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To Thine Own Self Be True

In light of yesterday’s post by Jason about the whole WorldCon thing, and conversations I’ve had with friends recently, in addition to learning more about the history of Fandom: Breendoggle, the rampant child molestation at cons, Kramer of DragonCon… I have not seen the seedy underbelly of the big, old cons myself. My con experiences have been few, and fun, and that’s when it hit me.

I’m not a Fan. 

Furthermore, I don’t want to be a Fan. I shudder at the idea of meeting a SMOF – those jerks attacked my friends, and when I joined the fight, came after me and my family. I stepped back to protect my children, and in doing so, gained some perspective. Not only do I not want to be a part of their club – never did, when it comes down to it – but I object to the notion that authors have to join with these despicable types in order to succeed. No. A thousand times no. I reject that utterly.

Statistically speaking, WorldCon should be irrelevant. A few years back it was running a membership of, say, five thousand. Compare that to DragonCon or GenCon, both easily ten times that size with surplusage. But you don’t hear the political yapping from the bigger cons. They don’t want or need that: they are happy to just have people coming to have fun and let their geek flags fly. If I didn’t have serious issues with crowds I’d already have been going to them. But now? Cons are not a path to author success. That might have been true once upon a time. It was the way to meet like-minded folks in person (as revolting as that concept is when you pair it with what we know about Breen and Delaney and Zimmer Bradley) and it was a way to network with the gatekeepers of the publishing houses – editors, agents, and the other apparatchiks of a now-dying industry.

If I want to reach a few thousand people, I can write this article (Hi! to all the readers I know are out there). I can post on my own blog. I can interact with fans on social media. I like my fans. They are fun, irreverent, and sometimes enthusiastic about my work. My marketing ploy for my books has always been slow and understated. I don’t like being marketed at, myself. Being on social media while an author runs around smacking their books in people’s faces like a dead fish is anathema to me. Furthermore, I have control of my own work. I am not submitting myself to an editor who might require sexual favors of me before she will publish my book. Or submitting my books to agents who reject them out of hand because of what my politics might be. I can remain independent. I might not get the push a publisher can give, but frankly, most of these authors don’t get push. They think they will. I’ve seen posts by authors talking in glowing terms about how they are partners with their publishers and get so much help from them… and then turn right around and post begging for reads and reviews because they aren’t selling.

It’s hard work, to be Indie. But it’s honest work. It’s rewarding, and you don’t have to scrub the slime off your soul at the end of every day.

If you’re wondering about my revulsion, I suggest you read Moira Greyland Peat’s The Last Closet. It is a difficult read. I am not a fan of trigger warnings when they are misused, but this book requires one: if you are a survivor of abuse, go slowly. Be careful. I am a survivor, and this is an excruciatingly difficult read for content. On the other hand, seeing Moira through the book, and getting to know her, I am inspired and amazed by the strength she has, the resilience to come back from the depths of very hell and become a functional adult. It is through her eyes, and those of a good friend who cannot yet speak in public, that I have been exposed to the underbelly of Fandom. And I refuse to have anything to do with it.

But not all Fans… you are going to say. No, not all. But enough that I don’t know who to trust, and I know that WorldCon is full of bullies. I don’t need to know more than that. That’s enough.

But the culture war… some have said to me. Meh. You know that thing about throwing pearls before swine? Look, sense and sensibility: pearls. SMOF and Fandom? You got it. I have a family to take care of. Maybe when I don’t have hostages to fortune I can pick up a lance and tilt at windmills. Until then, I’ll keep writing essays intended to help the young and the inquisitive to have food for thought, and thus nourish their brains rather than accept the pap force-fed to them by the establishment. I’ll keep writing the stuff I wished I had been able to find when I was a young mother, and a homemaker, as recherché as the Fen might find that commitment in an era of neo-feminists. These are my weapons in the Culture War. Words, but words for the seekers, not the iron-bound who have long ago turned their faces from truth, and who seek to dehumanize any who cross their paths and whims.

I’m no genius, despite my inclusion in this club. I am, however, mad. I am a Mad Writer, whose life is words, and those words are my weapons. My fiction is for fun, my essays are for comfort and aid. I have no desire to be a Fan. I certainly am not going to willingly submit to another abusive relationship. If you’re there, and you want out, let’s talk. You can do it. You’re stronger than you realize. It’s taken me years to regain confidence that was once second-nature. I’m still scarred and always will be. It can be done. And there are those of us who will help, with no expectation of anything in return. Just to see you standing on your own two feet, independent. To be your own self. That’s all we want from you.

