Why Cons are Great Fun

Science Fiction/Fantasy Horror conventions are a place where people with similar interests can get together and talk about the things they love. While there are a few nut cases and socially inept con goers, most of the folk are nice, regular people. Why should you go? You mean besides how much fun it is? Let me explain it from my FenCon VI experience this weekend.

  • I met Keith DeCandido who wrote the Serenity tie-in (you know, Firefly and Joss?). He's also written for Buffy, Spiderman, Star Trek: TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, StarCraft, Farscape, and so on. This reason alone should get you looking for your next local con.
  • FenCon has many panels for aspiring writers with established authors who know what they're talking about. My favorite this year was Self-Promotion for Writers with Lou Antonelli (newspaper journalist and short stories), P Blair (was in newspapers, now has 3 novels), Rachel Caine (dozens of awesome books, Weather Wardens and Morganville Vampires series), Rie Rose (4 novels, 5 poetry books), Selina Rosen (runs small press, Yard Dog Press and wrote several books, including my fave, Strange Robby), Shanna Swendson (Enchanted, Inc. series).

I learned about techniques that work (give aways, personal interaction, word of mouth) and things that don't (ads, stamps, calendars). They agreed that being genuine and confident work while being shy or mean is death. This brief recap of my memory doesn't include everything, just a taste of the information and mentors you'll find at cons.

  • Panels are not just for writers. Many panels are about movies, tv shows, space, technology, costuming, writers workshops, filk (satirical music, often about the shows we love) and other sf/f topics. I attended the panel- 70 years of Marvel Comics with Cat Conrad (artist), Paul Cornell (writer for tv and comics), A. Lee Martinez (writer), Tracy Morris (writer), Stephen Patrick (writer), and J Giacoio (musician). While they discussed many things I don't know about (I'm a fringe comic reader), they did talk about Disney's recent purchase of Marvel and what they suspect will happen next. Will Disney's Marvel stick to the tried and true heroes or take more chances on new lines? I'm still uncertain.
  • The Bar- where everyone goes when not working panels (I'm thinking of the Cheers theme song right now). I love hanging in the bar. In fact, the more I go to cons, the less time I spend in panels. I enjoying time with friends and meeting new people, even if I do put my foot in my mouth and ask Teresa Patterson if her book is published yet. She's a really nice lady who has written many books, including collaborations with well known authors (Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Robert Asprin). I make new friends every single convention. This is one of my favorite things about cons!
  • Readings! Your favorite authors and others on their way up read their material, sometimes published and sometimes not. Want to hear a chapter from the latest book that hasn't hit the shelves? You can! Want to hear great short stories from new authors? Yes, most guests have a reading time where you can be entertained in person!
  • The Con Suite has free food and is a nice place to chat and stave off starvation until your next meal (or even have a meal if you like nachos and hot dogs). Room Parties, some on Friday but most on Saturday night has snack foods and sometimes beer and other alcoholic enticements. I spent most of Saturday night at the ApolloCon Party with a bunch of friends laughing and being silly. It's like all of the best times in high school with none of the worst (or even boring) times. I'm planning to go to ApolloCon in Houston someday, but for now I'll enjoy their great parties.
  • Their is gaming, mostly cards or board time games rather than the computer stuff most of us play. I've been in the gaming room once and played Munchkins (card game) for the first time! The thing I like about the gaming room is that you can try new things and learn about games other people love.
  • I don't go to cons to watch movies, but they do have a room that plays movies all the time. Lots and lots of movies.
  • Shenanigans! Oh yes, I have fun at cons. Barrels of fun. During FenCon VI, some of my friends were worried I was going to fall down the stairs but I told them I had on my +5 dexterity boots. Right after that another friend nearly fell coming up three steps from the bar and everyone gave her a round of applause. Then in the bathroom, her phone fell out of her back pocket and into the toilet. Did I mention she's a germ-a-phobe?

While talking about t-shirts I want (Dr Horrible, and 'Save the Endangered Dorkapotamus'), someone mentioned a t-shirt idea for the new Soldak game- Set your friends on fire with barrels of oil! It's barrels of fun! Umm... maybe not, but it made me laugh.

I ordered someone dressed as a sim (from the game) to go take a shower. I realized that might have come off wrong and said I was kidding while resisting the urge to tell them to go to the bathroom. Finally I said, "Go make a lunch meat sandwich!" Later I found out someone overheard the first part and was glad that someone really was on Shower Patrol!

There was some serious silliness going on in the ApolloCon party. Unfortunately for you, it was of the Had-To-Be-There variety. Much laughter ensued. And whatever Hutson might tell you, I was NOT the instigator! Ha!

I'm looking back at my list and wondering what I've missed. Seriously, there is a lot to do at a sf/f h con. A lot. And only 2 days to do it in. Smile If you live near Dallas/Fort Worth, consider attending ConDFW in February. If not, google can find you a local one. The small ones are fairly cheap, though one day I want to go to the bigger ones like DragonCon, World Con or PAX.

Delilah Rehm

Coments Here

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