For a few hours every year, the Science Fiction Capital of the World is a tiny Dairy Queen in Portales, New Mexico.
That’s because the attendees of the annual Williamson Lectureship always end up congregating there during the programming break between the luncheon and afternoon panels, and the Lectureship draws an impressive crowd of SF luminaries not only from New Mexico’s large local population of writers, but also from places far and wide. Sure, you might argue that conventions like Worldcon, World Fantasy, or ComicCon draw far more people and thus many more professionals. And that’s true. But I’m talking sheer density here. Conventions like those are spread out over entire convention centers and multiple hotels.
You try cramming a dozen Hugo and Nebula winners and maybe a SFWA Grand Master or two into a single Dairy Queen some time. It ain’t that straightforward. Dairy Queens are small.
More information about the Lectureship follows below the cut.
The Lectureship is an annual tradition honoring Jack Williamson, a giant of the field and one of its founding fathers, who taught at Eastern New Mexico University for many years. (I blogged a bit about Jack here.)
This year’s guest of honor is Nalo Hopkinson. Rumor has it that Gardner Dozois will be coming all the way from Philadelphia. Ed Bryant and Connie Willis often come down from Colorado; Connie Willis the Lectureship’s MC par excellence. Emily Mah, Steve Gould, and Laura Mixon will all be there this weekend. Unfortunately, some of the other regulars are currently on holiday in Turkey and won’t be making it to Portales this year. It’s their loss. They’ll miss the lunch, the panels, and the yearly visit to the Williamson Ranch courtesy of the wonderful Betty Williamson and the rest of the Williamson family.
But I’ll be making the pilgrimage. I had to miss the Lectureship last year, but I’ve been there twice before and always have a grand time. So I’m happy I’ll be able to make it this time around. The unstoppable Patrice Caldwell has kindly invited me to sit on a panel with Emily Mah and Steve Gould (Sci-Fi and Fantasy in Film and TV). I jumped at the chance. (Hey, any excuse to hang out in ENMU’s Science Fiction Library.)