69 Comments
  1. I have been to three cons in my life. All Star Trek themed and back in the early 90’s. I haven’t had the desire really to go to a lot of them these days due to crowds, costs, and other factors. Never thought that I would have to think about safety. Guess I won’t be going to any at all now, unless they come highly recommended.

    January 6, 2018
    • LibertyCon is great. The only other cons I’ve done were one that is dead now, and Boskone, where I was basically a mouse hiding in corners because it was my first con. I saw friends there, which was wonderful, but didn’t take part in parties or panels.

      January 6, 2018
    • Randy Wilde #

      I used to go to gaming conventions several times a year, but from what I gather they’re whole other animals. Even when I went to Comic-Con it was primarily for the gaming.

      Thought about going to other types a few times, or at least hitting a panel or two at Comic-Con, but the more I hear the less I want to do that.

      January 6, 2018
  2. My personal experiences with cons have not been fun. I have been to several, in different areas of the country, and at every one I have had the feeling of being an outsider who has wandered by accident into a private party where I am not welcome. The insular hostility of “fan culture” is one of the main reasons that I refuse to label my work as Science Fiction, in fact.

    January 6, 2018
    • It’s funny, one of the things I did was work at a Furry convention as a face and body artist (also got talked into doing my first Reading, but that’s another tale). I wasn’t sure where it was until I saw a group of people up on a landing and knew instantly those were My People. I had a blast at the con, even though I am not nor will ever be a Furry (not my bag, guys, but the ones I’ve met are fun). They played with me and each other and although I know Furry cons are synonymous with weird sex, I saw nothing of that. The attendees were mostly young, but not kids. I only regret it was a loss, so I couldn’t justify doing it again.

      January 6, 2018
      • I’ve seen a lot of people express similar sentiments about being with “My People” or “My Tribe” or “Coming Home”, and I don’t doubt the validity of the experience.

        For me, though, the experience has always been the obverse of that, a palpable feeling of “You Are Not One Of Us”.

        In every group that gathers around a shared interest–biker rallies, historical reenactors, leather events–there is a sense of “this is Our place, for Our people” and I can respect that. But I have never felt hostility towards perceived outsiders as strongly as in Science Fiction Fandom.

        January 6, 2018
        • TRX #

          You haven’t encountered the Sports Car Club of America, then…

          January 6, 2018
          • Oh, I’ve no doubt that there are those who are more hostile, I just haven’t encountered them. I just find it interesting that, if given a choice in the matter, I’d be far more comfortable walking into a biker bar or gay leather club than an SF convention.

            January 6, 2018
            • Bikers are surprisingly civil, generally. Its the old story, an armed society is a polite society.

              January 6, 2018
        • How long ago was your first visit?

          And to which cons?

          I recommend visiting Epbot.com and searching for her convention-related posts. There’s a “we’re all weirdos together” and an amused tolerance and shared delight in whatever brought us there in the first place that was lacking in progressive-controlled mundania.

          Who plays Assassin up and down the back staircases of a major hotel? Sits outside a full panel and starts a round-robin drawing game passing the sketchbook back and forth? Fandom.

          Converged cons are hostile places because the progs need fair dinkum targets to hate. It’s a rush, and a good in-tribe signal and control mechanism.

          https://tempestinateardrop.com/2015/08/26/sunday-t-shirt-shopping/

          It really is “hatred on search of a target”

          January 6, 2018
      • Furry does (or did) have more than its share of.. those beyond merely a bit odd, shall we say? But even so, the reporting about such was “Find the over the top crazy person, and use THAT SINGLE DATA POINT as the entire sample-space.” The result is that, last I knew, furry cons wanted to know well in advance of any attending “journalists” and any found ‘undercover’ would be forcefully invited to leave and never darken their towels again. That is, furs understood it’s “fake news” years ago. And Vanity Fair (*PTOOIE!!*) being recycled into toilet paper would be several steps UP.

        January 6, 2018
      • Furries are some of the nicest people I know.

        January 7, 2018
  3. The Last time I was at a con was circa 1999. Even then, you had to tip your hat to the powers that be. While the extended Barfly/Dinerite/MHN/Morons are my Nation, I don’t need a Con to interact with them.

    And as for the Worldcon? Let it wither and die: the REAL WorldCons are DragonCon, GenCon, and SDCC….

