Random Epiphanies

A Dublin WorldCon Report

Pros

For my first WorldCon, it was honestly a blast. I hope it’s not my last one!

I didn’t get to attend as many panels as I wanted, mostly due to becoming distracted and hanging out with friends old and new. Someone I trust told me that at this point in my career, it’s much better for me to be meeting new people than attending panels, anyway–which I agreed with.

Most people were very kind, from the Irishmen and women who drove the cabs I took to the cafe workers to the writers I met. I was invited to parties and dinners, treated to cab fares and ice cream, given free books, engaged with in great conversation. I was even invited impromptu to record an episode for a new podcast.

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Murphy’s Ice Cream is really good. The flavors I got were brown bread, sea salt caramel, and butterscotch.

My first two panels–“Writing from Non-western Cultures” and “The Magic of Beauty”–had full-room turnouts. I feel like I said some pretty smart things during each one. Sure got some compliments and comments afterward (both on what I said and how nice my earrings were, haha).

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The crowd for The Magic of Beauty Panel.
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The crowd for the Writing from Non-western Cultures panel.

In total, I was on:

  • Writing from Non-western Cultures
  • The Magic of Beauty
  • Mythological Science Fiction
  • Breaking the Glass Slipper Podcast (lice recording)
  • Unnamed podcast hosted by Mary Ann Mohanraj

And you can view the livetweets and listen to the recording for almost all of them below:

Writing from Non-western Cultures: https://twitter.com/jeannette_ng/status/1161941020852064257?s=19

The Magic of Beauty: https://twitter.com/JolixJoverflow/status/1162428746378428416?s=19

Mythological Science Fiction: https://twitter.com/natzers/status/1162717636842741760?s=19

Breaking the Glass Slipper: Islands and Island Mythology in Fiction

I loved going around the bid tables and trying out their candy/stroopwafels. I even got a free kiwi stuffed toy from the ConZealand table.

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The ConZealand team said they had to bring the stuffed toys at their table in an extra suitcase, but didn’t want to bring most of them home. I took home this tiny kiwi that rattles when you shake it.

And though it took me until the last day of the con to find the red FEMINIST badge, it was very satisfying for me to bag the very last one on the last day.

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My ID and badge collection.

My con was bookended by two tours–the first to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara, and the other to Kilkenny, Wicklow, and Glendalough, with the Book of Kells right in the middle. I got to enter a castle for the first time in my life, as well as see and pet sheep! Plus, I can finally check off my dream of seeing the Book of Kells from my bucket list. I only wish I had more time to explore Dublin as well.

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A mound from the Hill of Tara.
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Newgrange from the side. Too bad I couldn’t take photos inside. It was a very humbling experience, seeing that dagger of light slice the darkness inside the mound.
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An enlarged version of the Book of Kells’ famous Chi-Ro page from the adjacent exhibition. Photography wasn’t allowed inside the room where the actual book was kept.
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Kilkenny Castle is gorgeous.
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Hi, pretty lamb!

Cons

One of the reasons I didn’t make it to as many panels was the distance from the CCD to the Odeon. At some point, my old knee injury flared up and it was just not doable for me.

And speaking of the old knee injury, it was brought about not by Dublin’s climate, as I predicted, but by the obnoxiously loud music at the karaoke bar some friends and I went to on Friday night. It ached from then until my flight home.

There was also an incident at the lifts where a wheelchair user told me and some other people inside that it was inappropriate for us to be there because there are escalators and stairs–despite my having an access sticker. After some thought and some convincing by new friends, I decided to bring the matter to the Listener’s Desk. Laura and David were very professional and kind, and special shout out to Jeannette for accompanying me.

I couldn’t attend the Hugo Awards Ceremony, although I wish I had. They ran out of wristbands and since my phone had run out of power and I had forgotten to charge my power bank, I went home early and followed proceedings on Twitter. That’s how I learned that my good friend Likhain gave me a shout out in her acceptance speech for Best Fan Artist, though. ❤

Finally, the chapbook debacle. Basically, I wasn’t able to sell the books at the con due to them arriving in Dublin on the day I was set to fly back to Manila. Luckily, Lee of The Portal Bookshop bought the stock off me and picked them up. They were sold out within 2-3 days (thank god, as I wasn’t willing to bring them home). That means I’ve never personally seen or held those books, though. Currently hunting for an affordable printer who can take on my second run.

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Ugh, look at this beauty. Photo by The Portal Bookshop.
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Inside the book. Photo by The Portal Bookshop.

And that’s that! I couldn’t have made it to WorldCon without the help of Con or Bust, the Tiptree Fellowship, the Dublin Con Committee’s generous stipend and visa letter help, and all the fine people who backed my fundraiser. Will I go to ConZealand next year? Who knows?

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