I don’t know if kids still have to do those “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essays, but here’s mine.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to the 49th ConQuest Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, where I had the great honor and joy of serving on some panels.
I confess I was apprehensive about the sci-fi and fantasy charades, but since I was one of the judges, I didn’t have to publicly humiliate myself (I have no pride or restraint when it comes to things like charades). As it happens, I remembered a lot of the rules and was able to help the contestants with the clues like “sounds like”, how many words or syllables, the sign for plural, and so forth. The fun thing was, everyone was so familiar with the titles that guessing was a lot easier than I thought it would be. One of the participants was head and shoulders above everyone else, so we had a clear winner. If you haven’t played charades in a while, by all means, give it a go. If you invite me, I’ll come and make a fool of myself.
Other panels I served on were “Consent, Coercion, and Everything In-Between”, “The End of the World As We Know It”, and “Edgar Allan Poe”. There were lively discussions for all of them, but of course, the EAP panel was my favorite. In addition, I moderated the author speed dating. This was an opportunity for readers and authors to meet face to face for a few minutes and talk about the authors’ new books. I think everyone had a really good time with this, and I hope it will be a regular feature at future cons. Finally, I did a reading of Beloved Lives and a bit of Wasting Water.
Of the panels I attended, my favorite was “Solar Punk: A Brighter Future”, presented by Tyrell Gephardt. This was a look at a genre so new there are not yet any novels for it, only anthologies of short stories. I found it fascinating–the future with hope and eco-innovation. Tyrell did a great job researching the rise of new genres and presenting the trajectory of each. By all means, look for solar punk to add to your reading list.
I also enjoyed “For Your Listening Pleasure” about sound tracks for various movies (I have a sound track station on my Pandora account), the great vendor area, a few other panels I was able to catch bits of before having to get to something else, and the opening ceremony (I had a commitment that kept me from staying for the closing ceremony). But one of the things I hadn’t done so much in the past and made an effort to do this year was to go to as many readings as possible.
I was delighted by the quality of many of the readers’ work, with my special favorites being Sean Demory and Jack Campbell, Jr., although there were a lot of other great authors.
ConQuest is a small but dense convention with heavy emphasis on the written word. If you love to read sci-fi and fantasy, consider making a pilgrimage to it next year. Hopefully the Tattoo Convention will once again be happening at the same time just next door to provide interesting eye candy.
Image: Me in the party room at ConQuest (actually, that’s Venus at Pompeii. By Marilyn Evans)