Kansas City was recently host to the 74th World Science Fiction Convention. Worldcon is sort of like the Olympics or World Cup, in that different cities around the world bid on hosting the convention, and this year it was held in Kansas City.
I attended Worldcon to help represent my husband’s fantasy adventure series, Angst, so I was pretty much booth-bound for my time there, stepping out only for a George R.R. Martin reading. But John and Jerry of WCPE very graciously agreed to write up a recap for KC Geeks, as they were able to participate in a lot more of the con than me. Take it away, John and Jerry!
We had the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of the 74th Worldcon held in Kansas City August 17-21, 2016. This was the Worldcon’s second visit to Kansas City, where it is known locally as MidAmeriCon.
Normally when we attend conventions, we are working a booth for our podcast or promoting the Hero Initiative. So it is a rare treat for us to walk the floor as guests, taking in the panels and activities of the show.
We made it a point to attend multiple events on Friday and Saturday. Some highlights include:
- An autograph session for the new Wild Cards anthology, “High Stakes.” This was actually an event held by Rainy Day Books at the convention hotel. It included George R.R. Martin, Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, David Anthony Durham, Caroline Spector, Stephen Leigh, and Ian Tregillis as well as about a dozen other writers from other collections. Bob Wayne, longtime DC Comics Vice-President was there as well.
- A Literary Beer with comic book writer Kurt Busiek. Since breaking into comics in the early 1980s, Busiek has become one of the most prolific comic book writers of the last 30 years. The Literary Beer gave a small group of guests the opportunity to speak to a writer off the record, and Busiek obliged with great stories about getting his start in comics.
- A film critique panel of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” featuring Matt Jacobson, Julia Rios, and Busiek. The panelists offered an honest, and sometimes brutal, assessment of this film, dealing with the plot, the holes in the storytelling, the poor representation of some of the characters, and more.
- The Superheroes: Oversaturated or Raising the Bar? panel took a look at the comic book influences in popular media from the 1940s to today.
- Comics on the Small Screen panel focused on the plethora of comic book-based TV shows – what works, what doesn’t, and how the presentation of the shows change depending on the delivery method.
- There were several panels featuring NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps and Stanley Love. Both astronauts were incredible ambassadors for science and science education and were very gracious with their time and energy.
- Comics Confrontational! Social Issues in Recent Comics panel was an interesting look at how comics can be used to promote change. We were particularly impressed with panelist Sumana Harihareswara’s insights that she brought to the discussion.
- Reboot! Changing Up Comic Characters panel covered the multiple new takes on so many familiar characters, such as Spider-Man, Thor, and even Archie.
Finally, just getting to meet authors, whether well-established or new to the scene, was a great treat. Highlights include Alan Dean Foster and David Gerrold, who helped shape the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises when there was very little going on in those worlds.
Thanks so much for sharing your Worldcon experiences, John and Jerry! For more of their thoughts on Worldcon, check out their upcoming podcast on September 2, which can be found on iTunes and on their website, worstcomicpodcastever.com. In addition, you will DEFINITELY want to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.