The Wide World of SFF — My Weekend At DetCon1

I’m just going to jump in and assume that if you are reading this you are either:

A. A frequent visitor to The Dragon’s Roost


B. Someone who is visiting for the first time after being handed one of my business cards

Either way, you will be familiar with
NASFiC and what I was doing over the weekend.3 If you are following me on Facebook4, you know that I had an amazing time over the weekend. You may also have noticed that there was a marked decrease in the number of posts. This was because I was spending all of my time having fun or sleeping5 and just didn’t have time to post.

Before I get into anything else, I want to mention the funniest thing that I heard all weekend. It was said during a medical ethics panel focused on ideas from various science fiction sources. At one point there was a bit of a debate over whether or not the term human could apply to any of our ancestors who were not H
omo sapiens. Finally one panelist said “I think we can all agree that they were Homo genus but not homogenous.”

In case you were wondering how the panels I was on went, I think they went quite well. All were well attended, a bonus considering I had one an hour after the con began and another at 10 pm on Saturday opposite the big 80s dance. To be more specific:

Is There Still Life in the Undead: This is always a fun topic for me. The first panel I ever appeared on (and moderated because, you know, ego) was on this topic. There were some interesting discussions including one in which we examined the possibility that the continued popularity of vampires and zombies may be an aspect of the growth of geek culture and the acceptance of some aspects of geek entertainment by the masses. I also got a number of good suggestions for films and books to pursue.

Zombie Culture: We all know I can talk about zombies for hours. Fortunately for everyone in the audience (and the other panelists) I managed to
not do this. Another fun topic.

Anti-Science Sentiment in the US: This was the one I was nervous about. Going in I did not feel like I was as qualified as the other panelists, but I held my own. My fellow panelists made me feel welcome and asked for my opinion on some topics. On others I just grabbed the mic
6 and interjected my two cents. Afterwards the Moderator thanked me for being on the panel and we spoke for some time. I spent a lot of time not quite touching the floor while walking after that.

Why Aren’t There More Vampyre Astronauts?: This was the late night panel, but was still quite well attended. This is a good thing as it became more of a free-flowing discussion of genre mash-ups with little barrier between the audience and the panelist. I kind of felt like I dropped the ball as moderator on this one, but everyone seemed to enjoy the less formal atmosphere. The main conclusion from this panel seemed to be that there were no mash-ups that were totally off limits, but there were some that would be incredibly hard to find a market for. This was another panel which I left with a huge list of books to track down.

Reading: I went back and forth, trying to decide what to read. I didn’t want to go with anything I had written recently as most of it has been in the serial killer vein. I felt that this might not be correct for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy audience. I have some tried and true pieces, but I really wanted to do something different. In the end
7, I read “Ragnarok Around The Clock,” which first appeared in Erie Tales IV: Tales of the Apocalypse/Bloody Mary. I think it went over pretty well (although there were only a handful of attendees at 10 am Sunday morning).

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who was on the panels with me. You were all, without fail, amazing. It was an honor to work with you.

I spent most of the rest of my time attending other panels. I learned about the Soviet space program, discussed medical ethics, and discovered secrets of self-publishing, self-promotions, and branding. I filked for the first time. I went to a
Dixon’s Violin concert and it was absolutely amazing! If you have a chance to see him, I strongly suggest that you do. Your ears and your emotion chip will love you for it. I watched a set of short horror films and even caught the tail end of Robocop. 8/9

I also spent some time helping set up and then just helping out at the Penguicon Room Parties.
10 I was quite outgoing during these parties (Friday and Saturday night), talking to people, explaining Penguicon, telling them why they would have a great time. I also just talked to people. I had great conversations with people from all walks of life and areas of the country (and Canada!). One of the most interesting was the gentleman who acted in a one man show portraying Mark Twain who tossed the occasional bon mot into the mix in Twain’s voice.

I was also uncharacteristically social outside of the party
11. I spoke to people in the lobby, in the elevators, before and after panels. I was a social freakin’ butterfly. I walked up to authors, introduced myself, and invited them to Penguicon.

The only opportunity I missed was participating in the mass autographing. I did go through and do my Penguicon spiel for as many authors as I could. I told myself that I wasn’t manning my own table because I didn’t have a chance to grab any books from storage, because I wanted to be free to walk around and introduce myself, or because I was helping set up for the Friday night Penguicon Room Party. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have participated if none of those things were going on. I know I missed out on an opportunity to make some sales, but I think it would have sapped me quite a bit. There are no measures of social interaction in which I come out looking like anything other than an isolationist. Being outgoing for four days really took it out of me. I don’t know what participating in the autographing would have done to me.

Although, I did manage to be outgoing for four solid days.

Maybe we’ll get to find out next time.

1 Welcome Back!

2 Welcome!

3 If you need a refresher, check out this

4 And why wouldn’t you be?

5 Way more of the former, not enough of the latter.

6 Yes, there were microphones in almost all of the rooms. This was the only one I actually had to use the mic for because the room and the audience were huge.

7 Pun intended.

8 Of course the original.

9 How could I pass up the opportunity to watch the film which takes place in downtown Detroit in one of, if not the, most recognizable buildings in downtown Detroit?

10 If you are not familiar with
Penguicon, you should be. It is my “home Con.” If you have the slightest geek bone in your body, we have programming you will be interested in.

11 In case you were thinking it was just a result of alcohol intake.