Worldcon began Wednesday and runs until Sunday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC), the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and the Peppermill Resort Casino Spa. The convention features an art gallery, dealers’ room, workshops, panelists, book signings, parties and an awards ceremony.
About 4,000 are expected to attend the conference this week and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority has estimated a total economic impact of more than $3.5 million for the event.
This is the first time the world-traveling convention has been in Reno and organizers are encouraging locals to attend.
“Anyone can attend,” said Alyson Abramowitz, a volunteer working in press relations for the convention.
Day and week passes are available, and weekly passes get cheaper as the convention draws to a close, she said.
“Even with the one-day passes, if they come, they will have full access to all events that day,” including the Hugo Awards ceremony, a convention highlight, Abramowitz said.
The Hugo Awards, which are science fiction’s version of the Emmys, will be given out tonight in the Tuscany Ballroom at the Peppermill. Passes are available at the RSCC at the registration desk.
Abramowitz said at Worldcon, members of the public can mingle with some of their favorite famous authors and artists.
“This is a culture that puts people together as peers,” she said. “That’s encouraged.”
Worldcon attendees Shannon Kelleher and Monty Emken of Seattle, Wash., said this is their first time attending a world gathering and that they traveled to Reno to see authors such as Joe Haldeman, who wrote books such as “Starbound” and “Marsbound,” and Kim Stanley Robinson, known for penning the award-winning Mars Trilogy.
“There are a lot of writers here, which is great,” Kelleher said.
“That is mostly why people come here is for the authors,” Emken added.
Michael Contos of Casa Grande, Ariz., said he has been attending Worldcon for more than 20 years and he enjoys everything about the experience.
“I like it all,” Contos said. “The Filk (sci-fi music), art show, dealers’ room, the Hugos. I go to some of the panels too.”
Panels at Worldcon feature authors and scientists addressing topics such as cloning, sci-fi movies, writing, fantasy worlds, science and space.
Though everyone has a unique reason for attending Worldcon, some attendees think the best part of the gathering is the company of friends.
“I like seeing faces you only get to see at the conventions,” said Gary Swaty of Phoenix, Ariz. “I enjoy getting ‘drunk’ on the camaraderie.”
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