In the Cold Light of Dawn

Well, ‘Happy’ New Year everyone. New Year is traditionally a time for a little introspection, a time to look ahead and make plans for the future. But, I’m tired. I’m not tired of writing, I have a three book contract to live up to and my desire to see my material reach a wider audience still burns bright. I must, however, face up to a single, unyielding, truth.

I cannot attend Chicago Worldcon 2022.

Back when I first decided to go it was pre-Covid, sales at Dublin where good, so good, I was optimistic and eager to go and promote myself and my stories. Then Covid, I held on to the goal of making Chicon22 as a kind of beacon of hope that things would get better. They have not. I’m not even talking about the risk of catching Covid (which I have, so far, avoided like the proverbial plague). Initially I would have taken a budget flight, the cheapest I could find, suffered the 14 hours in the air, ordered stock to be delivered to the venue and, probably, had a great time! But the uncertainty of Covid makes everything so uncertain. If I was refused flight I’d have to soak the costs, I can’t afford that. So, insured tickets? Massively expensive, can’t justify the outlay, even in the January ‘sales’. Even the added costs of the required tests push the budget above and beyond.

So, here’s the thing, the lesson. Events, especially with the impact of Covid and Brexit on footfall, sales and costing, have to be carefully weighed by cost/benefit. Dublin was a massive risk, it paid off and was a great experience. Chicon is and order of magnitude riskier in terms of both financial outlay and potential health impact. The event would have to generate sales to pay for itself and net me a movie deal to balance out the risks, neither of which is a given in the current climate.

So, as of time of writing, I have decided to put plans for Chicago On-Hold and the world seems a little greyer, a little duller for it (although, being an eternal optimist, I haven’t cancelled the hotel, yet).

2023 in Chengdu is out of the question. I hope the team (who seemed absolutely lovely at the Dublin bid parties) intends the event to draw attention to the human rights crimes of the Party but, given the Olympics debacle I don’t hold out much hope. I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice to say it wouldn’t even get to a consideration of costs.

2024 looks more promising, Glasgow running uncontested. That’s the new goal but it’s going to be a slog getting there (2024, not Glasgow). In the interim there will be events but, given what I’ve seen of event attendance so far, I’ll be picking more carefully those events I *do* attend. In the meantime the work goes on, the struggle to get those stories out there and recognised.

… I wonder how I’d go about getting a Camelot 2050 boxed set to Henry Cavill?

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