Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Why I’m not going to the World Fantasy Convention this year

by Rob - October 21st, 2009.
Filed under: cons, Conventions.

Answer: because they don’t sell memberships at the door, and they cap sales for pre-registration.

This weekend, I have to be in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a presenter at the Surrey International Writers Conference. Sometime shortly after that — but the date is yet to be precisely nailed down, but it might be Friday, October 30, and it might be Monday, November 2 — I have to go to Los Angeles, to do some work on FlashForward, the TV series based on my novel of the same name.

So, what’s in between Vancouver and Los Angeles, and is taking place between the dates I have to be in those two places? Why, San Jose, and this year’s World Fantasy Convention, which is being held there.

But I can’t buy a ticket now, unless I hunt around to find someone who isn’t going and is willing to sell theirs, and I can’t buy one at the door at any price. I understand that World Fantasy wants to keep out last-minute local goths and vampire-junkies who might get wind of the convention through the media as it’s happening, but the effect of their membership-cap and no-at-the-door-sales policies is to keep me away.

Surely the same effect of keeping outsiders out could be accomplished by limiting at-the-door sales to publishing professionals (employees of publishing companies, active members of SFWA, etc.)? And surely a handful of at-the-door sales to people who obviously belong couldn’t really overrun the convention’s capacity?

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