    January 6, 2018
    • I’m still planning on LC even though the recently announced guest list gave me pause, as did their stated intent a few years back to become less Baen-centric. I went there in the first place to see Baen Barflies! But I have no desire to try and get into more local cons as a guest. Frankly, it’s not an optimal marketing tool for the modern author.

      January 6, 2018
      • emily61 #

        If they become less Baen centric I’ll probably stop attending. It’s a long drive or an expensive air flight from Dallas.

        January 6, 2018
        • Fortunately that was a few years ago and I haven’t seen them move toward that goal.

          January 6, 2018
      • Draven #

        uh… that guest list is meh, and i don’t know what my income is going to be like then, Plus i likely will have to go to SIGGRAPH in Vancouver…

        As neat as meeting all of y’all might be, i don’t think so.

        (and i *know* the science GOH, he and i have had a nice discussion about the viability of Mars Direct and the fact that it just looks goofy on screen)

        January 8, 2018
    • While I do not go for Baen, I can see why many would. At a con I’ve given up on, I really wished I had a “I Read Baened Books” tote or shirt as they had (even at that con!) years ago.

      January 6, 2018
  4. adventuresfantastic #

    Well said.

    January 6, 2018
  5. emily61 #

    I used to go to LunaCon in the 90’s. As a matter of fact I was a committee member for a couple of years. I wrote the restaurant and local area guide. I had a nice time and met people etc. This was all before I had a computer.

    January 6, 2018
    • That’s one of the things I used to do as part of the committee for the now-dead con Cedar mentioned above.

      January 6, 2018
  6. Ron Rippy #

    You’ve helped me clarify my feelings on this subject.
    In my SF youth I dreamed of the experience at the Cons, especially seeing Hugos awarded.
    Well, it took a while, and I’m new to actually writing. Finally. But, I’ve discovered a reticence to most of the hype surrounding WorldCon.
    Thanks for helping me see it’s just not needed.

    The reality is that the ONLY reason WorldCon still gets any notice at all is due to the history and mystique of Hugo. It’s hard to surrender Hugo. But, Hugo is dead. It died long ago. Let’s say our farewells.

    January 6, 2018
  7. Almost 80 years ago, WorldCon I was subject to a group of folks who thought that fandom should have a higher political purpose. Fearing disruption, the con chair banned the folks with political inclinations from attending, unless they promised not to be disruptive. They refused to promise and were banned from attendance, this being the Great Exclusion. .Details were covered as a historical note, a few years ago, in back issues of the National Fantasy Fan.

    January 6, 2018
  8. Strange to say, but I’ve always assumed that I’m too young to be a Fan, especially of the WorldCon member kind. I enjoy some cons, and learn a lot (BuboniCon 40 was amazing!). But WorldCon and the other “great Cons” always seemed aimed at my parents’ generation, who grew up in the Golden Age with Heinlein, Clark, Azimov, Norton, et al.

    I’m on the fence about LibertyCon this year, because I don’t know when I’ll get back from Germany (assuming the trip goes). At present I’d hit stateside on the 28th, and then have to drive to Chattanooga on the 29th. Not a good plan.

    BuboniCon 50 is out, alas. The timing doesn’t work with Day Job, and neither does the GoH (John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal.)

    January 6, 2018
    • No, that is bad timing on the trip/con. As much as I want to finally meet you, I think you’re wise not to try it.

      January 6, 2018
    • Ben Yalow #

      Historically, most people used to enter fandom in their teens or twenties. But there’s a wide range of ages when people first start going to cons. Although it has been drifting older, since societal rules have made it much harder for a mid-teenager to go off and spend time without a responsible adult being present — you just don’t see unaccompanied 15-17 year olds at their first conventions, which certainly was not uncommon up until a few decades ago.

      January 7, 2018
  9. tom m #

    My only SFF/Fantasy con experience to date has been Dragon*Con, which I haven’t been to for a few years, but I also had a similar experience of “these are my people” in my times going to the major professional convention for people in my field.

    In-person networking does still seem to really matter for most folks. Not everybody is outgoing enough to get a lot out of that at conventions, but not everybody socializes effectively online, either, and people can act very differently (usually in a more friendly way) if you first meet them in person than if you first meet them online.

    January 6, 2018
    • I don’t disagree. I’ve got plans to go to LibertyCon this year, to see people. But WorldCon is worse than useless from a marketing standpoint.

