I have to make a decision.
Which I really don’t want to make.
There are two conventions I’ve never missed since I began attending them: VeriCon and ICFA. My involvement with the former began with the two years I was its guest coordinator (which also happened to be the first two years of its existence), and the latter when I won the Asimov (now Dell Magazines) Award. That makes for nine years of VeriCon and six of ICFA, respectively. And I very much enjoy both.
I can’t do that anymore. Because Harvard has changed its academic schedule, eliminating intersession, and causing VeriCon to migrate.
To ICFA’s weekend.
So now I have to choose. Which con do I go to? Yes, the thought of somehow trying to do both in the same weekend has crossed my mind, but no, it won’t work. I’d just end up not properly enjoying either one. The problem is, there are arguments for and against each one.
1) VeriCon puts me in front of a larger audience of readers, because I generally do at least two or three panels there, and all the panels generally have at least a couple dozen people in attendance. On the other hand, lots of those people are regular attendees of VeriCon, and I’ve been on the program for the last five years, meaning they’ve seen me plenty of times before. (My intent had actually been to keep it up until VeriCon X, and then to reconsider my schedule. Harvard’s forcing me to do so a year early.) I see lots of college friends there, since it’s a mini-HRSFA reunion, but I also have to put up with Boston weather — though that may have improved with the late January to mid-March shift.
2) ICFA puts me in front of a smaller audience, since I can only do a single reading, and those don’t usually draw more than a dozen people unless there’s a really big name on the three-person docket. On the other hand, it’s vastly superior for networking, as there are oodles of professionals in attendance — many of whom also count as friends, after six years of attendance. It’s more expensive than VeriCon, since I have to pay for a hotel room instead of crashing with a friend, and the luncheons and banquet cost money; but hey, the meals are good, and I get free books with them, plus a chance to dress up in some of the nice clothing I own and never wear. Since moving to California, I no longer have the screaming need for a dose of sunshine and warm weather in mid-March that I did while living in Indiana, but it still doesn’t go amiss. (Especially the chance to go swimming.)
I don’t know which one to choose.
And that isn’t really a decision anyone can make for me. But I’m open to arguments, if you have something that might help tip me off this fence. (Boston-area people should take note that I will be in town for Christmas, so I’m more than happy to arrange social time then.)