A Brief History of Convention Ribbons: “If you’ve gone to conventions like CONvergence, you may have seen the ribbons imprinted with catchphrases and clip art people stick to the bottom of the their badges—in some cases, collecting large trails of them. CONvergence does a great job of explaining how you can get your own ribbons on its site, including a variety of different vendors that print them. But what is the real purpose of badge ribbons, and how did the tradition get started?” (There’s a fair amount of ribbon collection/trading at Norwescon as well.)

Since we’re now in 2020, I figured it might be worth noting that Norwescon 43 is just about three and a half months away!

Norwescon is a non-profit, all-volunteer, fan-run, literary/generalist SF/F convention held at the DoubleTree Seattle Airport hotel in SeaTac every Easter weekend; this year’s dates are April 9–12, 2020 (yes, the same weekend as SakuraCon, but while the two target groups absolutely have overlap, there are definite differences as well). Rooms at the hotel are still available, and attendance for the full weekend (Thurs-Sun) is just $75 until Jan. 15, when it goes up a little bit (single-day passes are only sold at the convention).

As a literary/generalist con, Norwescon has a focus on SF/F books (reading, writing, and publishing), but also has lots of panels and events around all aspects of SF/F fandom, including film, television, fanfic, geek music, costuming, games (computer, card, tabletop, rpg, etc.), and more.

The Guests of Honor this year are:

The panel/event schedule for this year is still being assembled (it usually gets published within the month prior to the con), but you can count on four days of panels on all of the above topics, hands-on workshops, interviews with the Guests of Honor, autograph sessions (with no autograph fees), gaming sessions, special events in the evenings, and a hotel full of people getting their geek on.

Evening events include a costume Masquerade, dances, and concerts, with more being planned. There is a full dealers’ room with vendors selling all sorts of geeky merchandise, and a large art show with lots of SF/F artwork to admire and purchase.

Norwescon is also the host of the annual Philip K. Dick Awards, recognizing the best SF/F paperback-first publications of the past year, and there are usually a few of the nominated authors attending to read from their nominated works.

For those who might be interested in getting more directly involved, Norwescon is always looking for more volunteers to help with the convention, too! Volunteers are always accepted for everything from a few hours helping out at the convention itself to joining the planning committee beforehand and being a part of the group that makes things go.

More information is available on the convention’s website; I’ve been volunteering with Norwescon for around a decade now, and am happy to answer questions however I can, if there are any.

Home from Norwescon!

This was my first year as a member of the Exec team, and I hope it won’t be my last. As I’m in a position whose duties are heavily weighted pre-convention, I was much more able to simply enjoy the con than I have been in the past few years, when I was coordinating the photo department, taking photos, and monitoring social media. This year, I got to spend much more time wandering around, finding friends and acquaintances old and new, and just enjoying the convention without being constantly on the run from one duty to another. It was nice!

Amusingly, this didn’t translate into much panel attending — one of the major aspects of the con that I’ve personally had little time to explore — though I did make sure to attend Saturday’s Star Trek: Discovery panel, which I very much enjoyed. Should I hold the Secretary position again next year, I’ll try to get a few more panels onto my schedule.

I got to sit at a dinner table with our Special Guest of Honor Nancy Pearl at the GOH Banquet, and she was an absolutely wonderful person. We and the rest of the table chatted favorite books old and new, and after hearing some about my interests, she recommended Peter Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star to me, so I’ll definitely have to pick that up. One doesn’t simply shrug off a personal recommendation from the model for the Librarian action figure, after all!

The P. K. Dick Awards were a highlight as always. Though I continue my streak of failing to predict the winner, the final choice was a worthwhile selection, and I was lucky enough to be seated next to the winner, so I got to hear her excited gasp of surprise as her name was called out.

I talked to many people, made and laughed at lots of jokes (bad and good), talked books, TV, and film, had a few drinks, danced to the wee hours on Saturday night, ran around dressed up as the Unstoppable T-Rex, handed out many “ALL THE RIBBONS!” ribbons, and once again, had a grand old time over the weekend.

Thanks to all of you who helped to make this a good weekend, whether through personally interacting with me or through being part of the con community (staff and members alike) who make this such a good experience every year. I’m glad I got to see those of you I did, and look forward to seeing you all again in the future.

On to Norwescon 43!

This year’s slate of nominees for the Hugo Award were announced yesterday, and there are a lot of past and present connections to Norwescon!

This year’s NWC Writer Guest of Honor, Mary Robinette Kowal, is nominated for Best Novel for The Calculating Stars.

This year’s Honored Professional, Neil Clarke, is nominated for Best Professional Editor, Short Form.

This year’s Spotlight Publisher, Subterranean Press, has published two of this year’s nominations: Aliette de Bodard for Best Novella for The Tea Master and the Detective, and Aliette de Bodard for Best Series for The Universe of Xuya.

NWC31 Special Guest of Honor Naomi Novik is nominated for Best Novel for Spinning Silver.

NWC37 Special Guest of Honor Seanan McGuire is nominated for Best Novella for Beneath the Sugar Sky, and for Best Series for the October Daye series.

NWC35 Artist Guest of Honor John Picacio is nominated for Best Related Work for The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76, and for Best Professional Artist.

NWC36 Special Guest of Honor Gardner Dozois is nominated for Best Professional Editor, Short Form.

NWC29, 35, and 39 Spotlight Publisher DAW Books Representative Shiela Gilbert is nominated for Best Professional Editor, Long Form.

NWC24 and 38 Spotlight Publisher Representative (for Bantam Dell and Random House, respectively) Anne Lesley Groell is nominated for Best Professional Editor, Long Form.

NWC41 Artist Guest of Honor Galen Dara is nominated for Best Professional Artist.

NWC38 Artist Guest of Honor Julie Dillon is nominated for Best Art Book for Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon.

NWC20 Guest of Honor A.E. van Vogt is nominated for 1944 Retro Hugo Best Novel for The Weapon Makers.

Some of our past pros and panelists are nominated as well:

Tina Connolly for Best Novelette for The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections.

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry for Best Semiprozine — twice! — for Fireside Magazine and Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and for Best Fan Writer.

Tanya DePass for Best Semiprozine for Fireside Magazine.

And longtime dealer Spring Schoenhuth is nominated for Best Fan Artist.

I think that covers everyone NWC-related, but if I missed anyone, let me know! Congratulations to all the nominees, and good luck!