      January 6, 2018
      • I find that WorldCon having the caps be WC all too appropriate.
        Although a WC has a much greater intrinsic utility.

        January 6, 2018
        • Lol! Waste removal is important. Waste is, with science, actually useful and even profitable, something you can’t say about the other WC.

          January 6, 2018
  10. We had fun at WorldCon in Kansas City, but we mostly kept our heads down, attended interesting panels, and hung out at Puppy Central.

    Had fun at LibertyCon last year, and got the tickets for this year. 😀

    January 6, 2018
    • Great! I’ll get to see you guys again 😀

      January 6, 2018
    • Getting my LibertyCon tickets as soon as I can (hope they are still available).

      January 7, 2018
  11. I love conventions. But the ones today, not so much.

    I’ve only been to Worldcon twice. The first one was a good experience, albeit like trying to drink out of a firehose. The second one, fifteen years later, was strange and unlikeable, although it had its fun points still. But I couldn’t get myself to go to the one in Columbus, even though it was close.

    Somewhere along the way, a lot of conventions and fandom lost their commitment to being fun, interesting, hospitable, and able to show a good face to the world. In general, I think they are still safe for most people at most times; but I don’t know if they are worth the time and trouble. Why hold a party if you don’t want people to have a good time and feel better at the end?

    I am rather upset about Kevin Roche being such a jerk, as he did a lot of filking back in the day. Filking has suffered a lot from hostile concoms, which is why filkers expect their own to be better than that.

    January 6, 2018
    • snelson134 #

      Frankly, the filk scene headed SJW after 9/11, and by 2006 it was basically unhospitable.

      January 8, 2018
      • I now feel a lot less bad about how old and out of date my Filk collection is. (Almost entirely on tape).

        January 8, 2018
  12. I went several times – maybe three times to the Salt Lake City convention, when I was stationed there, and had a wonderful time, and the same when I went to Bubonicon in Albuquerque when I was TDY for a school. But this was in the early nineties, and all I got from it was ‘oh, cool, you like the same weird things that we do!’ Never a looking-down-the-nose thing of ‘NOT REALLY A TRUEFAN, DARLING’, and a hundred times never anything like the Breen stuff. I thought I would pick up going to cons again, once returned to the States again, but they simply cost too much. And reading about the Worldcon ugliness the last couple of years – well, I don’t regret not attending. Too much drama – and besides, I write historicals anyway.

    January 6, 2018
  13. c4c – because chores first.

    January 6, 2018
  14. Mary #

    I used to go to Arisia. The panels stopped being interesting.

    January 6, 2018
    • Draven #

      You can only go to the exact same panel on the exact same topic so many times before it becomes boring.

      January 8, 2018
      • Mary #

        Hmm? There were a lot of panels I went to every year, because the topic is evergreen and full of things to talk about.

        It’s when they stopped having them for more — limited topics that I gave up.

        January 8, 2018
        • Draven #

          Sorry, I’ve gone to a *lot* of Trek cons over the years. Saw Nimoy do the exact same presentation on directing Star Trek IV three times…

          January 8, 2018
          • Mary #

            Which is why, even when I was in fandom, I didn’t go to media cons — especially not specific to a show.

            January 8, 2018
  15. I worked an Anime convention for several years. (It changed owners and that ended that affiliation.) I’ve never been a huge fan of Anime and while I always felt a little bit like an outsider, that was never an issue to anyone but me. The assumption was always that if I didn’t know about it was just because I hadn’t had a chance to see . The feel was always that if you were there, you belonged until you proved otherwise.

    Sci Fi fandom rather surprised me, coming at it from seeing the Anime fandoms which were all “*grab and drag* ThisThingIsTheAbsoluteCoolestYouGottaSeeThis!” enthusiasm and sharing the fun, even with people who weren’t ‘one of them’. They always seemed to have the notion that it was ‘they’re just not one of us YET’ rather than the Sci Fi fandom ‘feel’ I’ve gotten lately of ‘if you are not one of us now, you will never be one of us, interloper.’ We also got a lot of well… refugees from sci-fi fandoms at our con. The ones who didn’t want the crazy and just wanted to gush about how cool was with other people who’d compare notes. Most of them (attendees of all fandoms) were introverts outside of the con… at the con, a wilder bunch of rampaging extroverts because of I never did see. I found myself listening intently to more than one of them because not doing so felt rather like kicking an exuberant puppy for wanting to play. Learned a lot, and not just about Anime.

