This past weekend marked the official final year of Darkover Grand Council, informally known as DarkoverCon. Because of the death of its founder, Jaelle of Armida (Judy Gerjuoy), the Darkover name can no longer be used. Next year, a new convention incorporating the best of the old, ChessieCon, will be inaugurated at the same place and date.
Sadly, it will have to go on without one of Darkover’s major attractions, the folk and filk group Clam Chowder. At this year’s con they played their farewell concert. Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend will never be quite the same without “Bend Over, Greek Sailor.” For an explanation, see here:Clam Chowder: Bend Over, Greek Sailor
On the plus side, ChessieCon plans to reinstitute the costume contest, dropped from Darkover several years ago because of declining participation.
This convention included a lively panel on the Sime-Gen universe. Wish you could have been there, Jacqueline! I appeared on four panels: “Werewolves vs. Vampires,” “Children of the Night: What Music They Make” (about wolves and werewolves), “The Romance Invasion” (about romance in speculative fiction), and “Sudden Changes: Sime-Gen, Werewolves, Changelings, and Love Bites” (come to think of it, we never got around to discussing changelings). I also participated in the rapid fire reading presented by Broad Universe, an organization that promotes the work of female speculative fiction writers; that’s a session in which each author reads a short snippet of five or ten minutes.Broad Universe
One great attraction of this con for me is that it’s small enough to feel relaxed and intimate, yet just big enough that there are several tracks with enough topics and activities to choose from so there’s always something to do. I wish I could fit in more of the Steampunk track, since some of their topics sound quite intriguing. (I would have loved to attend the presentation on Victorian spiritualism if there hadn’t been an unavoidable conflict at that hour.) And their costumes are fun to look at. I also rejoice in the fact that there’s a full track of music programming, another feature I don’t get to sample as much of as I’d probably enjoy.
If you like cozy cons that are very book-focused and writer-oriented, try to make it to ChessieCon in some future year. Date, Thanksgiving weekend; place, just north of Baltimore.ChessieCon
Margaret L. CarterCarter's Crypt