Windycon XXVII

Windycon XXVII was held over the weekend of November 10-12 at the Woodfield Hyatt in Schaumberg, Illinois (one of the Chicago suburbs). It is one of Chicago's longest-running conventions, and is both large and well-established.

We didn't have dealers' tables this time, so there wasn't the usual hassle of getting everything out of the van and set up. Instead we could concentrate on having a good time.

We went up on Thursday evening and stayed overnight with my parents, who live in one of the southern suburbs of Chicago. The next morning, after a reasonably early start, we got up to the hotel in good time and got checked in. Then we even had some time to relax and soak in the hot tub before getting our badges and attending the first panel discussion I was on.

That one, "The Global Village," was so small that we ended up turning it into a roundtable discussion. We talked about how the Internet has made the world smaller, and at the same time has increased the opportunities for miscommunication and mistrust. There are the obvious abuses like fraud and misrepresentation, but there are also the unintentional problems like dialect differences between various regional Englishes leading to innocent remarks being taken wrong and breeding hostility.

After that was my second panel of the day, "The Coming Plague," which was about diseases. We got into some very interesting dicussion about the problems being created by the misuse and abuse of antibiotics, as well as people's attitudes about medicine, life and death.

In the evening we went to the Irish pub in the nearby Woodfield Mall for supper. After that we attended Opening Ceremonies, where I was recognized as one of the many programming participants. Then we made the rounds of the parties. As usual, Windycon has a large number of parties, mostly in the small group of rooms near the function rooms.

Saturday started bright and early with breakfast and then a complete trip through the dealers' room before time to report for my autographic session. That proved to be a total bust, since nobody showed up. I did get some good writing time in on my current work in progress, so it didn't totally go to waste.

After that I had two panels. The first, "Transportation in the 21st Century," was another one with disappointingly small attendance, so we turned it into a round table as well. We talked about how changes in transportation modes would affect society, especially in unexpected ways. The use of virtual reality was brought up, but a lot of people didn't feel it would ever substitute for really being there.

The other was "SF Politically Incorrect," which was a discussion of the recent election and its non-conclusive results. Bill Fawcett argued quite convincingly that it's good that no candidate had a clear mandate and government will probably be gridlocked again -- while it's been busy infighting, the economy has boomed as it hasn't in years.

I also had a reading, but that was another disapointment with absolutely no attendance. I did get some more writing done.

Once my afternoon programming obligations were finished, we went to the Mongolian Stir-Fry with a group of friends. We had a really wonderful meal and plenty of fun conversation.

Afterward we came back for the art auction and the parties. On the art auction, I got to see one of my pieces not only go to auction, but get some fairly heated bidding. One of the people in the fray, who finally had to bow out, ended up commissioning me to do another, similar piece.

Sunday was the wind-down. After a good breakfast, I went down to the art show and picked up my unsold art. However, the checks weren't ready yet, so I went to my last two panels. "Crime and Punishment in the 21st Century" ranged from space stations to social policy. "SF Disguised as Fantasy" got into why authors might wish to do so, ideas on which ranged from marketing issues to matters of story structure and reader expectation.

After that I finally got my check from the art show. Then we went down to the dealer's room and visited a dealer who had taken some of our merchandise on consignment, picking up the money and the unsold items. After that we made one last quick visit to the con suite and the green room to grab a bite to eat and say our last good-byes before we hit the road for the long trip home.

As it turned out, it was a good thing we got an early start. About halfway down I-65, we came upon an accident that had just happened. A big tanker truck had tipped over into the ditch. At the time the backup wasn't too bad and we were able to creep through. Some friends who came through later found I-65 completely closed and had to make a lengthy detour after sitting for a good while.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.