    January 6, 2018
    • seeing the Anime fandoms which were all “*grab and drag* ThisThingIsTheAbsoluteCoolestYouGottaSeeThis!” enthusiasm and sharing the fun, even with people who weren’t ‘one of them’. They always seemed to have the notion that it was ‘they’re just not one of us YET’ rather than the Sci Fi fandom ‘feel’ I’ve gotten lately of ‘if you are not one of us now, you will never be one of us, interloper.’ We also got a lot of well… refugees from sci-fi fandoms at our con. The ones who didn’t want the crazy and just wanted to gush about how cool was with other people who’d compare notes. Most of them (attendees of all fandoms) were introverts outside of the con… at the con, a wilder bunch of rampaging extroverts because of I never did see.

      This has been my experience with cons – granted, the ones I went to were in the Philippines. From someone I know who goes to Comiket, that’s pretty much the attitude in Japan as well.

      My mother and father in law finally saw what it was like for a group of anime fans to get together. We had several visiting for my daughter’s birthday. The most memorable example was the girl who turned to her boyfriend and asked “WHY HAVE YOU NOT INTRODUCED ME TO THESE PEOPLE BEFORE?!” (His response: You don’t game!) She had the “I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE!” delight and oh, we did the grab and drag and OH YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS I HAVE IT ON MY SHELF – SQUEEEEEE~!!!

      Parents in law enjoyed watching us.

      January 6, 2018
      • I may try more anime cons, even if I only remain a rather casual anime watcher/manga reader. Is it odd to be a fan of the PEOPLE? Even if I’m old enough to have mothered some of them.

        January 6, 2018
        • Oh, I don’t think so. That was how I reacted to the Furry kids. They were largely teens, just happy balls of fur, and so gosh darn cute.

          January 6, 2018
          • So were most of these folk. Teens with a ranging of older folk. They dragged me into several things I probably wouldn’t have gotten into on my own. (Much of the Anime/Manga humor is too over the top for my taste.) I find I’m actually missing the con.

            January 6, 2018
    • I am slowly converting my fiancee to sci-fi fandom. Of course it’s not taking much work because we are both “weird” and we do have some similar interests if not exactly the same. (she has her skeleton sitting on a chair in the living room instead of in the closet (literally a skeleton in a chair)).
      She is also my first reader which is a little daunting because she loves everything I have written (worried about bias a touch).
      If I do take her to a con it definitely won’t be one of the big name ones. Too many people and too much bull crap going on.
      I have always taken the approach of non fans are only future fans in my proselytizing of sci-fi.

      January 6, 2018
      • It is a good approach. Enthusiasm tends to be contagious. Though beware overzelousness. Overdosing the target is bad. (forced binge watch of Ranma 1/2 and Buffy the Vampire slayer one holiday weekend at college. Several hours of each. The first one ruined anime for me for nearly a decade, and I still can’t watch the second series.)

        January 6, 2018
      • On the other hand ‘slowly’ implies you’ve been avoiding the perils of over exposure.

        January 6, 2018
  16. I’m old, mean and scary-looking. I hate crowds, and I can’t sit in public unless my back is to a wall. Makes my teeth itch.

    However, I do manage to enjoy going to Fan Expo, the big comic con in Toronto. I take Young Relative, and limp around the place seeing all the things. This year I got to stand in line and meet Jessica Nigri. She’s famous, apparently. Young Relative was very excited.

    Would I go if I didn’t have to be chauffeur for Young Relative? Bwahahahahaaaa! No way.

    Because:
    1. Toronto is the seventh circle of the Inferno.
    2. Parking nightmare. Ever try to park a crew-cab in an underground parking garage? It can be done, but it requires ingenuity. Parking is not supposed to be an Olympic-level event.
    3. Driving to and from Toronto is like Death Race 2000. My winning streak can’t last forever.
    4. People look at me funny. Its tiresome.
    5. Every year the security knobs get more and more intrusive. Reason enough to stay home right there.

    I like car shows. No drama, no lineups, no idiots looking at me funny. Young Relative gets dragged to them, and moans about it, but quiets when reminded that I stood in line to see some girl wearing fox ears at Fan Expo. Guilt can be a wonderful thing when used sparingly. >:D

    January 6, 2018
  17. Ben Yalow #

    There’s no reason to be a Fan unless you want to be. Many people who go to conventions don’t self-identify as Fans (although probably most of them do) — but it’s certainly not a requirement.

