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Our Costumes Won!by Bridget Landry
September 5, 1997
Had a blast at World Con! (The World Science Fiction Convention, which was held this year in San Antonio, Texas, over Labor Day weekend.) I had never been to one outside California, so it was a real treat to note the differences and similarities. A lot fewer costumes in the halls (made mine stand out even more!) and a lower ratio of women to men, but a very friendly, welcoming feel to the whole thing.
Saw some wonderful panels; I think my favorites were the panel on fairy/folk tales and their meaning and function in society, and the one on torturing your characters. That last was an interesting mix--two of my favorite writers (Lois McMaster Bujold and Elizabeth Moon), two emergency medical technicians, and a pathologist. A fascinating discussion of where in the story such things are appropriate/necessary, and how to gauge the magnitude of the wound to the plot device required (i.e., if you want your hero out of commission for five minutes, you DON'T have him break a leg). The funny thing was that the whole panel was made up of women. Does this say something about these women in particular, women in general, or about our society's perception of women?
I was quite disappointed that I wasn't on any panels. I started writing to the convention committee right after last year's World Con, volunteering for costuming and science panels and never heard from them. I wanted to share the science results we've gotten so far, as well as some stories about the team. They even had a panel on Pathfinder, but I wasn't able to get to it; I wanted to see who the people on the panel were, as I didn't recognize any of the names. The science panels I did attend were somewhat uneven--the panelists all seemed to have different ideas about what the topic of discussion should be. Sometimes that makes things quite interesting, but this time it just resulted in confusion.
And the big news from the convention, for me at least, was that the Masquerade entry that I was part of tied for Best in Show Workmanship and took Best in Show overall! Our costumes were a group of evil gods and goddesses from a role-playing game that was popular some years ago. (My friends who planned this had done the good gods and goddesses from the same universe some years ago, and those had taken Best in Show, so they were trying for a repeat.) I was only drafted to be in this thing at the end of May, (the other folks had been working on their costumes for months) and had a few other things to do in July (as you might guess!), so Kate and I were really thrilled that we were able to finish AND that the work was good enough to help the group win. The Masquerade itself was small, but there were some wonderfully creative and impressive pieces, and the quality overall was quite high. We shared the workmanship award with "The Samurais from Mars," which were incredibly detailed Samurai costumes made from futuristic metals. There were only two of them but the stage SHOOK when they walked across. Spectacular!