Noreascon 4: The 62nd
World Science Fiction Convention
September 2-6, 2004
Labor Day weekend in Beantown! The Unions are on overtime! Dock Workers unite! Oh, wait… that would matter if we actually were Dock Workers. While some of those who attended Boston’s Noreascon 4—the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention—may have been members of a collective bargaining unit, collectively, that’s not why roughly 6,000 bodies filled the Hynes Convention Center. Why? How about a chance to chat with Terry Pratchett (GOH)? Hand a pen to William Tenn (GOH)? Peer at Jack Speer (Fan GOH)? Or simply celebrate, as science fiction Fandom does annually, that which makes the community unique.
The Noreascon 4 team, comprised of Massachusetts Convention Fandom, Inc.-ers, have much to be proud of. They were organized, efficient, smart and, above all, helpful. We arrived on Thursday, September 2nd and wound our way to the Hynes loading dock to off-load our stuff (we had a Dealer’s Table). Even though we were officially late (the gleefully over-paid dockworkers were gleeful), Elaine Brennan met us with a smile and set the tone for the remainder of our Noreascon experience. The folks in Press Relations went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure we had our credentials and then we were off to the Marriott to complete the check-in routine. A top-notch experience all the way around. Mind you, this detail is provided as a stark contrast to our experience just twelve months prior in Toronto. While I shan’t bore you with the horrific T.O. details, suffice it to say, we may bury our zines for safe-keeping if we smell a Customs Agent within fifty miles.
Anyway, back to the good stuff. There’s almost too much—it’s difficult to focus! The weekend was kicked off by a First Night event (mirroring Boston’s famed New Year’s Eve celebration) at which teams of people devised games and audience participation festivities. Clever and just plain fun. The Convention’s programming was rock-solid—but when has it not been for a Worldcon? (oh, wait… Toronto…) The Art Show was one of the best we’ve seen with an excellent variety of styles and media. The Masquerade was enjoyable with Susan de Guardiola doing an excellent job of MC-ing, however, (and here’s where the T.O. event gets its only nod) none of the entries were of the caliber of last year’s award-winning Amber series-clad group. With Boston’s reputation for abundant creativity, that was a slight disappointment.
And, finally, to our favorite event—the Hugo Awards. Let’s face it—it’s the Oscars for the geek-literati. Neil Gaiman was tapped to host and didn’t disappoint. With his wry wit and quick delivery, he kept the event moving along and the audience “in” on the joke. In the end, Lois McMaster Bujold grabbed the top honor (Best Novel) for Paladin of Souls. The event’s illustrious host won his own gleaming phallus… I mean rocket… for Best Short Story, “A Study in Emerald.” Our friend and contributor, Frank Wu, was nominated for Fan Artist and was up against some pretty tough competition. Wu prevailed and took home his first Hugo. The after-Hugo Award parties with a first-time winner—not to mention an all-around bon vivant—are an experience everyone should have. The stories we could tell… Speaking of the after-Hugo Award parties, we must acknowledge SFWA for hosting a lovely, ethereal (dare we say celestial?) event. White floating balloons tied to white Mardi Gras masks, alabaster-draped furniture and literary projections on the walls created such a fantastic atmosphere. We almost forgot that the event is traditionally called “The Losers Party”. Not a loser in the room, to be sure.
2005’s WorldCon is off to Glasgow, Scotland (eek… Customs Agents!) from August 4th – 8th. For more info: http://www.interaction.worldcon.org.uk/