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Monday, August 31, 2015

Worldcon 2015: Spokane WA

The 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Spokane, WA, has come and gone.  My friend and I made the Great Road Trip from (Duluth) Minneapolis to Spokane and back, enjoying such sites as the plains of North Dakota, driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, along the Yellowstone and Clark Fork Rivers, and the mountains of western Montana and Idaho.  Granted, this was all viewed from the seat of our rental car, but it was things we would have missed if we had flown.

The convention itself was one of the most enjoyable con's I have been too:  situated right along the Spokane River, we had maybe a half mile walk to the convention center from our hotel.  The convention center itself was an eclectic group of buildings, which worried me at first about getting from one end to the other, but it was easy enough to figure out the rooms and the convention center staff were incredibly helpful in pointing me in the right direction.

We arrived late Tuesday Evening, and took some time Wednesday morning to run up to the large cat sanctuary: Cat Tales Zoo    We buzzed back to our hotel where I went off to a yoga class and later to the convention!  Here's a list of what I attended:

Wednesday:
Opening Ceremonies
Accounts and History of the Spokane Tribe
Legends and Lore of the Inland Northwest

Thursday:
Thursday morning my friend and I went to the most amazing yarn store!  Paradise Fibers  Yarn! Yarn and more yarn!  Weaving! Spinning!  A whole wall covered in different kinds of needles!  The staff was incredibly friendly, helping to point out local yarns and chatting while winding my yarn into cakes.  It was truly a unique experience for me.  We were told during our visit that Paradise Fibers has a very robust online sales presence - something I will probably take advantage of down the line!

And then it was back to the convention for these panels: 
Guided Tour of the Art Show
Stories of the Spokane Tribe
The Past, Present, and Future of Military SF
What's new in Astronomy (left early)
The Changing Face of Hard SF

Sometime mid afternoon on Thursday I had an hour of downtime went and took a gondola ride over the Spokane Falls then walked around their river walk. I captured some interesting waterfall pictures, sculptures, and a watched an active carousel.

View of Spokane River below the falls from the gondola

Spokane Falls and Washington Powerworks Building

A garbage eating goat!  You push a button, then put something like a piece of paper by his mouth and whoosh!  It's gone!


Artwork on the Riverwalk. 

Which was a good thing because by Friday afternoon the air quality was so bad from the forest fires the City of Spokane was issuing hazardous air quality alerts.   I head from a local that this was the worst it had been since Mt. St. Helen's blew up in 1980.

Smoke haze from the fires in Washington.

Friday:
Urban Fantasy as Modern Fairy Tale
Hidden Diversity in Classic SF
Classic SF You Should Read
Infamous Bad Book Covers
Adapting the Human Body for Low Gravity
What's New from Ace/Roc

Saturday:
Dawn of the Asteroid Belt: Exploring Ceres and Vesta
Vonda McIntyre's Dreamsnake
Fantasy and Supernatural Noir
Geology of Spokane

New Space Opera
Near Event Horizon's and Black Holes

The air cleared up again on Saturday so I got out for another river walk.

Spokane River below the falls.
Spokane Falls

Artwork on the Riverwalk


Sunday and Monday we were on the road again, putting on some miles in order to get the rental car back on time.  

I thought the programming was outstanding this year.  More often than not there were several things I wanted to go to in any given block of time.  And the variety was really good - I could bounce from a session on the history of the Spokane Indians, to astronomy, to a panel on an aspect of literature, to what's new from a publisher...and I'm only touching on those items that were interesting to me.  There were a plethora of steampunk panels, science panels, writing panels, gaming, costuming and more.

There was heap loads of drama surrounding the 2015 Hugo Nominations and Awards, but really, "they" can take the drama and stuff it.  If you're curious, google 2015 Hugos and Sad Puppies.  But really, it's not worth your time.

Next year will find us traveling to Kansas City for Worldcon 2016: MidAmerica Con!


1 comment:

Dee said...

Your pictures of the Spokane River area are beautiful. That was quite some carousel!

Glad you had such a good time. Makes the time in the car well worth it.

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