Sasquan Report

I haven’t attended a WorldCon without exhibiting since 2009 in Montreal. Sasquan, held in Spokane, Washington, would have been a fine show at which to exhibit, but I didn’t really want to spend the whole weekend working. That’s really haaaard.

So I only spent part of the weekend working. I wrote about 3600 Planet Mercenary words, and inked a week of comics. I recorded three episodes of Writing Excuses with Brandon and Dan, and I “networked” with dozens of peers in the genre fiction community.

That last bit doesn’t really feel like work. All I was really doing was talking to people about stuff I would have talked about anyway, and introducing friends, new and old, to each other.

The greatest unpleasantness was the smoke from the disastrous forest fires in western and central Washington. I inhaled enough smoke on Friday that I got sick and had to lie down, and the newfound shallow-ness of my lungs stayed with me even after the air cleared a bit on Saturday and Sunday. Walking and talking at the same time usually left me short of breath, sometimes to the point that my head would hurt and my vision would begin to narrow.

And then there was the Hugo Award thing.

The Hugo Awards, whose concomitant controversy was something I was pleased to not be sitting on stage for, have been better discussed by other writers. I watched the awards from the lobby of the Davenport Grand with friends new and old, former Hugo winners among us. I was pleased with the results, but like every year it was bittersweet.

My heart goes out to those who did not win awards this year, especially those whose work missed being on the ballot because of the hijacked slate. Their work will stand independently of this, however, and needs neither my pity nor the validation of the short-list. As a former Hugo loser, I know that it stings, but I also know that you’ve got to keep making stuff regardless of what happens with awards. I kept making Schlock Mercenary for five years after it started not winning Hugo awards. It still hasn’t won, and I’m still making it today.

Just as awards shouldn’t validate your decision to create art, they shouldn’t have any bearing on how you feel about the art you consume. Reading in particular is a deeply personal, intimate act. An award on a book is like a sticker on a banana: it might help you pick the banana, but if you eat the sticker you’re doing it wrong.