make sure I finished off my final year of highschool leaving no doubts about my nerd status, there’s the article from the local paper announcing that I would rather spend my summer studying  than at the beach like the rest of the normal teenagers.

For the record, I still PREFER BOOKS – so there!

Wow, I just never had good hair, did I?

So, yes, before I was the slick snort-laughing, bagpipe imitator that you will meet now, I was a 5-pin bowling fanatic with bad (though freakishly soft) hair, who loved books so much that one day she started writing her own.

Speaking of which, Wasteland Renegades is moments away from an official launch and I have mountains of work to do. I will leave you with some photos from the Land of Misfit Toys.

Thanks again to all the misfits who made me feel so very welcome–see you at the next one!

Blood for Water


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