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At the 2006 SF Worldcon in Anaheim

So I was in Anaheim for the science fiction World Convention. Anaheim is so 21st Century, insanely large buildings, everything so clean. A land of giant machines. You half-expect the buildings to slide around on rails. It’s reassuring after all to have an SF movie star for our governor. People just live in Southern California as if it’s their lives. Always a surprise when you visit somewhere and it's actual people there.

The con was celebrating an anniversary of Star Trek as well. This display of vintage Trek uniforms looks just like a display I saw in the Prada store in SoHo a few years ago. Prada IS Star Trek. The con exhibit room was giant, cold, a little alienating. Made me miss my back yard, like it was on another time or planet.

A number of the guys were wearing skirts. SF fans are a strange lot of people. They like cons as they’re then unfettered by ordinary life. I have a theory that the fans have huge sexual orgies, that they get it on much more than the pros do. A mound of them naked on top of a Star Trek figure, like the South African “erdmaennnchen” or “meerkats” who live in great heaps.

Periodically I went outside to get some sunshine and air. Generally the fans and pros (that is writers and editors) at a con don’t mix all that much. I get a little depressed and worried at cons. Is this really my audience? Well, actually most of them don’t in fact read my books. But indeed I do have some readers at the con.

We pros make appearances on panels and sign books and “get to know the fans” a bit, but mainly I for one am eager to talk to other writers. It’s just a lonely job, so it’s good to share stories. The exhibitors are another subspecies; this guy, Fred Barton, makes and sells copies of famous robots, although he didn’t make the Jessica Rabbit, who’s from Disney.

This is Gigantor. I love that name. Does Disney sell “anatomically correct” versions of Jessica Rabbit? It’s the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, right next door to the hotel. Walt’s ghosts hovers above the scene, palpable. His frozen body somewhere nearby. Strange place.

I got the feeling a lot of the fans were lonely people, these ones doing things in groups were the happy ones. Fireworks every night over the park, visible from the better rooms in the hotel. It was relaxing, when the con got to be too much, to go outside and see normal people who were in the hotel just to see Disneyland, excitedly getting on the shuttle bus.

A high point of the con is the Masquerade, when people appear in home made costumes. This crew was cute, they were illustrating characters from some TV cartoon show.

And this guy was I think a character called Hell Boy. They’d go on stage in the arena and then pose behind the scenes where a crowd of bloggy paparazzes like me waited.

These women were hot. They dressed this way every day. That’s Barbarella on the right, and the woman on the left is modeling a character from Mars Attacks.

Zombie Schoolboy with a pen in his head. Rode in the elevator with him and his friends, all very cheerful. I met some younger writers who liked my work, that felt good. And a few had already heard of FLURB. It was good, but basically I’m glad to be home, back to writing for imaginary readers.

I should mention that a few stars were in attendance as well. I’m used to meeting SF writers, what got me excited was meeting no less a figure than Craig of Craig’s List. He and I talked about Walt a bit. It felt almost like being in Rome, talking about the Pope.

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