Monday, September 03, 2007

Dragon*Con 2007: The Aftermath

Dragon*Con. Whew!

I'm tired, and my legs are sore, but I thoroughly had a blast this year.

The Highlights

Auctioning off a copy of Voices in this year's Charity Auction, autographed by myself, as well as my contributors and fellow convention attendees Eugie Foster, Mur Lafferty, Davey Beauchamp, and cover artist Fox Gradin. The book sold for $40 for the American Diabetes Association.

I also learned from Mur that Greg van Eekhout blogged about the anthology, stating that he didn't know about it until after the fact, even though he is an insulin-dependent diabetic. I'm sorry I didn't know this, and even more sorry I didn't think to ask him for a story, as he is a terrific writer.

Panels! I love talking about all things SF in a couple of the conventions many programming tracks. The big ones this year were Manimal and Friends: One Season Wonders for the SF Classics track, starring my friend, the always entertaining Joe Crowe of RevolutionSF fame. Joining us was his fellow Revolutionary Gary Mitchel, as we talked about some of the best and worst one season shows in recent, and not so recent, memory. We also talked Simian Sci-Fi, about all the monkeys in SF and Fantasy, and why everything is better with a monkey.

Following on the heels of that was Saturday Night Games: Stump the Geeks, and Are You Smarter Than A Staff Member? Joe, Gary and I filled in for absent staff members on that last one, as track director Ron Nastrom doled out questions about movies and television of the 60's through the 80's. Joe was hilarious, as always, the audience participated beautifully, and a good time was had by all, especially since everyone walked away with a prize, since Ron's wife didn't want to see any of the DVDs, movie posters, and other swag ever again. And Joe brought his personal treasure trove as well, from which I scored a free copy of Mark Finn's adept biography of Robert E. Howard, Blood & Thunder.

Over at the SF Lit track, I discussed the role of religion in SF and Fantasy, as well as the decline of SF in favor of Fantasy. Lots of audience participation, and so much discussion that the religion panel could have easily gone two hours. Fun stuff.

Seeing people I only get to see once a year, like the aforementioned contributors to my anthology, as well as Joe Crowe, Shane Ivey and Van Allen Plexico.

The Dealer's Room! One Dragon*Con must-see is always the Dealer's Room and Exhibitor's Halls. Though I didn't spend as much as I would have had my wife not been there to reign me in, I got some quality stuff this year. I picked up a volume collecting Paul Chadwick's Concrete: Fragile Creature and several other stories featuring his wonderful creation, and the piece de resistance, a Weta King Kong statue entitled Kong's Last Stand, which features the giant ape grasping the wing of a biplane to keep from falling to his death. It now resides atop the small bookshelf in my office. I'll post a picture when I can.

The Lowlights

Being scheduled for two events Friday night that I really wanted to do, but not being able to attend the convention until Saturday. This often happens to me, but it is somewhat irritating nonetheless. I was scheduled for a reading Friday night--which I had an absolute blast doing last year--followed by a panel that I suggested to the SF Lit folks that we did last year entitled The Dead Authors Society. I was going to channel H.P. Lovecraft, and someone told me that a few people showed up for my reading. Oh well. A more careful schedule prep on my part should help next year.

The crowds. There were easily in excess of 30 thousand people there this weekend, which made getting where you needed to be difficult at times. Catching an elevator is always a nightmare, and we missed out on a panel because the room was full to capacity by the time we got there. I was told by two other attendees that on Friday night, the Fire Marshall shut things down temporarily by not letting one else in.

All in all though, it was a good convention. We stayed down there this year for the first time, though not in one of the host hotels. And my wife is even talking about booking a room at the Hyatt, the main hotel, early for next year. She's even thinking about dressing up. And this from a decidedly non-fan. It's a Dragon*Con miracle.


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