    But avoiding all SMOFs is hard if you go to Libertycon, since Uncle Timmy, who is certainly a SMOF, is pretty much all over the place there (after founding it three decades ago). Among his smoffish credentials are Fan GoH of Con*Stellation III: Ursa Major in 1983 and of DeepSouthCon 43 in 2005, and Rebel winner in 1999.

    I also note that the Worldcon involved with the Breendoggle was Pacificon II, in 1964. Most of the people involved with it are lost-since dead. And fandom has changed a lot in the 50+ years since that happened (and Breen has been dead for almost a quarter century).

    I regret that you’ve certainly been exposed to the bad side of the fannish community. Fandom, as is often the case, can, and should try to be as welcoming as possible — but certainly has had its failures. But I’m glad that it’s also exposed you to some of the good parts of fandom, and that you clearly enjoy some of your experiences.

    I certainly am not claiming that fandom is uniformly wonderful. But it’s still a place that provides a lot of enjoyment for many, as it has for me. And I hope that continues.

    January 6, 2018
    • Uncle Timmy is a dear, sweet man. I’ve gotten to sit with him a few times and chat at LC. But you know what? He doesn’t make a big deal about being a SMOF, or even Fen. The people I encounter who do? Well, that you can probably guess.

      You’re probably good people, Ben. But defending WorldCon has to be getting more and more difficult as time wears on and the Spokane, San Jose, and other concoms keep sabotaging your efforts. I’m not saying stop – I’m saying that everyone has their windmills to tilt at.

      January 7, 2018
    • (dryly) Ben have you actually _read_ THE LAST CLOSET? Or are you -like Cat Rambo – desperately trying to brush it under the carpet? It is probably the single most relevant and important book about sf Fandom. And out of it comes Breen’s philosophy of creating the next generation of pedophiles… So, if he succeeded at all ’25 years’ is about when you should be really worried. Burying this piece of fan history is like looking at the history of the USSR and somehow leaving out the Holdomor. It needs to be acknowledged, and its legacy dealt with and survivors helped.

      There are of course some really nice people in fandom, and even among the SMOFs. BUT we’ve been through a series of increasingly abusive situations with the ‘SJW’ faction. And every time the ConComs have aided, abetted and protected them, and made no attempt to even appear even-handed. In private conversation several ‘senior fans’ have admitted that each of the actions was unacceptable. But it’s always ‘oh that was last year. They’re a separate committee, there is nothing we can do.’ Any criticism remains muted or private. And Lo, along comes the next year… and it is worse. And the senior fan who admitted David Gerrold’s wooden arsehole performance and the awards ceremony behavior were unacceptable will admit that Dave Truesdales expulsion etc were unjustifiable… but nothing can be done. Next year will be better. Fans are nice people. etc.

      It’s not getting better.

      I know, successive WorldCons have only hit us because they love us. :-/ Until you come to terms with the fact that various SJW factions are a problem, and that WorldCon has to deal with that rather than enable and protect them from the consequences of their actions, that the ConComs need to be and be seen to be even-handed – I for one will recommend that my readers choose caution rather than valor, and stay away.

      January 7, 2018
      • Ben Yalow #

        I’ve read the book. As well as talked to most of the principals involved in the Breendoggle, and people who knew the children.

        January 8, 2018
  18. Raymond S. McCune #

    GenCon is one of the good CONS I have been to in recent years. In fact I love going there when I can. They have an excellent Writer’s Symposium and occasionally some big names visit. Larry Correia, Jody Lynn Nye, Eric Flint, to name a few. The event itself is huge so expect to be walking a lot and signing up for the different panels and presentations.

    January 7, 2018
    • I have a thing about crowds, which is why I haven’t seriously considered going to GenCon. But maybe – I know a lot of friends (including you!) will be there.

      January 7, 2018
  19. I want to briefly rise to the defense of current and most Dragoncon directors.

    The desire to get rid of Krammer was long standing and blocked by law. While he complained about not getting his day in court the reality was he used every delaying tactic in the book. Because of the ongoing criminal case Georgia state law prevented his removal as a director the corporation. Dragoncon at least as long as I have lived in Atlanta (and longer to my understanding) was trying every option they had to remove him.

    In light of the continued cover-up associated with Breengate I think it is important to point out Dragoncon directors for many years were trying to do the right thing as much as they could within the law.

