Return from Chicon

View from the 15th Floor of the Hyatt Regency

And lo, the prodigal son has returned from Chicago and the convention known as Chicon (aka Worldcon).  And he declared it, “Spiffy.”

It’s kind of important to note that Chicon was my first convention of any sort.  I’ve never really gone to anything like this and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Fortunately, I did have some old friends there and they helped guide me through it (being an introvert is not a perk when it comes to cons).  Still, when people found out that this was my first convention of any sort, I got one of two reactions:

1) “Holy cow!  You must be really brave!”

2) “Holy cow!  You poor poor fool …”

Needless to say, I did survive though not without some casualties (unsurprisingly, I may have caught a bug while mingling with 5,000 other people with sleep deprivation and compromised immune systems).  My ‘social meter’ crashed sometime early Sunday and I kind of spent most of that day in a bit of a haze.

Highlights in no particular order:

Watching the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field for the first time ever was great.  Making it even better was seeing them knock three home runs (one being inside the park) and win 6-4.

Wrigley Field

Meeting and chatting with some of my favorite authors.  Just to name a few: Jim C. Hines, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert J. Sawyer, Howard Tayler.  There’s even more and it’s hard to count or even remember all of them.

All over the place I was hanging out with people.  I got lunch with a bunch of friends from Viable Paradise 13 such as Brent (with whom I roomed), Cath, Ferret, and Julia.  Then there were all the other VP folks like Bart, Sarah, Fran, Kelly, and a few rookies going into this years class (sorry, I forgot names!).

VP13 - Ferrett, Brent, Me, Julia, and Cath

Panels galore.  Learned a lot, hope I remember a fraction of it.

Browsed the Dealer Room and picked up a lot of books including a gift for my brother that sent him into a fit like a little girl.  I think I own his soul now or something.

Also, my name got me a few miles of conversation.  See, there’s another author out there named Matt Hughes (also writes as Matthew Hughes).  While in the Dealer’s Room, I approached the Angry Robot table because I wanted to see what they had and because I’ve got something sitting with them.  The author Hughes writes for them and one of their people pointed to my name tag and said “You aren’t the Matt Hughes, are you?”  I laughed, denied it, and then said, “But you guys do have my full manuscript so I hope to join him soon.”  Brief but fun conversation after that about pen names and their previous open-calls.   Same deal happened elsewhere including with Robert J. Sawyer.

Ate some good food including a marvelous tapas place where I got to try squid and octopus.  Tastes like chicken.  Elsewhere food was okay though more than a bit overpriced.  Coming home to our own homemade pizza was a really nice treat.

Octopus

I got to sit in on the Hugo Awards.  Those are some of the top prizes in sci-fi & fantasy.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a bit of inspiration out of some of the folks who received awards, especially the first timers and newcomers.

Got in a nice 12 – 14 mile run along the lakefront Saturday morning.  Wasn’t sure on the distance since my GPS went bonkers on me but somewhere along the path my room key fell out and I didn’t notice til I got back to the hotel.  Whoops.

View from the 9 or 10 mile mark

So that’s that.  Not sure if I’ll go to another con.  Probably too early to tell but at least I had a good time.  For now, time for bed.  I got this work thing to go to tomorrow …

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