Tangent Photo Gallery #10

Saturday, 25 August 2018 10:41 Dave Truesdale

Photos from Worldcon 76, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention

San Jose, CA, August 16-20, 2018

I arrived early Friday afternoon, the 17th, and returned home to Kansas City, MO early Monday afternoon, the 20th. Saturday the 18th there was a scheduled protest between the hours of 1 and 4 PM in front of the convention center; one side protesting several issues having to do with the SF field, and the other a counter-protest consisting of antifa and assorted others on that side. I took several shots just after the protest began and a few nearing the end of the scheduled time period. I can speak only to what I actually saw at these separate times, which was not more than a few dozen at one point on one side and maybe the same or fewer on the other (the counter protesters). In short, the protest didn't seem to amount to much at all, with the shouted words from both sides, and the invective (mostly from the antifa side) not rising much beyond the "Your Mama" level of seriousness, at least when it comes to hardcore protest trash talking. Police presence was heavier than necessary as it turned out, and when I asked an officer why so many were at the ready (as backup and not at the protest proper) he just smiled and said they were there "just in case." A few fans sat resting in the convention center lobby or behind the second floor balcony railing and looked out upon the peaceful protest, some not even knowing or caring what it was all about. I overheard a number of fans asking other fans what was going on, and only a few could give even a halfway accurate answer, to which those asking the question said "Oh," shrugged, and continued to a panel or the huckster room.

[Left: Leading up to the convention center (which would be up the stairs to the left in this shot and across a broad walkway to the front doors), we have the original SF protest. Right: After being asked by an officer who saw me taking the photo at left if I was part of the protesters I was taking the photo of, I said no. He then told me I couldn't stand in the middle between both sides and asked me to move on. I asked if I could go in the front door to the convention center and he said "Sure." So the shot on the right is of the counter-protesters a few seconds after I took the one on the left and from the broad plaza halfway to the front doors of the convention center. There's more cops than protesters on either side at this early point, about half an hour in.]


[Below left: Another shot of the original protesters taken a few seconds after the one above right, from the broad walkup to the convention center with the convention center at my back. You can see the line of cops better from this angle, and that there aren't that many protesters. Again, this is about half an hour in. Below right: Several hours later just after 3 PM I took this one after exiting through a ground floor door to the left of the main plaza. Still only a dozen or so original protesters with maybe a dozen fans looking on. The red, white, and blue blood drive bus is visibile, but unfortunately had to be shut down because of the protesters. Those wishing to donate blood had to rearrange their schedules (maybe missing a panel or autograph session with their favorite author) because of this inconvenience and were understandably upset.]


[Below: About a minute after taking the shot above right I crossed the street to get a more panoramic shot of the whole scene. The closed down blood drive bus is on the right, blocking the view of the few original protesters still present. Lower left you might be able to make out the few remaining counter-protesters below the shorter building under the Arcadia logo (which I'm sure you can't see from this pic). Not much happening on either side and not much of a protest at 3 hours in. Almost more cops than protesters and their numbers have dwindled as it became apparent they weren't needed.]

[Below: After I took the shot above I turned around and walked maybe 20 yards to an alley between two buildings that I used often over the weekend as my shortcut to and from the convention center and the AC Marriott hotel where I stayed, about half a mile away. This is where all the backup cops were parking and hanging out hours before the scheduled protest "just in case." This shot is taken about halfway down the alley/parkway between the buildings just across the street and kitty-corner from the convention center, it being behind me at this point. You can't see all of the police cars from this angle but I counted them as I walked through. From this back half there were 15, and behind me there were at least another 10, making at least 25 backup units of different sizes. Most of the backup cops were behind me at this point, peeking out at the convention center from around the entrance to the alley/parkway, or just chatting in small groups.]


Convention Center, panels, and fan/pro photos

(in no particular order)

[Below: As you enter the convention center through a wall of glass doors, to the right you'd find a broad staircase leading to the 2nd floor where many activities, including the huckster room, were located. I think of this 2nd floor open expanse as the mezzanine. If you took a left at the top of the stairs and walked all the way down the broad hall to the left you'd find the area shown below, where fans could sit and relax. Off to the right were several long hallways lined with numerous rooms where panels were held.]

[Below: To the right of the shot above and before you would get to it there was the self-explanatory Worldcon Party Board, listing all the parties (open or invitation only, etc.) and the when and where of them for each night.]

[Below: To the right of the shot above, and working our way back to the staircase opening onto the 2nd floor, there was this display of various brochures, announcements, upcoming convention flyers, and much more to interest fans.]

To the right of the above display and on the same side of the long hallway and across from the staircase opening onto the second floor, were doors leading to the large, well-stocked dealer's room. Many of the following photos were taken there, while some are from elsewhere around the con.

[Below: Greg Ketter, owner of DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis. Established in 1977, it is believed to be the second oldest SF bookstore in the country, behind only Uncle Hugos, also in Minneapolis. Greg and I have known each other since the 1990s and it was great catching up with him again.]

