LoneStarCon 3 and the Five Minute Rule

So, my plan was to do a LoneStarCon 3 overview today, but alas, I feel I am too late. There are already a ton of rehashes all across the web focusing on everything from the lack of a YA Hugo , to the overall older vibe (google it and take your pick), to how it stacks up against other cons.

There are even some nice blogs that cover who met whom and who did what. (What, you say I’m only linking to Lou Anders’ post because I’m in it? Not so, not so!)

What could I possibly bring to the table when we’ve already got an embarrassment of riches (ie. blog posts)?

I’m here to give you the one thing I learned at Worldcon that trumps everything else: the five minute rule.

What is that, you ask? Is it like the five second rule? Er, no.

The five minute rule relates to a paranormal phenomenon that can only be experienced when a large number of people you want to meet are all gathered in close proximity for long periods of time. Here’s the theory:

Whenever you are about to leave a social area of the con–say you’re sleepy and want to call it a night–wait five minutes. If you do, someone interesting will inevitably make an appearance and talk to you.

The first time it happened we (a group of us from the Writers of the Future forum hung out a good chunk of the time) were at the hotel bar just as it closed. The staff were ‘encouraging’ us to leave, and we thought it best to comply. However, we lagged, and the lady taking out the garbage bins kind of barreled through the crowd–inevitably pushing us (literally) into Lou Anders from Pyr. He was great to meet. I had attended several of his panels that day, and ended up going to several more. We ran into each other on other occasions during the con, and each time was a pleasure.

The second time I encountered the phenomenon, the group of people I was with had just decided to head to bed, but as it was nearing two (or was it three?) in the morning, we were all moving rather slowly. Within five minutes, an editor form Orbit (who shall remain unnamed, as it seems this is one of her favorite con games) came and sat at our table (led there by a friend). She immediately asked us all to pitch our books, and was kind enough to critique our attempts. If we’d left when we’d decided to, we would have missed out.

It happened again and again throughout the con. We wanted to leave, but we lingered, and ran into Joshua Bilmes. We wanted to leave, but lingered, and ran into Kim Stanley Robinson. We wanted to leave, but decided we better wait five minutes because, geez, the correlation between us deciding to leave and interesting people showing up was just getting weird…

So, anyway, that’s my unique Worldcon observation: when you think it’s time to go, wait five minutes. You never know who might make an appearance.

All kidding aside, Worldcon is primarily about people–meeting new people, and reconnecting with colleagues you already know. That’s why it’s essential to hang around after hours, and if you’re an introvert like me, to step out of your comfort zone for a while.

Do you have a unique Worldcon observation? If so, let me know in the comments!

~Marina

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