Monday of Worldcon is the wind down as our annual Village of Fandom prepares to disperse to the four winds once again. In this case, that means literally, given that so much of Loncon 3 took place in the Fan Village.
This is the stand that was on stage during the Hugo Awards guarded by Beefeaters and that contained the Hugo Award trophies. It was moved down to the Fan Village sometime before mid-day Monday. It's wood, solid, and heavy. Later in the day this notice appeared on it:
They weren't kidding. There was no place for this display to do, and unless someone offered to haul it away, it was going to be scrapped in place. This is a pity. I found myself thinking, "It's a good job this wasn't rolled out at Renovation; I would have said, 'You know, I'm buying a house just a few miles from here on Tuesday morning; if you can get it on a truck out to Fernley, I'll take it off your hands.'" Then of course I'd still have it in my garage with me wondering what to do with it.
In contrast, the Hugo Trophy Display in the Dealers Room is all flat-pack and broke down to be shipped on to the next Worldcon, which is a great idea.
Lisa and I slept in a bit on Monday, there being no WSFS Business Meeting. We still had to get up early enough to get the included breakfast, but at least it wasn't up at 6:30 AM like it had been the previous three days. We made our way gingerly to the ExCel. At one point Lisa and I got separated, and she went on to the SJ in 2018 table, which was one of the default locations for me to find her. There I found travelswithkuma had something to show off.
Kuma won a Hall Costume Award for his Dangermouse costume (I neglected to get a photo of him in it this year) and his WSFS jumpsuit that matches Lisa and me.
Lisa and I were in the Dealers Room when it closed at 2 PM. I had been thanking Phil and Kaja Foglio for letting me play in their universe during the Girl Genius Radio Theatre and commiserating with them not winning the Graphic Story Hugo this year. As Lisa and I were on our way out of the hall, she spotted a couple of patches (marked two for £5) she wanted on one dealer's table. Turned out the dealer was away getting stuff for move-out, and his neighbor didn't know when he would be back. We put a £5 in the display for the patches and took two patches. We hope that was okay.
We went to the 2016 Worldcon table to convert our memberships for MidAmeriCon2. They had us doing it directly on computers, so I sat down and did our business. Their credit-card acceptance uses PayPal, and I made my payment there. Shortly thereafter, I got an e-mail from PayPal informing me that they'd locked my account for suspicious activity. Groan.
This photo isn't very good, but it's the only one I have of the Second Stage area whose 1200 seats were mostly full by the time the Closing Ceremonies were under way. Co-Chairs Steve Cooper and Alice Lawson brought the Guests of Honour on stage one last time and presented them with gifts and brought down the gavel on the convention. (Alas, the official Gavel of WSFS I commissioned in 1994 was apparently lost in Chicago after having been handed over to LoneStarCon 3, which I find terribly disappointing after I spent more than a decade mother-henning it between Worldcons.) They then invited Sally Worhle, chair of next year's Worldcon, on stage before disappearing into a TARDIS. You see, they came to last year's Closing Ceremonies to tell us all what a great time we were going to have, so they needed to get going as they had an appointment to keep last year in San Antonio.
Lisa and I got into the act here, along with all of the other staff/committee of the 2015 Worldcon, as we'd all been coached to wear our Sasquan gear and participate in a parade as Sally was stalked by a Sasquatch on stage. Sally persuaded 'Squatch to join us, and we all marched out of the hall, tossing huckleberry candy (a regional specialty from Spokane) to the fans in the crowd. And that was the last official program item of Loncon 3.
It doesn't really end there, of course. Besides the frantic effort of tearing down and moving out (about which more later), there is the matter of the Dead Dog Party, which was soon going full blast in the Fan Village. Lisa and I, however, needed dinner, and thus found ourselves in the Food Court having our last Cornish pasties and Chicken and Lamb Marsala, respectively, of this convention.
This Indian stand in particular stands out. They were open huge hours, staying open until long after midnight when all the other stands (like the pasty shop next door) had given up. They seemed pretty good-natured about it, and I hope we made it worth their while.
We were joined for dinner by Linda Deneroff, Sharon Sbarsky, Judy Bemis, and Tony Parker. It was nice to have a meal I didn't have to inhale on account of being in a hurry to get somewhere else soon.
After dinner, we attended a BASFA meeting in exile at the San Jose in 2018 bid table (more members there than at the regular meeting back in the Bay Area, I learned later). Lisa and I went back to the room to rest for a little while and for me to try and get caught up on my accounting. While doing so, I discovered to my great annoyance that only two of my three Chase-issued Credit cards are FX-transaction-fee-free, and I'd been using the other one to buy meals this week. Groan again. That's a waste of money.