    January 7, 2018
    • This I actually knew. If I weren’t mildly agoraphobic I would want to attend DragonCon. But the thing with Kramer is symptomatic of what was going on behind the scenes in cons all over – that’s why I included it.

      January 7, 2018
      • I understand not wanting to deal with the crowd. I moved to Atlanta in late 2010, for my first few years lived within walking distance, and my office is still in walking distance.

        I have never gone…it is just too damn big.

        January 7, 2018
  20. Dragon used to be my “place” I even worked there either on Security or helping to run a track for several years, but it just got too big for me and the atmosphere has changed a bit with that growth. Liberty is the place that is “home” now, where I can go to see my people. I also kelp run a small con in Atlanta but that’s a different kinda thing. It used to be that Fen and SMOF were designations to get excited about, but not so much now, much like the Hugos. I find the change in what they stand for sad.

    January 7, 2018
  21. I’ve been to several conFERENCES, not conVENTIONS, and I understand the attraction and the excitement. I’ve also been to Madrid Gras and the Kentucky Derby, and the Cuna is are a bit related.
    We ALMOST went to LibertyCon one year, which is only maybe a 90 minute drive, but I got pneumonia. I was looking forward to the Range Day, and had already envisioned how I was going to pack.
    It didn’t work out, though, and since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about it con attendance. My youngest bio-child, Moose, attended DragonCon this year, which is local for us, mostly to see Larry Correa, and get his autograph, which he did.
    But, my conclusion is that con attendance isn’t for me.
    If I were to meet, for example, Peter and Dorothy Grant in a conference setting, I would experience communication failure. I would gush out my undying love for them and everything they have written, and who they are as people, and the examples they set, and I would repeat myself while my mouth dried out, my guts roiled, and their eyes glazed over. And that would be all I would be capable of doing in a convention.

    What I would LIKE to do is rent a resort for a week or two, and invite Cedar and the kids, and Peter and Dot, and Dan and Sarah, and….dozens more. And then, hang out around the pool or beach or whatever, while our family kids (everybody’s kids) played together under the supervision of non- pedophiles, and just TALK. Play cards or D&D type games. Relax. Be on vacation, and nobody had to cook unless Jonathan wanted to amaze us while Autumn told us embarrassing stories about him and my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, played with Dixie.

    There’s really no middle ground for me. I don’t want a collection of autographs, I don’t want a photo album of badly-framed selfies. I confess: my reading has introduced me to 504 people I want to be best friends with. Attending a con would only make that imaginary resort-quality accumulation of quality relationship time reveal itself as the hopeless raving of a delusional fan-boy. So, I will stay at home.
    You are all invited to join me there, by the way. Program extra time in your schedule for LibertyCon or DragonCon, and be our guest.
    We’ll leave the light on.

    January 7, 2018
    • You want a weeklong relaxacon.I can’t say that you’re wrong. Although financing might be a problem. Sort of a fannish Chautauqua….

      Once upon a time, there was just such a convention at a campground in southern Ohio, and it was there for several years until they moved to a hotel. I think it was the kind of campground that has cabins.

      January 8, 2018
      • Ben Yalow #

        That almost sounds like Concave — a small convention held in a motel in Park City, KY (now it’s in Bowling Green), but it’s a motel, not a campground. Founded in 1980, and still going. It’s a pure relaxacon (no program), normally, although this year it’s combined with DeepSouthCon

        Or, if it needs to be Ohio, the closest I can come is Midwestcon. Founded in 1950 (although an argument can be made for 1949, held in someone’s living room), it’s also a pure relaxacon (although it used to have a banquet on Saturday night, but it hasn’t in more than a decade). It’s in the Cincinnati suburbs — usually on the Ohio side, but sometimes in Kentucky.

        Both of them are just weekend-long, not weeklong.

        January 8, 2018
  22. Draven #

    I’ve done DragonCon once, WonderCon three or four times, and i used to be a regular at Shore Leave in the 90s. Used to do little cons all over the place too. the thing is, my semi-pro space makes cons … weird. Like going to a VFX panel and half the panel is people i know or used to work with…

    January 8, 2018
    • Draven #

      oh, and i did one of the last RoVaCons, and wouldn’t have gone to SheVaCon if you paid me. RavenCon is close enough for me to go to, but i have no interest in their current guest lists. The loss of a dear friend and one of the con co-chairs has meant that the con has veered left… no thanks.

      January 8, 2018

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