Worldcon Memories - Connie Willis

Connie Willis' Worldcon memory was a little too long to fit on our main memories page, so we have included the full version here.

Connie Willis
I love Worldcon. I've been going regularly since the Worldcon in Denver and have only missed a few over the years, including, unfortunately, this year's in Australia. (I was having gall bladder surgery.)

All the Worldcons I've been to were great, and it's hard to pick out one favorite moment from among so many:

-- almost getting my arm taken off at Gatorland at the Orlando Worldcon

-- almost getting thrown out of the Tupperware Museum at ditto (for not taking it seriously enough)

-- almost getting thrown out of the Alamo at the San Antonio Worldcon (for not taking it seriously enough)

-- waiting out a tornado warning in the kitchen of a restaurant with Nancy Kress and Jack Skillingstead at the Denver Worldcon and trying to explain that we never have tornadoes in Denver

-- running the miles and miles of the convention centers in assorted cities

-- being forced to be on the Dating Game at the Denver Worldcon in 1980 and then losing to Howard Waldrop in a zoot suit.

Seriously, though, I love Worldcon. I've met hundreds of terrific writers, starting with Hal Clement at the Boston 1981 Worldcon; made wonderful friends -- I met John Kessel while waiting for a panel at Denver and James Patrick Kelly while sitting on the floor in the hall outside a party at Boston; been lucky enough to win Hugo Awards and be both a toastmaster and Guest of Honor at Worldcons; and had dozens of fascinating conversations on panels and with fans.

It's the talking I love best about Worldcons. The people who go to them are the smartest, funniest, most interesting people on this planet or any other, and collectively, they represent the entire sun of human knowledge. Forget Wikipedia.

My proof that Worldcon people know everything? Well, I saw this great movie on Academy Matinee when I was a kid. It was about these people on an ocean liner, and they were supposed to be going to America, but really they were all dead, and...

Well, anyway, I'd been trying to find out the name of this movie for years -- this was before Internet Movie Database -- but I couldn't remember who was in it, and no one I talked to had ever heard of it.

"You should ask at Worldcon," Ed Bryant suggested. "Somebody will know." So at the next one, on my first panel, I did just that, though without much hope of its working.

"Okay, there's this movie about people on an ocean liner," I said, and had barely started into my description when not one but a dozen hands shot up.

It's Between Two Worlds," the first person said.

"It stars Edmund Gwenn and Sidney Greenstreet," another piped up.

"It's a remake of the movie Outward Bound."

"Which was a play on Broadway starring Leslie Howard."

"It was made from the book Outward Bound by Sutton Vane."

That may well be my favorite Worldcon moment of all time. Well, that, or getting thrown out of the Tupperware Museum.

Hope to see you all in Reno. Can't wait to hear what everybody has to say -- have you seen the British series Primeval? What about Syfy's Alice? Is Andrew Lee Potts not the cutest thing you've ever seen? -- and can't wait to see what we get thrown out of this time. See you there!

P.S. Thanks to all those brilliant science fiction fans who helped me find my long-lost movie. (When I watched it again, it was just as terrific as I remembered it.)