WorldCon 2020 was hosted in New Zealand amid the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of pivoting from a real life convention to the first ever virtual World Science Fiction Convention, the organisers managed to deliver a terrific experience. Through the use of Discord and Zoom, the sense of community and fandom was alive and well. Yes, there were some technical hitches and a sharp learning curve for many attendees, but it was still freakin’ fabulous to be able to take part in so many thought-provoking panels and meet so many like-minded folks.
I had the privilege of being a panelist and moderator for these three sessions:
Asian Women of Horror: The Experience of Perpetual “Otherness” Through the Lens of Dark Fiction
Asian women of horror dissect their experiences of “otherness.” Whether in the colour of their skin, the angle of their cheekbones, the things they dare to write, or the places they have made for themselves in the world, how does dark fiction let us explore their very real experience?
Moderator: Geneve Flynn
Panelists: Lee Murray, Prema Arasu, Umiyuri Katsuyama
How to Work with Editors
There are all kinds of editors: those that edit novels, short fiction, journalism, and so forth. We can’t forget acquisitions editors, developmental editors, or the copy editors, of course. How does each kind of editor work with writers? How should you, the writer, best work with them?
Moderator: Joshua Bilmes
Panelists: Liz Gorinsky, Aidan Doyle, Katrina Archer, Geneve Flynn
Horror from Elsewhere
We’re very familiar with US/UK horror…but what about horror from elsewhere. A look at horror from around the world.
Moderator: Geneve Flynn
Panelists: Ellen Datlow, Kat Clay, Chikodili Emelumadu, Dr. Octavia Cade
It was great to chat with everyone on the panels and I came away with a teetering to-be-read pile.
There were many fascinating topics throughout the five days of programming and I was exhilarated and exhausted by the final day.
Along with the programming at conventions, it’s the moments in between that I love. It’s in those moments where you make unexpected friendships, bump into that creator you’ve always admired, or launch a project with a new connection. Despite the lack of face-to-face contact, CoNZealand delivered all of that and more.
Thanks a million to the organisers, volunteers, and participants who made it all possible. Here’s to next year’s WorldCon.
P.S. Brisbane, Australia has a bid in for WorldCon 2025. I’m ridiculously excited. Have a look here if you’d like to learn more or get involved.