There’s not really time for the full faux-epique after action report, alas, so you’ll all have to make do without the Lo! And the trusty steed Toyota Camry. And all that.
Suffice to say, I have attended this year’s Lunacon and returned more or less in one piece. I can report that the Westchester Marriott is a nice hotel, and that despite the venue lacking the Escher Hilton’s trans-dimensional charms, there was no shortage of lost souls wandering the halls.
Some of the oddities of the event (it wouldn’t be a Lunacon without at least one oddity) were the last-minute shift of the green room from a standard conference room to a suite several floors away. Somehow the signposting for the new location got eaten by a grue or something because I only found out where it was because I was looking lost at the door which had the sign on it and someone noticed and took pity on me.
There was a certain quirkiness to the room assignments, too. All my panels were in one room, which had tables. Round tables. This is not the most efficient layout for a panel, and when there’s one that’s likely to pull a lot of people, probably not the best place to put it (I’m not even going near the way the programming venue was quite literally across the hall from people’s hotel rooms. I can understand why they called that section the “active” room block).
The less said about the author autograph station the better. An unlabeled table in one of the least trafficked parts of the convention? The only people likely to get anything were the guests of honor (I trotted off to my autograph session in the full expectation that I wouldn’t need to sign anything. I was right).
Okay, that’s the bigger oopses.
Some of the pluses: my reading (bizarrely, at 10:30pm Friday night) actually had people there (waves at both of them). They liked the Prussian Knights, too, so my beta readers need to pull fingers out and get back to me at least to the level of “yes it works/no it sucks” so I can get it edited then nag my publisher (Hi, Sarah!) to publish it.
My panels were fun, too.
The Plausible Impossible – which was my suggestion and for which I confessed my sins to my fellow panelists – turned into a fun discussion about ways to make things that are either totally impossible or really unlikely work in the context of a story. The audience seemed to have as much fun as we panelists did, although I feel for the lady with hearing issues who had trouble with some of the softer-spoken speakers (I spoke loud). No microphones = project your voice, lots.
The other topic I suggested, My Character is not Me, also turned into a fun discussion about characterization tricks and how to make it work especially when you don’t have much/anything in common with your character.
The Monster’s Perspective panel was another interesting one, with everyone agreeing that whatever the monster is, it’s probably not getting up in the morning and saying “What evil shall I do today?” There was a lot of discussion, punning, and all around fun that more or less spoke to the topic.
And yet again, whatever magic at Lunacons that turns topics which could easily turn into uber-extremist whining grievance sessions into productive discussions sprinkled its fairy dust (or non-PC-dust, or whatever) on the Strong Female Characters and the rather large panel (6 + moderator, who did a really good job herding cats) and standing room only audience to bring out a lot of good discussion about different kinds of strength. It helped, I think, that the ages of the panelists ranged from what looked like not far out of college through to old enough to have been advised that college was a waste of time for a female because she’d just get married. I was somewhere in the middle, age-wise.
We all agreed that your stereotypical “strong woman” who kicks ass and takes names despite being half the size of the males whose asses she kicks (which is physically impossible without serious genetic trickery and heavy training) is totally unrealistic, and we had a bunch of examples of non-stereotype strong characters including stubborn as hell grandmothers, Greek goddesses, and various other interesting people – which of course was the point. It’s all about the person, not this trait or that trait.
So now I’m in recovery and hoping that con crud won’t make an appearance. Perhaps one day there’ll be a miracle and I won’t get back from a con more tired than I was when I arrived.
p.s. No, I didn’t get the day wrong. Sarah couldn’t post today so we swapped. Look for her post tomorrow.