Three weeks to go until WorldCon! I’m excited; I have never been to a convention before but imagine it to be like a conference with only fun items on the agenda. There is actually an ‘academic’ programe where stern people in suits analyse my favourite authors to shreds and if I feel like a real laugh I might drop by some sessions There is also a scientific programe where SciFi writers and fans can catch up with some of the latest developments and as the venue is opposite the Glasgow Science Centre I expect some happenings over there, although the city of Glasgow has been surprisingly quiet about doing anything for the convention beyond offering some discount vouchers. Not like a real conference then.
Anyway, I ‘m posting this entry because my thoughts turn to blogging. The convention is the most exciting thing to happen to me in a year, yet there will be no blogging from there: I don’t have a wireless labtop and even if I did the venue won’t provide free WiFi facilities or allow the organisers to do so. Yes, you heard right! At a ScfiFi convention attended by literally thousands of geeks we don’t have WiFi (unless each member agreed to pay at least 40 quid)! It sounds like an anachronism already, doesn’t it? They wired up the whole centre of Chicago not long ago.
Of course there will be computer terminals, but they will be busy—and so will I. With everything that is going on there, blogging is not my top priority, yet it niggles that I can’t do it when I want to. It has almost become a reflex: if something interesting happens I want to tell my imaginary friends about it straight away. It’s a writer thing, I think. Or a blogger thing.
The reason I’m writing this entry is not the absence of facilities, however, but the almost palpable feeling that something is changing in front of our eyes; that our world won’t be quite the same any more. This is after all a SciFi con; I’m kind of primed.
You see, I could post to Blogger straight from my mobile phone. If I had a modern phone and Blogger was set up like the Boots travelblogs but using some hybrid software, I could include photos and videos, possibly audio clips. In five years time, free WiFi will be the norm in all big cities around the world. If the WorldCon came back to Scotland next year, we would have it there and if it comes back in a decade (as it tends to do) I wonder what we’ll have.
The future is finally here.
As exciting as this is, I feel nostalgic already. The trouble is that I am old. I will enjoy attending a convention from where I don’t have to report anything until it’s over (and I’m sober again). I will enjoy hopping on a plane in November and bumming around SE Asia for three months completely out of touch (and without any obligations, work or otherwise) for perhaps the last time. Very, very soon it will be impossible to travel to get away from it all.
I have always wanted constant contact with my loved ones—heck, I have been homesick since I was sent to boarding school aged nine—but I will miss the sense of complete freedom that only totally unrestrained travel can offer. Our generation was lucky, we had a brief window when this became possible for people in the West—between the sixties and now—but soon the sense of adventure that travel can bring will belong in the past; back between the covers of books and in movies that made me dream in the first place all those years ago. So yeah, new technology is great, I embrace it, but understand that everything has its price.