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Luke
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 06:19 am:   

Ellen,

I am thinking of going to either Worldcon or Dragoncon this year. I've never been to any before, and was wondering if you could offer any advice.

Luke
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EDatlow
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 08:26 am:   

Luke,
I've never been to Dragoncon so I can only go by what I've heard. But what I have heard is that it's very large and is primarily a mediacon. I love Worldcon and see a lot of people I know there. Worldcon is always spread out among several hotels. The dealer's room at Worldcon is usually excellent. As a more serious sf reader I'd suggest you attend Worldcon.

Others here might know more about Dragoncon and give you more info about it.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 02:58 pm:   

Thanks for bringing up Worldcon. I'm going, but I'm nervous in crowds, so I'm looking forward to it with 90% excitement and 10% trepidation. I love hearing what people have been before thought about it. So far it sounds wonderful.
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EDatlow
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 03:45 pm:   

Melissa,
First thing, try to attend with a friend so you're not as overwhelmed.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 06:20 pm:   

I'm going with 2, actually. One is the friend who wheedled ne into going to the only other con I've been to-Albacon. That was a fantastic experience, and I met some very nice authors. (some even said I could look for them at Worldcon.)

I suspect Worldcon will be wonderful-I'm just stunned at the size of the thing!
I'll probably spend the first day just wandering around with a look of stunned glee and trying to remember how to talk coherently. ;)
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Luke
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 06:20 am:   

Thanks, Ellen. I'm flattered to be called a serious reader. It's still in the air for me, but I will consider your advice. See you next Wednesday.
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 07:22 am:   

Re Worldcon:
1) They usually have programming on the first day that is specifically designed for first-time attendees, with helpful tips, etc. If your trepidatious at all, attend one of these.

2) There is so much going on that it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Try and take a look at the program items on the Con website a few days beforehand--final times and locations may shuffle before the actual event, but you can find items to put on your "must-see" list. And my advice is to pick items based on who's on the program as much as subject matter. Good panelists are more important.

The key is to not worry about it or think about it too much--just get in a devil-may-care attitude and be ready to have a great time, and you will.

As for Dragoncon v Worldcon, I'd always pick Worldcon. But I'm more interested in the books, rather than the media (though there is plenty of media-related programming at Worldcon, Dragoncon is media-centered, and if you want a chance to listen to the star of your favorite sf show, than Dragoncon is more your thing. If you want to hang out with fellow readers and an author or three, Worldcon is your much better bet.)
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Jeff Lyons
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 08:01 am:   

You should go to WorldCon, if not only to enjoy this huge event and meet a large number of writers/editors.

But also you might enjoy the City of Boston. Boston is a fine place to spend time. The North End offers fantastic Italian food and there are plenty of Irish-style pubs/taverns all over the city.

No, I don't work for the Boston Chamber of Commerce. I live about 45 minutes away in New Hampshire.
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Eugie Foster
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 09:33 am:   

I've been to both WorldCon and Dragon*Con, and I prefer Dragon*Con. While WorldCon is fantastic and definitely writer-oriented, if I have to choose between the two (which I must due to the date overlap), I'd pick Dragon*Con.

ChiCon (2000) is the WorldCon I attended, and the thing is, I actually found it to be a little small for my taste. I expected the Home of the Hugos to be more bustling. There were periods where I actually found myself at loose ends.

Dragon*Con is indeed huge (official numbers claim around 25K attendees, but the real number is actually somewhat larger.) But it's also like twenty-seven smaller conventions (tracks) located in two huge hotels. If you are so inclined, you can stick to one track, never venture to any of the other tracks or events, and experience a full convention's worth of panels and activities. For e.g., the writers track has a several-day workshop (both beginning and intermediate ones of late) with Ann Crispin which you can spend most of the convention at, in addition to all the panels and autograph sessions.

I like Dragon*Con because there's ALWAYS something to do at all hours. I can schmooze with authors I idolize (Harlan Ellison, Anne McCaffrey, and Peter S. Beagle are among the 233 confirmed guests this year), dance 'till dawn in the drum circle, caterwaul with the filkers, watch some of the judges' picks at the Film Festival, ogle all the people milling in their elaborate costumes, attend any of a gazillion panels, or play a quiet game of D&D in the gamer's annex. And that's without even straying into the vendor's area or the Walk of Fame.

I guess it's what you're looking for, but I found Dragon*Con more *fun* and WorldCon more, I dunno, business. (Although I quite enjoyed meeting Ellen at the Coffee Klatch)

*Caveat: I'm now a director for Dragon*Con as well as the editor of the Daily Dragon, their on-site publication. But that happened after I'd experienced both, and after I moved to Atlanta. Oh, nuzzer caveat, I'm a guest at D*C this year too . . .

--Eugie
www.eugiefoster.com
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 11:52 am:   

Just so you know Luke, Worldcons all have the same events/tracks that Eugie says DragonCon has. But the dealer's room has more books than media. The art show at Worldcon is usually pretty good too. Don't know if there's an art show at Dragoncon.
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Anon
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 12:01 pm:   

And, of course, Worldcon is run on a volunteer basis, strictly by fans, rather than run for profit, ala DragonCon.

Of course, there's pros and cons to both methods. (pardon the puns . . . couldn't resist)
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Eugie Foster
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

> Don't know if there's an art show at Dragoncon.

Yup, there is. This year's roster of guest artists include Olivia, Rowena, and Anne Sudworth (her first American exhibit).

www.dragoncon.org for more D*C info.
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Eugie Foster
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 12:09 pm:   

> And, of course, Worldcon is run on a volunteer
> basis, strictly by fans, rather than run for
> profit, ala DragonCon.

Uh, sorry to glut this topic, but Dragon*Con is also run on a strictly volunteer basis. There is one paid employee, and she's only part-time. She mans the office phone and is the recipient of official convention email. Everyone else (including me) from track director to hassled registration clerk is a volunteer.
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Anon
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 12:23 pm:   

My apologies for attempting to spread an all-too-commonly held myth. I had been told that by more than one other person and always assumed it was true. No offense meant.

And, in fact, one of the pros of DragonCon being in one location year-in, year-out is that there is more stability in staff and their relationship with the facilities' staff (regardless of amateur v pro status) and therefore has a better handle on the bumps in the road. Worldcon's can have surprising problems upon occasion. (Of course, the flip side is that Worldcon travels around, allowing regular attendees to sample a new city, and affording different locals easier access/travel.)

There's no bad choice here, merely bad timing in terms of conflict of schedule.
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Eugie Foster
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 12:57 pm:   

> My apologies for attempting to spread an all-
> too-commonly held myth. I had been told that by
> more than one other person and always assumed
> it was true. No offense meant.

None taken here. I too thought D*C had to be run by pros, what with its size and all, until I volunteered and learned otherwise. And, from witnessing quite a few "behind the curtain" mishaps, snafus, near calamities, and barely-averted disasters, I'm still regularly astounded that it pulls together at all.

"There's no bad choice here, merely bad timing in terms of conflict of schedule."

I totally agree, anon. I would attend both of them if they weren't always on the same @#$! weekend.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 01:26 pm:   

Books+business-well, since I'm trying to learn about the business of writing books, I'm glad I'm going to Worldcon. ;)

Thanks for all the input.

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