Category Archives: Fandom

World Fantasy Convention

I went to the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore at the beginning of the month.  Overall, I’d have to say that I was underwhelmed.

This convention is only for fantasy literature.  There were no people in costume, games, or movie stars.  I don’t typically get into that stuff, so I thought this would work well for me, but there actually wasn’t much programming compared to other conventions I’ve attended.  This is one of those conventions where you’re supposed to mingle and meet industry insiders (Yeah, that’s where I excel).

I used the term fantasy literature intentionally because this convention reminded me of some of the writing conventions I’ve attended where people look down their noses at genre fiction writers.  Of course, this was a genre fiction writing convention, so I had a hard time figuring out what we were looking down our noses at until I realized we were looking down our noses at the history of our genre.

This really didn’t hit me until I sat in on “The Future of Fantasy” panel.  This panel consisted of all women who basically stated that you should only read fantasy stories from women, persons of color, and other “underrepresented” groups.  When a lady from the back of the audience spoke up and said she only cared if it is a quality story, she was quickly shut down. Apparently, the genre has been dominated by white men for too long.

I’m not disagreeing with the concept, but I’m a middle of the road kind of guy. Instead of swinging the pendulum all the way in the opposite direction, why not include everyone in the future of our genre?  Fantasy is pretty main-stream in our culture compared to a couple of decades ago.  I’m thinking there’s enough room for everyone who wants to write a quality story.

This did not seem to be the prevailing opinion.  I’m assuming I won’t be in the running for any World Fantasy Awards, but that’s okay.

On a happy note, I did get to meet a writer friend who I’ve worked with over the internet in the past.  Also, I sat in on the best reading ever—If you ever get a chance to hear Andy Duncan read one of his stories aloud, you will thoroughly enjoy it.  Also, the art show was pretty cool.

All-in-all, I’m glad I went for the experience, but I won’t spend the money on this one again anytime soon.

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Filed under Conventions, Fandom, Fantasy

Dragon Con was Sick

I finally figured out what the kids are talking about.  I got sick while at Dragon Con (that’s what it means–right?).  I guess it was inevitable with all those people that someone was infected.  I mean, we were packed in so tightly in some places that I’m sure the guy next to me knew when my cell phone vibrated or could tell me how much change I had in my pocket (Twenty-three cents according to the guy dressed as Hellboy).

Saturday was the crazy crowded day.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in such a large crowd before.  I would have taken a picture, but that would have meant trying to get my cell phone out of my pocket without losing my place in the mob.  I did enjoy all the costumes though.

Dragoncon Cosplay

Notice there are no crowds in this picture.  My wife took it on the way back to our hotel which was about four blocks from the convention.  Walking the four blocks every day was a pain, but getting away from the crowds made it worth the walk.

I didn’t get to do much of the programming.  We were there for two days, and it took one day just to go through the vendors and art show.  Here’s the entrance to one of the vendor floors on Friday.

Dragoncon

Silly me, I thought it was crowded on Friday.  The vendor area took up four floors.  We spent about five hours going through this area and then took a break back at the hotel and went back in the evening to check out the artist room.

I hit some of the programmings on Saturday, and we went to the Dragon Con Night at the Aquarium on Saturday night.  All in all, I had a great time, even though the crowds were a bit overwhelming.  I’ll be honest, I had the best time back at the hotel swimming pool on Friday afternoon recharging my batteries.  No crowds there.  Everyone was at the convention.

Pool

I doubt I’ll go back to Dragon Con again unless I can sell books.  For me, there wasn’t enough writing programming to make me want to spend the money to come back.  Besides, for an introvert like me, it was sensory overload.  It would be so much easier to stay in one place and sell books (Wow, never thought I’d say that).

A couple of days was enough time to see all the vendors, check out the costumes, and come home with a cold.   What more could you ask for?

 

 

 

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Filed under Conventions, Fandom, Travel, Writing

Off to Supercon

So I’m off to Supercon. I’m looking forward to it, but I’ll admit I’m a bit discombobulated going into it.

Here’s my conundrum: This is my first big convention with lots of cosplay. I’m enough of a dirty old man (probably man in general) to be looking forward to checking out the girl’s costumes. At the same time, the older I get, the more I am reminded that I’m old enough to be their father (Probably grandfather before much longer). This decidedly takes much of the fun out of ogling people watching.

I’m going with my daughter and her guy friend, who are dressing up. This could be really awkward, but luckily she is not wearing anything that’ll make me want to punch anyone for looking. Being the father of a daughter definitely makes you reevaluate your outlook on things (damn it).

Speaking of daughters, I kind of feel like one this morning. I drove over last night and stayed at my sister’s house. You know how it is, you go with the flow at someone else’s house as far as bath products go. This morning I washed my hair with Suave Rose Blossom shampoo and washed up with Dove, or Caress or one of those other perfumed soaps. I smell pretty.

And of course, as soon as I finished showering, I went to put my shorts on and popped the button. I’m only here for a day, so didn’t have any backup except a pair of PJ pants. I suppose I could have just worn them and said it was my custom. Luckily, my daughter had a sewing kit and I got them repaired.

So if you’re going to be at Supercon, look me up. I’ll be the old guy in the Super Genius T-shirt (ironic, I know) pulling on his shorts to hide his belly and smelling like potpourri.

I guess the bright side is that no matter how the day turns out, I’ll come out smelling like a rose.

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Filed under Author Appearance, Fandom, Humor

How do You Convention?

I’m headed to Supercon in Raleigh this weekend.  To be honest, I have mixed feelings.  While I have been a science fiction and fantasy lover (geek, nerd, dork—take your pick) for my entire life, and have recently branched into anime, the idea of being surrounded by so many die-hard fans is a bit daunting.  I’ve attended quite a few conventions over the years, but they’ve mostly been smaller in scale and had more of a writer focus.  This will be my first time diving into such a fan and cosplay intensive environment.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy people-watching and am looking forward to checking out the costumes and meeting interesting people.  I just don’t totally understand the whole fan thing.

Celebrity Much?  I remember visiting Universal Studios Hollywood when I was a teenager.  We ate lunch in the cafeteria, and a celebrity walked in.  Everyone went gaga, and I just didn’t get it.  It’s a person eating lunch.  So what if they’re an actor.

Got Candy?  I’ve never been into costumes either.  As a kid, Halloween was the only time I dressed up, and that was for the free candy.  I can’t remember ever wearing a costume as an adult unless you count a sailor outfit when I was in the Navy (It did kind of feel like I was wearing a costume).

Basically, I’m boring, but I realize I need to figure out this fan thing.  Hopefully, I’ll have a few of my own at some point and I’ll need to fulfill their fanly (yeah, I know it’s not a word, but it just sounded cool) needs.

So I’m off to Supercon this weekend.  I’ll also be attending DragonCon in Atlanta in about a month, and the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore in November.  I figure immersion is the best therapy.

If you’re going to any of these, I’ll be easy to spot.  Just look for the geeky old dude in the weird t-shirt.  Okay, maybe I’ll fit in better than I thought.

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Filed under Author Appearance, Conventions, Fandom