It’s hard to write about something like Worldcon.  The multi-day, 10,000 plus attendee event seemed like it lasted a pleasant lifetime for people who were there and we’ve all emerged a little shell-shocked.
In many ways, it was no different to other conventions where the usual suspects meet up, go to panels, drink beer and swap gossip…  but on a Galactus world-eating scale.  However, I think the thing I’ll take away from Worldcon was how intimate it felt.

I always feel odd at conventions, a bit of a square peg in a round hole.  I can be quite loud, quite extroverted, full of banter and guilty of speaking before I think.  I have moments when I want to hold court and be the centre of attention, to swap banter back and forth.  But I’m acutely aware that many people in the SFF community can be quite introverted and I genuinely worry about drowning them out.  I believe in everyone having a good time and being included, so, as a result, I spend a lot of time at conventions feeling like I’m muting or not being myself.
It’s probably for the best most of the time (I never want to be THAT guy) but it’s taken me years to get used to it.  Social interaction at conventions often feels awkward, somehow clumsy whereas outside that environment I find it quite easy and natural.
But Worldcon felt different and I’m still not entirely sure why.  Maybe I’ve found the right balance of introvert and extrovert in me to approach these conventions, maybe I know people better that I feel I can let my guard down a little?
And yet, I don’t think it’s that.  On a walk I met Mary Anne and Dominick, two lovely people from the US.  We had a great chat and it was relaxed, informative and interesting, not the usual awkward and muted.  Even with those friends I only get time to say a brief hello to, it was a lot more friendly and warm.
I think then, that it was down to me.  And if that’s the case, I’m not entirely sure why.  Nothing has really changed since Nine Worlds less than a week prior.  Perhaps then it was the fact that I gave myself a mission to complete most days.  I dislike the term “networking” – it seems so impersonal  – but I’d gone to introduce myself to a few people with a view that perhaps, years down the line, it may pay career dividends.
It’s possible that the simple act of putting myself forward made me step through my self-enforced convention persona and open myself up a little but the net result was a con that was about connections.  Not cynical industry connections, but personal ones, whether they be for business or just meeting old friends or new people.
As a result, everything felt so much more relaxed.  I usually come away from a convention feeling invisible and small, but I came away from Worldcon  with just great memories.  Whether it be laughing about Rick Moranis with Ruth and the Glasgow crew, doing a reading as part of the Pirate Program, being taken along to a birthday party by C E Murphy or just bumping into friends in the dealers room, I had a truly great time.  There were new people along the way as well, some friends of friends, some just random new people.  All were fun and interesting.  Seriously, if I met you, you were fab!
So I came away from Worldcon not overloaded with the literary PTSD of a huge number of panels, awards and events, but mostly feeling warm about those personal connections I’d made or strengthened.  It seems strange that something so large could feel so intimate but I had a truly great time and I’ll look back at Loncon3 as possibly my favourite convention ever.