I tried to unlock my PayPal account. I was able to send them a copy of government-issued ID that has an address the same as what they show on the account. Unfortunately, they also wanted to call me, and the only phones I have with me that can receive calls in the UK aren't associated with the PayPal account. So it looks like I'm going to have to wait until I get home to straighten this out. Groan x3. I hope this doesn't prevent the charge for our memberships from going through.
For unclear reasons, the hotel left us these sweets. I ate two of them and left the others behind. I guess I should have tried to find a way to box them up and take them back to the ExCel as a contribution to the Former Worldcon Chairs party. Now typically this needs some door dragons to keep out the uninvited guests, but they hardly needed to bother this year, inasmuch as the party was buried in the South Gallery Rooms, which I suspect most of the members didn't even know existed, given that they were across a vacant display hall and up two flights of stairs to a long corridor. The convention put many functions that were dedicated or confidential up here. Apparently the post-Hugo Party was up here the night before.
The view from the balcony outside South Gallery 21 was very nice. Here's a shot of the Victoria Dock that the ExCel overlooks, toward the Emirates Air Line cable car line (the red pods strung on wires) across the water.
Lisa let Kuma Bear sit on a high table in the middle of the room, figuring that most people at the party know him and wouldn't take him away. She also gave Kuma a big airship-shaped balloon. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of him with it.
As the evening wore on, we realized that we had not inducted our newest members to the Former Worldcon Chairs' Club, and I was detailed to see if I could find them and drag them back up to SG 21. Lisa and I headed for the Fan Village, where eventually I found both Alice and Steve, who were dutifully mingling with the general membership, as I'm sure I would have done in their shoes. With Martin Easterbrook's help, we were able to persuade them to make one last trip to the South Gallery before the night ended.
To the cheers and applause of the people at the Old Pharts' Party, Dave McCarty presented Steve And Alice with their much sought-after Former Worldcon Chair ribbons.
I reported that the Rumour of the Week at BASFA that evening was "London in 2014? Take my money, please!" Alice pointed out that the river was right outside the door and that I was welcome to jump over the rail at any time along with anyone else spounting nonsense.
Around 11 PM, Lisa and I left the South Gallery for good and went to the Fan Village for the final dregs of the Dead Dog party, which was scheduled to end at Midnight. Cheryl Morgan was there as well, after a brief worry earlier in the day when it appeared that her things might have been mislaid in the Dealers Room where they'd been stored when they closed earlier than she (and I) thought they would. (No problem; everything was where it should be.)
About 11:35 pm, there was an announcement in the Fan Village that, like most announcements there, was difficult to hear. A follow-up announcement was a bit easier, if also worrying: "All gophers are needed immediately in the Capitol Suite, as we must get gear moved out of there by midnight!" Being aware of how at least potentially, not clearing out of space you've rented until midnight can leave you susceptible to paying an entire extra day of rent, I decided to chip in, as did Lisa (once I translated Tannoy into American so she knew what the announcement actually was), and so did many others.
I trotted upstairs and said, "I'm not a gopher. Will a Former Worldcon Chair do?" Apparently the answer was yes, as they pointed me at some tech gear piled up there and told me to carry it down to the Ops desk in the Fan Village.
Many hands make light work, and while it appeared to be a near-run thing, it looks to me like the application of so many people to the task managed to clear the log jam and get the third floor cleared just in time for it to turn back into a pumpkin.
As midnight struck, the Fan Village began to empty. I said my goodbyes to Cheryl and to many other people like Flick (who I once again thanked for her generous editing of my WSFS newsletter items), and Lisa and I and made our last trek through the cavernous ExCel and back to the hotel. Mint Leaves was still open, but just barely, and I thanked them one last time for feeding us so well.
Returning to the hotel room, we unwound as best we could. Tired as I was, it still took quite a while, probably due to drinking a large mocha and two cans of Diet Coke that evening.
And that was that. Our Worldcon was over. I'd say that this was one of the best I've ever attended. The main issues I had were the excessive queues on the first day, and the issues that were facilities-related: specifically, the sheer size of the building (apparently 950 m from end to end) that meant few of us had to worry about getting 10,000 steps/day in exercise. But the organization and execution of the convention was mostly very well done, and I personally had an excellent time. I'd even come back and do it again, even in the same facility, if I knew it was going to go as well as this one did.
Loncon 3 is the largest Worldcon every held by one standard (total members; it's the first Worldcon to have more than 10,000 members) and looks like it may be the largest one by individual-attendee count since the first one I ever attended, L.A.con II in 1984, which is the largest one that ever happened (8,365 attendees, total membership somewhere in the mid-9000s). While size isn't everything — and I continue to read online scoffing about how 7500-or-so people is irrelevant when Real Conventions are those that have 125K at them and you have to spend the entire weekend lined up for a single program item — I think we can say that the turnout here in London shows that there is still a significant role for the literary SF/F convention that Worldcon is. We just have to keep doing the things we do well. Let's see if the success of this Worldcon translates to more success in future years.