What is it that makes a con? Is it the chance to meet published authors and prominent fans? Is it the spirited discussion of high-minded concepts deep into the night? Is it the opportunity to engage in salacious activities?
Ultimately, what a convention all comes down to is building a community. We all live in disparate locations around the country, and even with the gleaming new interstate system that allows us to travel in minutes what used to take hours, the density of fans in any given location is not particularly high. So we all congregate in one place so that, for a brief shining instant, we can imagine a world where the fan is the norm.
It’s a beautiful (and sometimes frightening) idea.
The convention I just came back from was Westercon SD (not to be confused with the “true” Westercon, currently still going on in Boise, Idaho and known this year as “Boycon”). All of the traditional con activities were present: the filk sings, the masquerade, the dance (a sock-hop, of course).
I was present at none of these, however. Instead, I simply ambled back and forth between the Dealers’ Hall and the Hospitality Suite, occasionally dropping in on a panel. I really go to cons just to meet people, and it’s great to strike up conversations on esoteric topics with total strangers. And you can, at a con, because you know that any given attendee will share several of your interests. Mine, as my readers know, include increasing the inclusiveness of our clique, thus increasing the diversity of our membership; being something of a legal maven, the issues involved in copyrights are also near and dear to my heart.
There were also many conversations on these three perennial topics:
1) “It’s not as good as it used to be.”
2) “Where did you buy that?”
3) “How do we get more people to be fans?”
As I stated above, a convention is all about its attendees, so let’s have a look at some of the folks who comprised Westercon SD’s short-lived but happy community:
This lovely gentleman is Doug Richards, that rare breed of writer who has made the big-time. We met in line for registration, and we quickly became fast friends. A really great fellow.
Ben has been attending Westercon virtually since its inception. No fan like an old fan!
Here’s Stuart, sampling the wares at the Dealers’ Hall.
The brand new character, Supergirl!
Gotta love Tone’s style!
Not to mention Her Majesty (perhaps inspired by this story?)
Another dapper gentleman tending booth.
Jennifer makes an amazing Morgan le Fay…
Cindy, selling first edition Oz books.
This is Chris, an historian and aeroplane enthusiast.
Gabrielle, again, as well as Kit (the merchant), and the lovely Janice.
Here is Janice again. I was so taken with her, that I invited her to come home with me. Of course, it was something of a sure thing–we’ve been married nearly twenty years!
And the Traveler, himself.
See you soon with a load of print fiction reviews. And then… off to the movies!