Denver’s MileHiCon celebrated its 50th anniversary two weekends ago by inviting the author GoH’s from the previous cons to join the party. All but a handful made it. Participants included Paolo Bacigalupi, Steven Brust, Jane Lindskold, Robert Sawyer, Michael Swanwick, James Van Pelt, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Connie Willis, and a host of others.
I was there in 2002, which was a convention I will never forget. The high point came when I met and had an opportunity to talk with Nichelle Nichols.
Rose Beetem has been running the operation for a long time. She has shown a consistent talent for putting together intriguing panels and handling the other details. Rose, I should mention, is retiring from her leadership position in programming after this year, handing the reins over to Meg Ward.
Robert Sawyer scheduled a private dining room at the restaurant, and invited about fifteen of us to share dinner. The conversation lasted three hours. I should have thought to record it.
I served on cons discussing fannish behavior, how to do science fiction in the classroom (and why it’s a great idea), and the most common reasons submissions get rejected. Finally, Jane Lindskold and I were given an opportunity to discuss why we love science fiction. That one was easy.
And if you’re wondering, the best reason I can think of for using SF in the classroom is that an English teacher’s prime responsibility is not to familiarize the reader with Henry James, Jane Austen, and Leo Tolstoy. Or to read A Tale of Two Cities to a classroom filled with sleepy-eyed students. It’s more important to fuel a passion for reading. Do that and the student will find the classics on his/her own. I know of no better tool for accomplishing that than science fiction.