Sunday was a light day for me, and for everyone else as the con wound down. Lots of people standing in hotel lobbies having conversations while holding suitcases. My only event on the 21st was a panel on "How To Start A Writing Group" which went extremely well. I was the moderator, and my panelists did all the work. I think we may have started at least one Kansas City area writing group during the panel, as I saw some addresses being exchanged in the audience. If one of those writers becomes the next Gene Wolfe, I want a share of the credit.
Because I had lots of time, it was a lovely day, and I'm a cheapskate, I took the city bus to the airport instead of a cab or hotel van. It cost all of $1.50 and took exactly an hour. If you want to see some of Kansas City's service roads and suburban strip malls, take along a camera.
• The Convention Center felt way too big for this convention. Most of the programming could probably have been accommodated by the function spaces in one or more hotels. I get the impression that the organizers were expecting more people — not an unreasonable expectation given the size of last year's meeting in London.
• Only about 4,000 people showed up. I think that makes this the smallest WorldCon I've attended. I don't know if there was any big event in competition with it, or fans have been alienated by the incessant wrangling of recent years.
• Kansas City was great. I found myself wishing I had left myself an extra day at the end for more tourism. The city has apparently put a ton of money into revitalizing downtown and it seems to be working.
• The con-goers are aging. The most common hair color was grey, and I saw more mobility scooters than hall costumes. (This last despite a large number of prominent and vaguely offensive "COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT" posters warning people not to take pictures of costumers.) This is a serious problem, it's not going away, and it would be a shame to see one of science fiction's greatest traditions die on the vine. Perhaps WorldCon should merge with one of the big media cons?
• Futurist Robin Hanson wrote about his WorldCon experience on his blog, so you can compare his take with mine.
• I had a lot of fun and the whole event seemed to go very smoothly. I'm sure there were crises and near-disasters which gave the convention organizers conniptions, but none of that was visible from my end. Congratulations to the Con Committee and the volunteers!
• Next year, in Helsinki.