Chicon8 Day 4

It’s close to 1PM, and Melissa and I are sitting in comfy chairs away from everyone else. We still have a big dinner to attend tonight, and the Hugo’s after that, so there’s plenty of Chicon left. However, I think this will probably be my last collection of thoughts I’ll share on the convention, unless something really amazing happens.

Covid Cases

I think a lot of us assumed that people would come to the convention with Covid, whether they knew it or not, and that this would be a vector for infection. Melissa and I have been wearing masks and being as careful as we can be. Neither one of us are showing any symptoms, and we have no reason to believe we’re infected at this point. However, the emails from Chicon telling us about the reported cases are a little bit alarming.

It’s better to know than to not know, I think. But damn.

One of the cases reported being at Mary Robinette Kowal’s signing and her reading. With the cruise coming up, where we’re supposed to get on the boat a week from today, I really don’t want any of us getting infected at this point. The cruise wouldn’t be the same without Mary Robinette. So I’m hopeful we will all dodge this bullet, one more time.

As of this post, there have been 9 reported cases of Covid at Chicon8.


I don’t think I’m into attending panels anymore.

The nature of panels has always been that you never know what you’re going to get until you attend. You put a handful of people on the other side of a table and have them talk about a topic. Sometimes they stay on that topic. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re good at exploring interesting ideas. Other times, their words fall flat. The quality is random, and not everyone that has the opportunity to be on a panel should be on a panel.

I used to want to be a panelist. I thought that would be a kind of validation. Also, I really do want to pass on the things that I have learned and help people in their writing. I’ve been honing my craft for a long time, studying and practicing, and I think I have a lot to give back to the community.

I’m just not sure about the efficacy of panels anymore. I remember enjoying them so much. They were my favorite thing, and I couldn’t get enough of them. I took notes. I still have all the notes I’ve taken, going back to that first WorldCon in Reno, and all of the tiny conventions in between.

Now, the panels do not delight me. I find the panelists talking about subject matters that I have explored, and they’re either not bringing anything new to the table, or they’re not going as deep as they could go, or in the worst cases, they’re just wrong.


During the day, when not attending panels, I’ve hung out in public places to talk with people. I’ve also done some writing. Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day reading to Melissa. That was very nice, and a good use of our time. In the evening, I have tried going to the party rooms, but they’ve been crowded and uncomfortable. It’s hard to relax in a party room when it’s crowded and the possibility of Covid is so high.

Barcon is a little bit different. The last couple of nights, I’ve gone to the bar and hung out with some friends. That’s been nice. It doesn’t feel quite as chaotic and crowded as the party rooms, though it is crowded.

Maybe Barcon has been easier for me because there have been people there I know and can talk to. That’s been a nice part of the Chicon experience, for me.

Concluding Thoughts

I don’t regret coming to Chicon. There have been some high points that stand out to me. It’s been very expensive, and it’s a little bit difficult to justify the cost for the benefit of the experience. There’s also the constant threat of Covid. This close to the cruise, Covid has been heavy on my mind.

It’s nice to have a couple of days away from work. I severely needed to take a vacation. At this point, I feel like I need a vacation from the vacation.

There will always be a soft spot in my heart for WorldCon, but I’m not sure the need to go will persist much longer. Maybe when I get home, I’ll dedicate an entire post just to that. When it’s in Seattle in 2025, I’m sure I’ll attend. But I might start looking for different ways to spend my vacation time.