BucCONeer -- the 1998 Worldcon

BucCONeer, the 56th annual World Science Fiction Convention, was held in the Baltimore Convention Center and a number of Inner Harbor hotels over the weekend of August 5-9. Because it was held several weeks early instead of over the traditional Labor Day weekend, it ran from Wednesday to Sunday instead of Thursday to Monday.

Dealers were able to come in on Tuesday to set up, because the sheer size of the dealers' room made it impractical to get everyone moved in and set up on the actual opening day of the con. One thing that made it somewhat easier to handle than the usual convention was having forklift crews take our stuff from our vehicles to our tables. We just had to unload it onto pallets and make sure the load was stable enough that it wouldn't dump stuff on the way, and then unload the pallet and set up at the tables. Even so, we were tired by the time we got everything done, so we decided to cancel a planned outing to Annapolis to visit Admiral H. E. Kimmel's grave.

On Wednesday the dealers' room actually opened, and the art show was finally set up enough that I could get my art hung. Although I had experienced some difficulty in getting my paperwork by mail earlier, this time I had almost no trouble in actually getting my art checked in.

However, the con suite was having some trouble getting started, and didn't open until that evening. Thus I couldn't even get snackies to tide me over until supper, so we finally broke down and bought some peanuts and a couple overpriced sandwiches, which we had to sneak back into the convention center in my bag because the convention center would confiscate food they saw coming in, in an attempt to force us to buy from their absurdly overpriced snack bar.

When the dealers' room closed, we took a look around the parties. I had an invitation to a special reception for the writers' workshop, which was up at the Hilton. That was a walk of several blocks through some rather unsavory areas, so we decided to ignore any future parties in that area and stick entirely to the parties at the Hilton and the Marriott, which were right across from the convention center and in a marginally better area.

Thursday I spent primarily in the dealers' room, although I did visit the con suite a few times to ward off starvation before supper. After the dealers' room closed, there was a reception for the artists in the art show, which gave me a chance to finally take a nice long look at all the art in the art show. Afterward we headed off to see the various parties before turning in for the night.

Friday was the really big day for me. I attended the one panel discussion I really wanted to see, which was on ethics in fantasy. I particularly wanted to see it because Vera Nazarian was on it. After that, I hurried up to the Hilton (this time in daylight) for my workshopping session, which started with a comedy of errors. I got there a little early and saw several people already in the room, animatedly discussing something. I assumed that it was the previous session, still busy, and didn't want to disturb them. So I sat down in the lobby and occupied myself with a sketchbook while I patiently waited for them. Only after I was really wondering what was taking so long for them to vacate and my group to show up did I discover that this was my group and they were patiently waiting for me to show up. Red-faced, I hurried in to take my place. We had a pretty good session, and I got some good information for reworking the beginning of my novel. Since the consensus was that it was almost ready for publication, I made a goal to have it rewritten and in the mail to a publisher by the end of August (a goal which I have indeed met).

After the workshop, I hurried back to the room to help prepare for the Sime~Gen party. This was a grand success, with a large number of people showing up. Jacqueline Lichtenberg announced some exciting news about the possibility of an online reprint of the Sime~Gen books, which have been out of print since about 1990. Jean Lorrah read her latest short story about Zhag and Tonyo, a semi-junct channel and a natural Companion who are musicians in the extraordinary decades right after the First Contract.

Saturday was a relatively slow day which I primarily spent in the dealers' room, sitting table and wondering why people weren't buying very much. I did get a chance to do a little writing on my novel. After the dealers' room closed, we headed out to the various parties. The Philedelphia in 2001 Worldcon bid was holding their celebration after having won the bid, while the Boston in Orlando for 2001 people were trying to get rid of their flamingos and other supplies now that they were defeated.

Sunday was the last day in the dealers' room. We started breaking down a little early because we were getting very few sales, so we were ready to load as soon as the dealers' room closed. I also picked up my unsold art from the art show. This year I actually sold two of my pieces, which was a happy change from last year's disappointing showing. We made our last good-byes, then loaded up and began the long trip back home.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.