Worldcon Report from Timothy the Talking Cat: From the pen of Timothy the Talking Cat
Worldcon! The great science fiction gathering of the tribes! Of course, the many quasi-Stalinist squirrel lovers that now make up the membership of this formerly grand institution probably would have little time for a free-thinking, freedom loving feline like my self! But let not the stupid heads and silly bills of the world limit my adventures! Truly, it is like a vocation, nay! a calling for me to take the message of brilliantly editing science fiction of a kind only a hyper-intelligent 12 sigma IQ can do is manifestly what a cat once hailed as the new new new new Heinlein and a veritable maestro of the written word who treats grammar like the mouse-like plaything of an apex predator and cares NOT A FIG about those who moan and whine about overly verbose sentences as if I somehow can’t keep a train of thought together in one grammatical unit. It is the critics who don’t get me – I fully comprehend their dark souls in a way they never can.
I set to packing: fame my calling and Worldcon my destination! Enter Mr I-Hate-Freedom with his stupid questions.
What you doing? Asks Camshaft Flugelhorn. Packing for Worldcon – I explain with disdain because I would not remain in this terrain as I made plain (see: poetry – no word form have I not mastered).
“I think,” which he plainly doesn’t do very well which is why it is such a big deal when he manages it, “that was the other week.”
“No,” I replied with the deep abiding confidence of an alpha-male, “I think it is this week. Are you trying to say I don’t know how to read a calendar?” I gave a derisory sniff and returned to my packing.
“I think we both recall you shouting ‘FAKE NEWS’ at February 29, 2016, for at least two weeks.” said my Stalinistic interrogator, incapable of knowing how the truly free-spirited person is – untamed by STATE SPONSORED manipulation and artificial constructs like so-called “leap years”.
I sat on the bed next to the pile of half frozen fish fingers I was packing into my Louis Vuitton clutch purse and looked up at the dim-witted fool who was under the misguided impression that this was his bedroom. I explained to him how, aside from the fact that Worldcon needs my presence, that I also fully expected to win a Hugo Award for Best Cat Who Edited Something. Oh, Camtrak Freightrain then goes into denial spouting off all sorts of nonsense: there’s no such award he says, the nominees have already been published he says, the award ceremony already happened and it was in the news and everything he says – like that proves anything these days with the lying media spinning all sorts of wild stories. I patiently explained to the poor, poor intellectually limited creature about the role of write-in candidates, jury nullification and how, if you write your name in capitals like this -TIMOTHY THE TALKING CAT – then you get to win all the lawsuits and not pay taxes. “You’d have to start earning some money to pay taxes,” mumbled Camphor Flushwipe sarcastically, knowing he was beaten by a higher intellect.
There are seven stages of denial. I think the last one is grief. The first stage is stupid arguments about calendars. Even though he should have known he was beaten, we went straight to the infamous second stage of denial: pointing at a map and shouting about Finland.
“Hell’s Inky!” shouted Camisole Fellover.
“Is it? Is it the souls of bad squid? Or is it an ironic punishment for evil journalists?” I was intrigued by this sudden shift into descriptions of the afterlife.
“No, I said Hell Sinky.” He replied using a tone that implied that I rather than he was the exasperating one. “It is the capital city!”
“Sinky is the capital of Hell?” I said saidingly.
“No, Dis is the capital of Hell (according to Dante). Helsinki is the Capital of Finland” he replied dimwittedly and yet also pedantically.
“This is the capital of hell?” I asked, holding up a crumbling fish stick becoming confused by his irrational chain of thought.
“No this is just some kind of hell on earth for me. Look I get why you are trying to run away but you are just putting off the inevitable.”
I stared at the poor fool whose brain was clearly atrophying from reading far too many social-justice message fiction books about feminist zombie computer people being lesbians in space (or who knows what because really I can’t be doing with all that). A cat has to have standards and mine included a minimum number of space battles and vampires per book.
Then he hits himself on the forehead. This is how he gets ideas. He hits himself and that jolts the vestigial neutrons that otherwise just keep him breathing and they form an idea and then he explains it. Sometimes when I need him to think of something I hit his forehead but it doesn’t work when I do it – he just says “ouch” or “Go away Timothy I’m trying to sleep.”
THEN he gets this kind of sneaky look on his face and says “Hmmmmm maybe you SHOULD go to Worldcon after all…”
Well if that isn’t suspicious I don’t know what is, so I say: “Only if I get to meet Jim C Hines.” Why you may ask? Well, that was just the first terrible leftist author name I could think of who is the sort of terrible leftist author who would hang out at Worldcon.
“OK but there are two conditions. One you have to get into this special Worldcon travel pet carrier box – it is the only way to get to Finland because of um, Santa Claus controlling the airspace and he has, um, a fear of cats so I’ll have to put this dark cover over the box. Two, I have to make some phone calls first.”
Well, that was the first bit of good news I had had all day. Bless his feeble heart, he had coincidentally organised a special cat box that was perfect for taking me to Worldcon! Hoorah!