[Below: Harry Turtledove]

[Below: Linda Nagata, one of my favorite hard SF authors, and all the way from her home in Hawaii!]

[Below: L.E. Modesitt at the Galaxy's Edge table. He and I were two of the five World Fantasy Award judges in 1998 but only now after 20 years did we find the opportunity to have a decent chat. He is a fascinating man who is a pleasure to talk with and listen to, and writes some of the most entertaining SF and Fantasy novels to be found today--and has been doing so successfully for decades.]

[Below: Matthew Hughes]

[Below: Sheila Finch, one of my favorite people.]

[Below: Rick Wilber. I really enjoy his fictional stories about Moe Berg, a real life baseball player/spy during WWII.]

[Below: Steve Rasnic Tem]

[Below Left: Lezli Robyn, helping out at the Galaxy's Edge dealer's table. Below Right: Galaxy's Edge Publisher Shahid Mahmud. Both Lezli and Shahid are two of the most delightful people I've met in a long time. Shahid's enthusiasm and love of SF is infectious. We talked for quite some time about this and that, and his intelligence and sense of humor shone through everything. I can't imagine anyone not liking Shahid once they've met him.]

[Below Left: The lovely and talented Lezli Robyn wearing a beautiful red cape given to her as a gift. Below Right: Not to be outdone, the handsome and talented Shahid Mahmud proudly dons the beautiful red cape.]

[Below: F. Brett Cox (L) & James Van Pelt (R), manning the Fairwood Press booth in the huckster room. Two extraordinary writers and gentlemen both.]

[Below: Ellen Datlow & Greg Benford. 'Nuff said.]

[Below: Robert Silverberg & Melinda M. Snodgrass. In the background over Silverberg's right shoulder and with the hat is George R.R. Martin.]

[Below: 4 of the 6 Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History panelists (from left to right): Brent Harris, Alan Smale, Gregory Benford, Moshe Feder. All but Moshe were finalists, Moshe being a former Sidewise judge.]

[Below: The remaining pair of Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History panelists, the 2018 winners with their plaques, presented at the end of the panel by Award Administrator Steven H Silver. Harry Turtledove (L) for Best Short Fiction ("Zigeuner" from Asimov's, 9-10/17), and Bryce Zabel (R) for Best Novel (Once There Was a Way, 12/17, Diversion Books).]

[Below: Twin brothers James & Gregory Benford. Many know of Greg's Nebula award winning SF and his work as an astrophysicist and plasma physicist, but James has done extensive work in the sciences himself as the president of Microwave Sciences, which deals with high power microwave systems from conceptual designs to hardware. Over the past forty-five years of scientific research he has written 145 scientific papers and six books on physics topics, including the textbook High Power Microwaves, now in its second edition. His current scientific interest is electromagnetic power beaming for space propulsion. In earlier decades, he was active in science fiction fandom and co-edited the fanzine Void in the 1950s with Greg, and wrote some SF in the 1970s. In 2013 he and Greg edited the combined science speculation and science fiction coffee table book Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon, some of the contributors being Stephen Hawking, Freeman Dyson, Geoffrey Landis, John Cramer, Paul Davies, Stephen Baxter, Allen Steele, Nancy Kress, David Brin, Joe Haldeman, and Neal Stephenson.]

On a closing note, I would like to give my undying thanks to Greg Benford, for if not for Greg I wouldn't have been able to attend the worldcon at all. In early January of 2018 Greg emailed to ask if I would be going to the worldcon in San Jose in August, to which I replied that I wouldn't, the cost being prohibitive for someone like myself living entirely on my paltry social security. Turns out Greg was one of those who thought I got a really raw deal at the 2016 worldcon in Kansas City (my hometown) when my membership was revoked due to some anti-PC remarks I made while moderating a panel, and to which some people were offended and reported me to the Incident Response Team, who in essence then kicked me out of the convention. Many pros and fans thought this was a terrible decision and totally unwarranted. So when I told Greg I wouldn't be going to San Jose he wrote the worldcon convention committee and asked if they could at least in part redress the injustice done to me by (in some way or other, I guessed maybe a free membership) helping me get to the worldcon, and he would help as well. Time went by and Greg received no response. Many weeks went by, then almost two months, and still no response until Greg gave up waiting for one. The San Jose worldcon committee had snubbed him, not even deigning to give him a simple polite reply, even one in the negative. Greg then took it upon himself to make sure I made it to the worldcon this year by paying my entire way out of his own pocket: roundtrip airfare from Kansas City, MO, expensive convention membership, hotel, transportation to and from airports both ways, meals, incidental expenses, spending money--everything. Greg paid it all out of his own pocket. Those who had to fly to San Jose from afar and spring for a hotel room know how much money it takes to make it through a 4-5 day worldcon, so you can hazard a pretty good guess how much Greg Benford shelled out to make sure I could make it to San Jose. I'll never forget his kindness and generosity. Something like this makes for one of life's most memorable experiences and is certainly one of, if not the, most memorable in my 45+ years in the SF world. Thank you, Greg.

Photos copyright © 2018, Dave Truesdale
All rights reserved.