This is my report on my experiences at the 68th World Science Fiction Convention: AussieCon4 in Melbourne, Australia, in 2010.
Having been to a couple of New Zealand SF conventions I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend a World Con. (They are usually held in North America somewhere, making them expensive for Kiwis to attend.)
The con programme was almost mind-bogglingly big: there were regularly 10 or 15 things on at once to choose from, for five days straight. But at the same time the con actually felt quite small - I think because the venue was so gargantuan that it swallowed up our little con without hardly noticing.
The program events during the day consisted mostly of panels and talks. In general I found the talks much more satisfying, as they were considered presentations by one person who had put a lot of work and thought into what they wanted to say. The panels - with four or five people thrown together to discuss a topic - by contrast were often directionless and waffly. But even the least interesting panel managed to come up with points to ponder.
Strangely, the World Con seemed less social than the much smaller NZ cons. I think this was because of the lack of a bar/lounge area where you could go to meet other con-goers in between events. Also the official pre-awards party was an exclusive, invitation-only affair - something that didn't sit right given fandom's egalitarian, we're-all-ok principles. But perhaps it's just not possible to provide social events for 1500 people.
I had a great time at the con, I enjoyed every event I went to, and it was terrific to be able to chat with some of the luminaries of our field. The organization was generally good and invisible, and I can't imagine the extraordinary amount of work that must have gone into making that trick happen. My very grateful thanks to the ConCom and the volunteers.
As well as the pictures scattered throughout the report, you can see the full gallery of images here.