First: My legs are tired.
Second: Although I only got to go for Saturday, I had a BLAST.
I haven’t been to Dragon*Con in years. Ten years, in fact, as in “I remember the days when the entrance line wasn’t a half-mile long”. So much has changed, mostly for the better.
I had three objectives going into Saturday’s events. I wanted to meet and support some of the folks I owe a lot to, as some of them were up for awards, and I also wanted to interact with other industry professionals. Finally, I wanted to see if I was the type of guy that might enjoy myself at cons.
Stupid question. Other than the fact that single-day ticket sales aren’t available online, which is just stupid, my sole complaint the entire day was the totally illogical layout and management of the registration line. Two and a half hours is a fraking insane wait just to get in the door. You’d also think there would have been a separate line for cash and credit payments, but since there were only two payment booths total, I guess expecting reason to be at work is to much to ask.
Complaints aside, most of the rest of the Con is surprisingly well-organized, and I generally found it fairly easy to get where I was going. Marta was even easy to use to get there, as it deposited me right in the middle of the action.
Once I got my bearings and checked my schedule, I checked out the walk of fame and took time to greet Richard Hatch and Gates McFadden, both of whom were very approachable people. I tried not to have a geek-gasm over the presences of Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes. Spiner is probably one of the funniest guys on Earth. Amongst all the other signers, I was disappointed to see the Sci-Fi authors’ booths relegated to the back wall with a simple print-out with their name overhead. It looked like they would be literally sitting in the penalty box. None of them showed up for the 4PM signings, which is something I’ll leave the authors themselves to explain. I’m told it involves bad directions and disorientation, which is something I can understand.
I then attended a writer’s panel called “Places where man was not meant to go”, which turned out to be quite fascinating. In short, the discussion revolved around books that failed to hit it off for the authors present, and the small-but-active audience really gave some valuable info I was happy to digest. I knew most of the failings they put forward, but some I hadn’t considered. I also revealed my super-secret: I’ve never been able to finish Stranger in a Strange Land, due to the fact that the tale moves too slowly for my taste.
Finally came the Second Annual Parsec Awards, which stood as the highlight of the evening. I finally had the chance to support Matt Wallace and Rick Stringer, two guys I deeply respect, and who work with Anne Stringer on the excellent Variant Frequencies podcast. It was pleasure to sit in the audience and see these guys get their due when they won a Parsec for Wallace’s featured piece “No World for Warriors”. Afterwards, I grabbed a photo of the two of them:
I’m serious when I say I owe Matt and Rick big time. Matt is responsible for a lot of encouragement and for helping me out early on, and Rick has taken “Spired”, one of my dark science fiction pieces, for inclusion sometime in the future on “Variant Frequencies”. I knew Matt would hit it big a ever since I first started listening to him, and I think it’s only a matter of time before Rick gets similar recognition. Beyond that, they’re just damn good at what they do. These two guys were incredibly welcoming, and I had a pleasure talking shop with them. “Class” is an adequate description.
After grabbing an autograph and talking with Scott Sigler, (whom, like the other fiction podcasters, are people all speculative writers owe a debt too for starting this paradigm shift), I found myself invited to dinner with a group of podcasters and writers.
After some walking around, Mur Lafferty suggested Benihana’s, so we grabbed a bite while watching a very colorful Hibachi chef named Ricky regail us with his skills as a culinary pimp. I was pleased to share the table with Matt, Rick, Mur, Matthew Wayne Selznick, and Chris and Henry of the Adult Space Child Free Podcast. The conversation was good, and I had a feeling there were several potential friends sitting around me. It’s a credit to character that these folks were so down-to-Earth after their successes. I want to extend the public offer to all of you good people to stay in touch, and I also wanted to thank you again for letting me tag along and being so friendly. I’ll be checking out more of your stuff, too. If you send me a banner image, I’ll slap it on the plugs page.
And Matt: Don’t worry, I won’t post the umbrella shot. BWA HA HA HA.