Man, I Suck at This + Penguicon Stuff

It’s time for my semi-annual “Jeez it’s been a long time since I blogged, but I’ve been really busy, honest for true” post.1

Yes, a quarter of a year has passed since my last entry here, but at least I have been keeping up with the website
3, and the other social media platforms.4 If you have been following those, you will know that I have actually been quite busy publishing four new books, getting into a car accident5, coming down with Captain Tripps6, and attending a number of cons.

Speaking of Cons
7, it has been a little over a week since this year’s Penguicon. This is the part where I tell you all what a great time I had, how everything there is so cool and all of the people are wonderful, and how it is my favorite con. All of those things are very true. For those who haven’t been paying attention, Penguicon is a local (too me) convention which focuses on computer programming, technology, SFF, food, movies, books and writing, costuming, and basically everything a geek would love or be interested in. I attended my first Penguicon roughly a decade (or more!) ago. I presented my first panel at Penguicon.8 I was in charge of the Literature Track for a couple of years, and also the Life Track.

Penguicon is one of the most inclusive experiences I have ever had. Another attendee said it best years ago when she pointed out that no matter what your area of interest or your level of geekdom, no one looks down on anyone there. I couldn’t find the exact quote, but that is the gist of it. I regularly present in the Lit track, and occasionally in others like Media and Life. I attend panels that range from silicone casting, to writing, to internet security. My level of expertise in these areas ranges from amateur (or mildly informed interested person) on up, but I’ve never had anyone berate me or even look at me funny for not knowing what everyone else in the room knows.

All levels and interests of fandom are represented and accepted. This is especially nice for a horror geek like myself.
9 I get to talk to people about my favorite books, shows, anime, whatever and again, no side-eyes.

Over the past few years, Penguicon has been more inclusive in other ways as well. Non-gendered bathrooms have been added. A system of stickers, and later pins, has been adopted so people can easily tell what other attendee’s level of social comfort is at a glance.

I think all of this is absolutely wonderful and I applaud the people who helped organize these and other recent advances.

To quote Ron White, “I told you that story, so I can tell you this:”

Apparently, this has made some con-goers feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. There has been a recent kerfuffle regarding these changes and the announcement of one of the Guests of Honor for next year. I’m not going into the details. I am also not going to berate the individuals who feel uncomfortable for their opinions.

What I will say is that I am disappointed that the recent crap
13 has spilled into my con.

You know what I’m talking about. I generally keep this a politics free zone, but if you know me, you will know that certain things which have happened recently
14 have left me somewhere in the ill/nauseous/outraged end of the spectrum. That some of this is rearing its head in my beautiful safe space of a convention is past the pale.

I was actually sick when I read some of the e-mails and the associated blog posts. Once again, not going to deny people their own feelings, etc. I simply disagree.

I hope that we can maintain the current course of the convention without backsliding. I am hoping that, by volunteering and working where I can, I can keep something that I love from changing in a way which would make me, at best, nostalgic for the past.15 I hope that there are others who agree with me and are willing to do the same.

1. Those who have been around for a while will recognize these. New folks,
2 get used to them.
3. Kinda.
Twitter and Facebook.
5. I’m fine. The other people are fine. After substantial bodywork, Molly is fine.
6. Or the Klingon Death Flu if you prefer. It was either pneumonia or an upper respiratory infection. Antibiotics were required.
7. The Segue King returneth!
8. Where I had the nerve to act as Moderator for
Cherie Priest and Patrick Rothfuss who were absolutely wonderful, are brilliant writers, and if you haven’t read their books click on their names and get started!
9. Sometimes Horror is viewed as the red-headed stepchild of the speculative fiction community.
10. Many “nerds” have social interaction issues. I’ve documented my own ways of dealing with this in numerous posts. The genre convention is one of the few places where you can actually see a gathering of introverted individuals.
11. Is there a word for that? I must go ask the Zuckerberg Experiment.
12. We all know what opinions are like, yada yada.
13. I thought about changing that word for something a bit less offensive, but I decided that like the SATs I should go with my first choice.
14. Like just about everything over the last 100 days or so.
15. Feel free to replace the word “convention” with “country” in that last paragraph.