I've spoken to several people about DetCon1, this year's North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC), and how my time was spent. As I'm starting to repeat myself and am losing track of who I've talked to about it, it's time to write things down so I can point people at it later.

When Detroit won the bid to host this year's NASFiC, I knew several people on the convention committee. I approached Dave, the one with whom I've spent many hours volunteering at other conventions and who I knew was on the committee, and asked, "So ... what is it you're actually doing at the con?"

"I'm heading Ops." Cool. Dave's got a good head for operations.

"What am I doing?"

"You're in Ops."

We hadn't discussed this before. I'd just assumed I'd be volunteering for something and I was fine with working in operations. Making sure things needed in one presentation were moved from the presentation that had finished with them, handling minor security issues, acting as an information desk -- ops covers a variety of tasks.

Dave and I have known each other for ages. It's no surprise that I didn't hear anything from him as the weekend of the convention drew near. I show up ready for just about anything and expect I'll get my assignments when I get there. He knows that -- he's the same way.

I was, however, a little surprised when I arrived late Thursday evening, reported to Ops and was told by the person manning the desk, "Huh ... I don't see you on the schedule anywhere."

No problem. I'm exhausted and don't want to start a shift until I've had a good night's sleep. I figured I'd talk to Dave in the morning.

Sure enough, when I returned to Ops, rested and ready to go, Dave was there, dispatching a runner to proclaim our victory to the people of Athens . . . or something along those lines.

"So ... I don't seem to be on the schedule."

"No, your not."

"Which means I'm ... ?"

"On call."


"I know how to reach you and I'm holding you in reserve."

This is not a problem. I'll plan my weekend as if I'm not volunteering for anything, but with the knowledge that I may be interrupted at any time and have to excuse myself.

I saw Dave several times during the course of the weekend. Never more than a wave, a smile, and a "Things are going awesome!" from him as we passed each other. Finally, I found a moment on Sunday afternoon when neither of us were rushing to be somewhere else and had a word with him.

"You haven't called me all weekend." Not a complain, mind you, but an observation. Dave understood this.

"Yeah ... I got called only once. I fumbled my phone and didn't answer it, so I took it into the bathroom where I wouldn't wake my wife while talking and called back. They said, 'Never mind -- we took care of it.' It's been that kind of weekend."

DetCon1 is now my Gold Standard for well-run conventions. The parties were loud but well-behaved. Presenters got the audio-visual equipment they needed. People were polite and helpful to each other. The convention chair, Tammy, organizes well. The people under her (Dave and others) organize well. It was a joy to watch this event unfold.

Detroit hasn't host a science fiction convention of this magnitude in 55 years. I hope it's not too long before we doing again -- Detroit is just too good at this to let the talent sit idle.

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