Chicon 2000

Tips for the Newcomer

Rev. 09-Apr-2015
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On our All-Purpose Message Board, someone asked:

"Hello, my sister and I are new to Worldcon, and we were wondering if anyone had tips on enjoying the festivities... any information would be welcome."

Bring at least two pairs of comfortable shoes. Nothing will ruin a convention faster than blistered feet. The Chicon Convention area isn't the largest a Worldcon has been in, but it is pretty big. You will be walking frequently.

Bring a sweater and a jacket. Chicago's weather can get strange, and as the Hyatt is located on the lake, it can be 20 degrees cooler than the offical temperature. Also, Chicago is the Windy City, and the Hyatt's right on the river, which means it can be breezy. (And the air-conditioning in the hotels can get chilly at times, too.)

Bring business cards or something you can give new friends when you meet them. Bring a little notebook to write down addresses of your new friends who didn't bring their cards.

Passovoy's Rule: Get 5 hours sleep and two meals a day. Smart-alecks say that you can reverse the two, but they are wrong. More sleep is better, of course. Furthermore, make sure that one of those meals is substantial. Hotel breakfast buffets are great for this. Healthy, no. Loaded with energy rich fats and carbos, yes. You will be running at top speed for 5 days-this is not the time to skimp on fuel.

Note: Bob Passovoy wrote an article on "Surviving a 5-day Worldcon" for Chicon 1, and may have recommended 6 hours per night. Ross Pavlac put a similar bit in the Windycon program book and suggested 5 hours.

GAFIA's Rule: In a five day convention, you should get away from it all for about 10 hours total. Go sit in your room for a couple of hours. Go for a walk. Chicago's a wonderful city to walk in. Go out for a meal, go to a museum, but go! Nobody can take 120 straight hours of a convention and stay sane.

Find the Daily Newsletter and read it. It'll have program changes, party listings, gossip, and other useful tidbits. You'll be able to find it everywhere.

The Convention Exclusion Principle: You will miss something cool at a Worldcon. That's because there's too much going on at once to see it all. Don't try. Just go through the con at your pace, and if you see something cool, trade stories with someone else.

Go to the art show. It'll take a long time to see everything there - plan on spending an entire afternoon.

Don't spend all your time in the dealers room. Don't spend all your money in the dealers room. When the dealers room closes, and when the daytime panels are over for the day - DON'T just disappear until the next day. (The convention isn't over at 6 o'clock.) There's plenty of stuff going on in the evening. Go to the parties. Go to the con suite.

The Herd Instinct Law: When in doubt, find a big group of people and follow them. Go to the Masquerade. Go to the Hugo Awards. The things that have huge crowds waiting to get in are worth waiting in line for.

Stay on-site, don't drive home at night. You miss things by leaving early, and if you stay until you're really tired it won't be safe to drive.

Above all, this is supposed to be fun.

As we get closer to the convention, watch, which will post both more above events and programming at the convention, and events and attractions in Chicago itself.

A Worldcon only comes to Chicago about once a decade. Next year it's in Philadelphia [www], after that San Jose CA [www] and beyond that, who knows.

And if you want to travel to the next Worldcon, remember the cheapest membership prices are the ones you get for joining earliest.

See also: Science Fiction Convention Survival Kit for Newbies [www]

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