Photo (cc) Olav Rokne

When I learned that Worldcon 76 would be in San Jose, I was on the fence. Would a Science Fiction & Fantasy Literary convention have anything for a cosplayer and tinkerer like me? Well, holy crap was I wrong! The costuming programming was extensive and fun, plus there was a large area dedicated to past costumes showing off everything from accurate historical works to bizarre creations. Unlike many gaming or comic cons I’ve attended, there weren’t a ton of cosplayers wandering the halls. I’d guess I saw the most on Sunday after the costume contest. However, there were many amazing Steampunk and historically inspired outfits which were more suitable for exploring booths and attending panels then the usual anime-themed fare.

The big costuming event was the Masquerade, an internationally recognized costume/cosplay contest with awards for both Presentation and Workmanship. As a participant, I was very impressed with the level of planning and commitment to making everyone look and sound as good as possible. Everyone was strongly encouraged to have music and/or pre-recorded voice-overs, and we all had to do short tech rehearsals to help the folks running the lights and sound dial in each performance. During the contest, we were well organized into “dens” which helped keep contestants moving in the right direction. Despite some sound issues and printer problems, I had an excellent experience both competing with Locusta and meeting some excellent costume creators and actors. Plus I took home two “major” awards: Best Novice Presentation and Excellence in Creature Construction (Novice). I’m very proud of my performance and frankly have never felt this competitive before. I can’t wait to build my next costume and come away with best in class (or even, dare I dream, best in show!). If I can get my hands on it, I hope to share video. In the meantime, here is a shot of some of us messing around while waiting for the Presentation judges.

Photo by Dan Potter

Outside of the Masquerade, I also brought Tanooki Peach along and wandered the halls and dealers’ room for half a day on Friday. This is when I felt the most out of place, but I did encounter an adorable Mario who was quite charming and took some pictures with me.

Photo by David Price

My hair octopus and Steampunk outfit also made a debut. I suspect that I changed my clothes and hair so much that people couldn’t recognize me.

Photo by Dan Potter

Overall it was a fantastic experience. Next year Worldcon is in Dublin, Ireland. I can’t make it, but I’ll certainly be looking forward to its next visit on this side of the pond.