My Readercon Post
Number of men likely of Asian descent I saw (Yes, I really do track this, albeit informally): At least 4. This is most I've seen at any Readercon. (BTW, I'm using the American definition of Asian.) For whatever reason, there are usually more women likely of Asian descent although I don't know if that was the case this year.
Number of times I was approached because I'm a person of color: At least 1. He was a man of Chinese descent who was approaching everyone who looked even remotely Chinese to find out if they were. Having gone to conventions where, I swear, I was the only man who looked even remotely Asian, I'm actually sympathetic. However, I've never quizzed anyone on their ethnicity.
(This number is a little tricky to count. I mean, one year, someone who knew me but didn't know what I looked like found me from behind. i.e., he didn't need to look at the name tag.)
Number of gay speculative fiction writers of color attending: Obviously, I have no idea. I hope it was more than just Chip Delany and me.
There were a bunch of interesting panels. In particular, I really liked "The Seven Deadly Myths of Creativity" and "Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction." In the latter, I don't think the straight, white guy in the audience attempting to take over the panel recognized how ironic his behavior was. Andrea Hairston is an absolutely awesome moderator. She made sure everyone on the panel who wanted to speak had the chance to do so and kept the guy in the audience from hijacking the discussion. When I grow up and moderate panels, I want to be just like her and Elizabeth Bear who does a similarly awesome job.
I caught up with a lot of people. My apologies for not naming you all. This year, the list includes a surprising number of my Clarion instructors. (Seriously, the only instructors who weren't there were George RR Martin and Ann VanderMeer.) Due to missed connections, I still didn't catch up with everyone I wanted to. :( Also, there were a few people that I wanted to talk to that I didn't. Apparently, I'm really awful at going up to people I know of but don't know me, or people I know only electronically and introducing myself.
This is the first year where anyone was surprised that I'm not on any panels. My traditional excuse that I haven't sold anything yet doesn't cut it any more. With a story in Boston Review, one forthcoming in the anthology Bloody Fabulous and another forthcoming in Asimov's, I guess I can now claim to be a published writer. I suppose, for next year, I ought to apply to be on some. The worst thing that happens is they look at my qualifications and go "Feh!" It's not like there's any public shaming involved and I have at least a few months to work up the nerve.
This year, Jeff VanderMeer came to Readercon. (See above note about surprising number of my Clarion instructors.) So, I spent a bunch of time with him. Jeff is cool, cool, guy so that was a great time. My only regret was that the equally cool Ann VanderMeer couldn't make it due to schedule conflicts. *sigh*
As usual, I have my traditional angst about whether I should get a hotel room for a con I live so close to. What always happens is that end up leaving to go home just as things get interesting. (Not falling asleep on the drive home is A Good Thing.) Also, more and more, I find I need to go away and decompress. Of course, getting a hotel room increases the cost of the con for me by maybe an order of magnitude?
Right now, I'm going through my typical set of mixed feelings: regret that it's over and that I didn't do everything I wanted to and relief that I'm no longer in among so many people. One advantage to having a hotel room is that I can escape the crush of people without having to leave the con. Readercon seemed especially crowded this year, but I didn't feel the dire need to recharge that I felt during Arisia. Even if I start doing panels and the like, that's the main reason why I may never do so at Arisia.
(Note: This is not intended to be anything negative about Arisia. I had a great time. Like any busy, vibrant con, it was very large, loud and crowded. I can only take so much of that before I really need to escape. Worldcon will probably have the same issues for me. In that case, though, I'll have a hotel room.)
Oh, and I finished a short story during the con. Coincidentally, I did the same at Boskone.
Anyway, I've always loved Readercon and I still do. However, my relationship with it is changing. When I first went, I didn't know anyone and so it was like attending a set of literary seminars. (Yes, that's a compliment.) Over the years, how I interact with Readercon has become progressively social. I think I've only realized it this year because this is the year where, as much as I like everyone I spent time with, it was a relief to get away for a bit.
Readercon, actually any con, is only going to get more social for me. I don't know what to do about that yet. (Like I said, the right answer may be to get a hotel room for any con I go to. I can't be the only person who get a hotel room despite being local to a con?) From previous experience, it doesn't seem likely I'll figure out how to be more social without hitting some point where I just need to get away and recharge. (I'm a bit envious of the people who can spent lots and lots of time dealing with people. For me, it really is work.)