Wincon (Was RE: New book (and other things))

Lucy Mackintosh lucy.mackintosh at
Wed Sep 15 06:59:03 EDT 1999

Elise wrote:

>I'd love it if you would describe Wincon and maybe a bit about dwj
>not the plot of the upcoming book!).  I've never been to a con and, of
>course, never seen dwj.  Is a fantasy/sci-fi con similar to the description
>in Deep Secret?  btw, was there any word of the release date for the Dark
>Lord sequel?  Are there really so many people of ambiguous gender at cons?
>And many beards, as well as mild mannered ladies?  Do people dressed as
>vikings sing the spam song?  Is it wacky?  I love wacky.  As you can see, I
>am wildly curious.

Er ... I'll try ... And with any luck, Jess will be more familiar with cons
and will describe it from her point of view.  Mine is very much an
outsider's view as this was the only such event I have been to.

>From what I can gather, Wincon is fairly small by con standards.  It seems
to be attended primarily by seasoned con-goers (con-attenders?
conventionists? convicts?) who all know each other.  Several people told me
that Eastercon is the one to go to for having a big party and meeting lots
of new people.

Guests of honour were DWJ, Michael Shead (actor, Admiral Something in Star
Wars), someone who writes comics, someone who writes alternative histories
(I can check these out if you want to know).

There were talks and panels on all sorts of things - do children get the
best fantasy?, boys sniggering about the general public's inability to spot
bad science in films, Superman, quests...  Being used to attending
residential conferences and courses for  work I kept being terribly shocked
that people didn't go to things and kept having to remind myself that no one
was paid to be there.  It was a great treat not to have to take notes.

Beards.  Yes, there were lots of beards.  And oh so much hair.  Men came in
three main styles: techie (indeterminate hair, T shirts from previous cons),
real ale (lots of hair, lots of beard, T shirts from previous cons) and Neil
Gaiman (long hair, lots of black).  I don't know how to categorise the
waistcoat with the multicoloured lemmings, though.  Women's main options
were hair and dress roughly as for male techie (but generally with a greater
capacity for beer) or long hair and long clothes.  Gender was wholly
unambiguous and it looked like an exceptionally straight group to me.

People were generally very friendly and would go out of their way to
recommend groups to join or future cons to attend.

Alas, there was no masquerade and hence much of the opportunity for
wackiness, vikings, spam, etc. was missing.  There was filking, however.
According to the programme, it wouldn't be a con without the filking.  And
as I was determined to have an experience I sat in on some filking.
Apparently the children of earth don't listen to the star song.

DWJ was there throughout and I'm sure was very approachable.  I avoiding
approaching too closely for fear of exposing myself as a dribbling fool.  I
did sit nearby her during the first lunch and got to watch her leafing
through a catalogue and discussing kitchen utensils.  In any imaginings I
might have had of this moment, kitchen utensils had never previously

I think she said that the new book would be coming out next year (next
spring?  I may have just made that up).  Sorry that's so vague.

Is your curiosity at all satisfied with this?  I do hope I haven't
inadvertently offended anyone in the process.


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