Sunday, February 26, 2006


I spent a delightful and relaxing weekend hanging out with fellow science fiction readers (and the writers we admire) at Potlatch 15 in downtown Seattle.

Held annually in Seattle, the Bay area, or Portland, Potlatch attracts attendees from the Pacific Northest, Wisconsin, New York, the D.C. area, and other rather blue states. It's very much a literary gathering, so banish any preconceptions about people running around dressed as Klingons; clever t-shirts were more the thing. There were enough folks from the high tech subculture that nearly every time I met someone, we discovered we had mutual friends. Or felt as though we did. Note: Many of the attendees knew acclaimed science fiction author and Seattle resident Octavia Butler, whose sudden death Saturday was announced at Potlatch Sunday just after noon. That made a very somber ending to an otherwise upbeat weekend.

In addition to panels, auctions, book sales, and food, food, food (much of it chocolate), there was a genre trivia quiz that was downright humbling. I knew the answers to about three of the hundred questions that were tossed out to the audience (followed by Hershey's Kisses, flung in the direction of any correct answers).

The organization of the event (all volunteer) was like clockwork, with very little of the officious bustling about and panicked confabs that usually characterize volunteer-run events.

If you enjoy science fiction and want to spend a weekend with like-minded aficionados, Potlatch 16 (in Portland next spring) is a good bet!

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