|The sign that awaited us at the door (click all photos to enlarge)|
This year's author guest of honour was Larry Niven. I greatly respect his work, though Hard Science Fiction is not my forte, so I'm not as big on his work as others were.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are Facebook friends already know some of this, but I thought I'd give you a run-down of how my weekend was.
To put it briefly, it was fantastic.
In addition to being a wonderful weekend because I was surrounded by fellow SF geeks like me, it was also the first step in my personal development plan. I was determined that, in addition to just enjoying the atmosphere, I would also interact with people. Chat with them. Share common experiences. Things that I've always been a bit fearful of.
That happened in spades, and don't worry. I won't go on about that.
The first thing you'll notice at any SF convention, and probably any media-related convention anywhere (Star Trek, Gaming, etc), is the costumes. There were some great ones at this convention, very creative people with a lot of time and effort put into making their costumes as authentic as possible.
Hell, we even had the Ghostbusters in town!
|Who you gonna call?|
|We're ready to believe you.|
I also went to the vendor room, which had already opened. Another mainstay of any convention is that there are a lot of vendors there, selling their wares. I stumbled upon a guy who was selling a bunch of steampunk-inspired crafts, as well as laser-etched woodwork.
|Due to trademark, these can't be called "Yo-Yos," but that's what they are|
|Where are those Death Star plans?|
One way I occupied my time on Friday afternoon was being interviewed! There were signs posted all over the place about a documentary shooting footage at the convention, and by attending the convention, you were giving permission to be filmed as the camera went around the hotel. They were also doing interviews, and we could contact them if we wanted to be. After a bit of deliberation, and thinking about how I was trying to break out of my shell, I emailed Mary Higgins, who was doing the documentary. I found Mary and her husband Paul in the vendor room, and we had a long chat about web video series and whether I watched them or not (that's what the documentary is about). We then ended up doing the interview right then in there.
I did feel sorry for their cameraman, though.
|I don't envy you at all, Sir.|
The documentary will be out next year, on the web. Mary said she would tell me when it was up, and maybe I'll post a link here (after I determine whether I want you to see it or not).
Another cool thing about conventions are the panels of authors and experts on a variety of topics. Not all of them are writers, but many of them are, and they share their writing insights and advice with eager fans. When I came to V-Con four years ago, I went to a large number of panels, because I thought that's what you did at conventions: attend panels. Plus, I wasn't really that sociable of a person back then. This year, I didn't go to as many, but there were still a lot of really cool ones.
One of the ones I went to on Friday night was called "First Page Idol," where people would bring the first page of their work and the panel would read it and give suggestions on it. Sadly, since the schedule was posted so late (I didn't choose my panels until Friday morning), only one person had a page ready. Thus, it became "First Line" Idol, after a discussion among the panelists on what editors are looking for at the beginning of works submitted to them. We then had to come up with a first line and be brave enough to say it out loud and get a reaction from the panel.
|The First Page Idol panel, (l-r: Marcie Tentchoff, Phoebe Kitanidis, Brian Hades, Ian Alexander Martin, Stephanie Johanson)|
|The excellent box art to this 1988 game|
These guys were quite interesting, and I was talking more to one of them on Sunday, and I'm now going to be invited to their next gaming session. That's going to be really cool, I think, and it's opened some other doors for me as well. There are Gaming groups all over Vancouver that I might try out, a lot of them having been represented at V-Con.
The main event of Saturday, though, was the Masquerade, a contest where a bunch of the people who had made costumes entered to win prizes. I couldn't take any pictures there, because my iPhone wouldn't do them justice from that distance. However, I did get a couple of pictures of contestants before the show.
|I had met her on Friday and while I knew she looked familiar, didn't realize who she was until after I took this picture.|
|They spent most of Saturday in the Gaming Room, until the Masquerade|
Actually, it got a bit surreal.
|I'm just burning, doing the Death Star dance|
(A must-listen song, you will laugh)
There were some great panels on Sunday, though I was very disappointed at the cancellation of the Podcasting panel. That's the one I was greatly looking forward to. Still, there were panels on creating your own world for your fiction, the immortal "Are Video Games Art?" question, and creating good fight scenes for your story.
However, the highlight of the day was the Turkey Readings. Basically, the four panelists take a passage from some of the worst SF books of yesteryear. They request volunteers to come up and act out the scene as it's being read. When the pain gets too much, audience members can bid to stop the reading. However, you can also bid higher to have it continue. The bidding escalates until finally people relent and let the reading come to a merciful conclusion. All money goes to charity.
|Red Sonja and some kind of manifestation|
I can't end this recap without talking about the Hospitality Suite. It's all run by convention volunteers, and there were two rooms: a room with pop and snacks, and a room with alcohol. You couldn't leave the room with your food and drink, but why would you want to? Some of my best conversations of the weekend came sitting in the alcohol room, chatting with other convention attendees. I got to know a couple of them, and had a great time talking with them. I would often go up there when there was nothing else really going on, and there was always somebody up there. It's run by donations, so while you don't *have* to pay anything, it's good if you do. I did my fair share.
Sadly, I didn't get any pictures up there. I should have. Friday night, there were a lot of incredibly drunk people up there, but not in a bad way. The laughter was infectious, and there was no belligerence. It was just people having a lot of fun.
That's what this convention was about. Fun. Meeting new people. Exploring your shared love of all things SF. That's the common bond we all had. Young and old, There were kids there, and there were people in their 70s (not counting Niven himself, who was writing back in the 60s and still is going strong today). People from all walks of life.
All sharing a singular passion, and sharing it with each other.
|Ok, maybe not sharing it with the Marshmallow Man)|
If you want to explore what it was this year, to give you an idea, here's this year's web site. We'd love to have you come to Vancouver for next year's convention and see the sights as well as have a lot of fun.
And look me up! Because I'm definitely going back.