Friday, September 08, 2006

alien romances

Dragoncon Report

Last week at this time I was in Atlanta, Georgia, but I was also in a different world. Not an alien world for me, because I’ve been going to science fiction and media conventions since the 1970s. But despite being experienced with the world of fandom, this was my first Dragoncon, and it blew me away. I spent the Labor Day holiday smiling, gang, smiling so much my jaw ached. Me, and about 40,000 other smiling people, many in costume, all of us crowded into three huge hotels in downtown Atlanta.

How does one explain fandom to the uninitiated? Well, if I say “It’s the most fun you can have while dressed up like Darth Vader” that might give a bit of a hint of the flavor of what a con can be. Fandom is this huge family, a multi-generation, ever-expanding family, and Dragoncon (see www.Dragoncon.org for more info and pictures) is one of the biggest annual family get togethers you can experience. If you like something – say science fiction/fantasy romance – you will find people of like mind happy to talk about it with you at Dragoncon. Heck, I ended up joining a fanclub called Stargate Atlanta, even though I live in the upper Midwest because I’m a Stargate fan. I bought Firefly/Serenity tee-shirts and Anime DVDs in the Dealers Room, I went to a music concert by a Celtic rock band called Emerald Rose, I was tempted to bid on an oil painting in the art show that depicted “The Two Jacks” Sparrow and Aubrey that is, a young woman filled me in on the plotline of a television series from New Zealand called “The Tribe” that had a track of programming. I talked vampires with lots of people. I went to the parade.

Yes, Dragoncon has its own parade. On Saturday a section of downtown Atlanta is closed off and the parade goes by. The parade consists of guests, and of costumed Dragoncon participants. My morning started with me standing on the sidewalk outside the Hyatt and calling a friend back home. I woke her up, but I had to tell her about the huge flock of Jedi I’d just seen heading up the street to the assembly area. The parade started with a bagpiper (fantasy writer/artist Janny Wurts) and was followed up by a convertible carrying one of the con’s many guests – Mickey Rooney. Let’s see, what do I remember? A shire’s worth of hobbits, along with lots of Elves and two different Gandalfs, one gray, one white were in the parade. Um, all the houses of Hogwarts were represented. There were those Jedi I saw earlier, and a troop of Imperial Stormtroopers brought up the rear. And I’ll never forget Zoot Suit Vader. I think my favorite was the old car that had been pimped out as the Thunderbird of War and had a passel of Klingons hanging off of it. Oh, and there were all the superheros, and an large group of people dressed as icons from WWII, including Rosie the Riveter and Betty Grable. I mean, it was great, and incredibly creative. And that was just the parade.

Part of the reason I was at the con was to work. I ended up speakin on five panels, four on writing on the Writing Track and one on vampires as the eternal archetype on the Goth Track. I went to a lot of panels, as well, including writing fantasy humor, and discussions on Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books. Todd McCaffrey was on the Pern panels, as was Jody Lynn Nye. Jody and Bob Aspirin did several discussions of the Myth books. Let’s see, who else do I remember being there? Kevin Sorbo was among the actor guests, other writers include our own Susan Kearney. Mary Janice Davidson was there, as was Sherrilyn Kenyon, Deb Dixon, Josepha Sherman, Ann Crispin, Lilith Saintcrow, Rosemary Laurey – that’s all I can remember right now.

Anyway, Dragoncon was huge and fun and almost overwhelming, and I highly recommend you go next year. I know I’m going to be there.

Susan Sizemore

7 comments:

  1. If I go, then you won't call me at 7 on a Saturday. And we'll leave She Who Must Be Obeyed at the Doggiesitter.

    Jane

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  2. Oh, you'll be going all right...

    Susan

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  3. Sounds like a blast!!! I want to go next year. Are you a browncoat? I love the Firefly/Serenity series.

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  4. I am most definitely a Browncoat. Didn't discover Firefly until it was showing on SiFi -- and I don't know why I didn't get into it firstrun as I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan. Anyway, I caught up and am a loyal follower.

    Susan

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  5. I'm glad you had fun. :) As one of the aforementioned Hogwarts marchers, it was amazing, as it is every year. The Young Adult Lit section, where I staff and spent all my time, was great. Next year we're hoping to do even more fun stuff. :0 I made keyfobs and gave them to people for their badges for the track, and you're right. Emerald Rose just ROCKED. They performed at our Yule Ball. :)

    -Heather

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  6. Oh I'm going for sure next year. I just hope Adam Baldwin is there. I'm such a Jayne girl.

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  7. I don't like large cons, but you make this one sound almost irresistibly attractive. Something for everyone!

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