Cambodia Fenestrator bumbled off presumably to talk to the travel agent, airline and Hugo Award ceremony committee, while I hastily finished my packing.
Worldcon here I come!
The journey was surprisingly short and uneventful, almost as if we had travelled to just the next town over while strapped to a moped.
When the cover was taken off and I was released from the box, I got my first glimpse of the convention hall. It was disappointedly small. A few chairs around the side, an odd stand of dog food to one corner and posters for some weird new movies on the walls.
“Is Your Dog Overweight?” asked one poster – I’m not a big fan of dog movies but maybe that was an interesting premise. Another poster was all about terrible parasites that are planning to attack “your pets”. I felt worried for my pet human – I think he’d find that movie too scary. Less interesting was a poster for a movie that was just about dental hygiene in dogs – borrrringgg. When will Hollywood realise that films about teeth and dental decay are JUST NOT WHAT MODERN AUDIENCES WANT – we want action and big loud noises. I feel we need more films by Michael Bay but with cats in them: mainly space cats. The space cats could fight space vampires but then team up because the space vampires and the space cats realise just how cool they both are and then they are all friends and they just blow up planets for laughs. That would be the best. I’ve written to Mr Bay to tell him that but he must have lost my address because he didn’t write back.
Did I mention the convention hall smelled a bit of dog pee and disinfectant?
“Ah, there is the book signing!” I said as I spied a human sitting behind a desk, “Take me hither to meet Mr Jim C Hines!” for it was he – although he looked less beardy than I imagined and actually looked more like a receptionist and also wore a badge saying “Josh – Practice Receptionist”. I guess he must sometimes practise being a receptionist as a kind of method acting thing that big time authors do.
“Good morning. How can I help you?” said Jim C Hines to Camestros of all people – ignoring me for the time being. I guess he was too nervous to speak to me directly at first – my reputation proceeds me.
“Hi, erm, I rang ahead…you know about the um…thing and the other thing…” said Camestros cryptically. I think he was a bit star struck to meet a real live big shot science fiction author.
“Greetings Mr Hines, I know you are a big fan of my work. I’m here to sign your book.” I explained in a professional manner. Sure, he might not be writing the kind of books I’d like right now but I think with the help of the skilled editor I could help this fledgeling writer become a true great. My formula is simple: more explosions and maybe dinosaurs and vampires. These are the key qualities of great fiction.
“Hello, little kitty. Did you hurt your tail?” said Jim C Hines in a tone of voice that frankly I found unprofessional but is what modern publishing has come to. I turned to Camchatka Filofax to express my concern only to see him wide eyed and holding up a sign saying “PLAY ALONG!”. Frankly, the ways of human kind are a mystery to me.
“Oh, yes…sorry, you are that patient, I mean visitor and I am…” Jim C Hines paused to look at his computer which was displaying an email booking system of some kind, “um…famous author Jim C Hines.” He seemed somewhat unsure of this – maybe the whole roleplaying thing had got to him. I had to admire his dedication to his craft to immerse himself so deeply in his role.
“The um,…special panel on Cat Injuries in Military Science Fiction in Space, will be in room 3 just as soon as they are finished vaccinating a poodle,” said Jim C Hines, using some kind of millennial jargon for something or other – I don’t know, young people these days.
To my surprise, a short while later, a poodle did emerge from room 7 with a stupid goofy look on its face. I hissed at it and it flinched which makes me now the apex predator of the convention hall FOREVER. Camestros carried me in.
Again, I was disappointed with how small the room was for a major convention. There was only just enough room for me, Cam and a single speaker: “Dr Samantha” who was some kind of expert on cat injuries. A lot of the time she spoke from her notes, which oddly Cam had brought with him. Surprisingly the only attendee was me (oh and Camestros but he had to come because I was finding it hard to walk the past few days). Cam explained that everybody else at Worldcon was at a different session on Being Super Leftwing In Space – which was disappointing but not surprising!
Dr Samantha’s presentation was very good. Near the end, she asked for a volunteer from the audience but it had to be:
- a cat
- with a hind quarters and tail injury…
- …as if an approximately 1-tonne reptiloid creature had kicked the cat up the bum in a fit of anger
Well lucky for her that I was in the audience!
So Dr Samantha showed us all how a Space Marine Medic might treat such an injury if it happened in space and the brave Space Marine Cat had inadvertently angered some kind of Triceratops-like alien who had then kicked the cat over a fence using its substantial and very stompy feet.
I did hurt a bit though because coincidentally I had sustained injuries not dissimilar to the ones Dr Samantha was talking about only the other week. Of course, Mr Nanny State has been trying to make me go to a veterinary clinic for days but I don’t hold with such quackery. No way am I going to go one of those butcher’s shops.
A few Space Marine pain killers later and I was feeling tip-top but a little tired!
I woke up the next day feeling suitably refreshed. I’ve decided to keep these bandages on for the time being as a memento of my time at Worldcon.
Overall, despite the tiny facilities and the persistent smell of dog pee, I had a great time. Well done Worldcon! Looking forward to next year when the theme is apparently “Annual Worming”.