Oddcon X Afterthoughts

I liken going to OdysseyCon last year as a non-gamer opening up Zork for the first time. I had no clue what to expect, I found myself in unfamiliar surroundings, and there was a good chance that I could possibly be eaten by a grue.

Luckily the con was small enough that people were happy to point me in the direction I needed to go. Even better, I got a chance to sit down and talk with people about subjects that I never spoke about except through email lists and online forums.

This year, I gave back to my first con experience by doing more active participation in Oddcon. And this year proved just as bit as fun and enlightening as last year’s:

  • I did my first "public" reading ever. This was different from the reading I did up at Urbana or at the Intervarsity Arts Festival last year, in that I read in front of people I didn’t know. My reading was jointly done with Nick Ozmet, who read a chapter from his online story "Knight Terrors" (I wound up reading Future Perfect). Only a couple of people showed up, but the room they had us read in was surprisingly cozy, so we got to chat with the people in a more casual manner, so that went over pretty well.
  • I had a couple of chances to hang with Tobias Buckell, one of the Guests of Honor, as well as sit beside him on a spoof panel, "White Men in SF" (which was, predictably, about white men in SF). Got to talk with him a lot about the writer’s life and juggling parental duties. Also got him to tell stories about World Fantasy which made me realize that at some point, I have to stop putting off not going and find a way to go (although it’s not going to happen this year. Sorry. But some things absolutely have to be first priority in my life right now…)
  • I also got to hang with fellow authors Alex Bledsoe and Sarah Monette. Last year, I was a little intimidated by Sarah, so it was nice to meet her again. Also, funny story with Alex. I first saw him last year when my husband and I attended a Midwinter Renaissance Festival on a date. I recognized Alex’s name from twitter, and he was reading a selection from one of his books. I meant to go over to listen, but then I got caught up by someone telling my fortune through numerology, which was fascinating, but ultimately useless. By the time I managed to wrench myself away, Alex was done, and I was too chicken to go up and talk to him. Again, very nice to meet him under a more casual setting.
  • I got to hang out with Jim Frankel, Tor editor, Harry Turtledove, the other literary Guest of Honor, Monte Cook, the gaming Guest of Honor, and a bunch of other writers and editors at the bar…because I could. And it was fun to talk shop with them. I didn’t say much to Harry Turtledove because of the intimidation factor. But he’s a nice guy. I hope the next time I meet him, I’ll have something more to talk about.
  • I did slam poetry…which wasn’t too shabby.
  • I saw a Dalek Tortoise. Really. No lie. If you don’t believe me, here’s a picture:
  • dalek tortoise

Ask me to tell you the story sometime.

So all in all, this year’s Oddcon was a lot of fun. I got to hang with writers and talk about the writing life, and I came away refreshed and inspired to get back to my writing.

There was a lot mentioned about Wiscon, which takes place next month. At some point, we did the numbers and we realized that while World Fantasy is definitely the most important con to go to for writers, Wiscon is the largest feminist SF convention, capping their members at 1000. It will be very interesting to see how Wiscon will play out. I’m getting very, very excited!

I bet there won’t be any Dalek tortoises there, though. But then again, I could be wrong.

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LaShawn’s Con Schedule for 2010

You hear that? That sound? That rushing, schmoozing chatter slightly on the tipsy side? Yep, it’s here. Con season has arrived and I cannot stay away any longer. No more avoiding its phone calls. No more pulling down the shades and hiding on the floor hoping it would stop knocking and go away. No. This year, I plan to embrace cons so hard, I’m certain at some point I’ll awaken in its bed thinking, "What happened to my spleen? How come I smell funny? And why is that goat staring at me?"

Oh, don’t worry. I won’t go that crazy. But I’m not making any promises either.

So here’s a list of cons I’m either attending or am interested in attending. My hope is to attend all of them, but timing and funds are limited. However, my birthday is coming up next week, so if you’re looking to for something to give me a present—hint, hint…

OdysseyCon (April 16-18) Radisson Hotel, Madison, WI ATTENDING

Hooray! This is happening this weekend! Woohoo!

This was the first con I ever went to that introduced me to the wonderful world of fandom. Oddcon taught me that cons actually were fun, not nerdy and bizarre like I thought it would be. This year, I plan to return the favor by serving on a couple of panels. On Friday afternoon, I’ll do a reading (I’ll do an excerpt from either "She’s All Light" or "Future Perfect"—haven’t decided which one yet). Then Saturday afternoon, I’ll be on the panel "White Guys in SF"…because there aren’t enough white guys in SF…I guess. What’s cool is that I get to sit on this panel with Tobias Buckell, so my first panel experience will prove to be mighty interesting.

Following that, I will be on the "How to Submit your Writing" panel, because, what can I say? I know stuff about submitting stories to markets. And I get to sound like an expert. It’s not often I get to say that.

Besides that, I plan to do the usual schmoozing, hanging out, etc. Since it’s at the Radisson and it’s a small con, it should be real easy to find me. I’m probably the only person there with dreadlocks. 🙂

Wiscon (May 27-31), The Concourse Hotel, Madison, WIATTENDING

Last year, I could only attend one day, which was fun, but still. This year, I’m gonna be alllll there, baby!

I’m showing up on a couple of panels there as well. On Saturday, I’ll be on the panel discussing the book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria" (I signed up for it because I happen to have that book, and it’s interesting considering that I was not one of those black kids who sat with other black kids. So that will be interesting.) I’m also going to be on "Internet Publishing: the graduate seminar", because again, I get to sound like an expert. And on Monday, I’ll be on "Pshaw! Psst! Aaaargh!!!" because I get to figure out how to best write "sighhhh…haaaahhh…shhh" and other sound effects. I also have an essay in the upcoming Wiscon Chronicles Volume 4, which would be available there.  And of course, I’m looking forward to seeing the Guests of Honor Nnedi Okorafor and Mary Anne Mohanraj. In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing all my SF Sisters of Color. So even though this is my second year, I’m going to be very busy at Wiscon. Exciting!

Madcon Convention (September 24-26) Crowne Plaza Hotel, Madison, WI

UNDECIDED

From what the website says, this con is starting up again after nine years. It sounds like a big one: they’ve managed to snare Harlon Ellison, who is a pretty big name in the SF field. To be honest though, I only heard about him last year, andwhat I heard wasn’t really all that great. However, I also watched Babylon 5 for the first time last year, and was quite astonished to find his name high on the credits.

So I’m intrigued to see this man in person, but I’m also a little leery. What helps is that Pat Rothfuss is also slated to be attend, which means it’s bound to be a most interesting weekend. Then again, it might be way to much. Still thinking it over. We’ll see.

World Fantasy Convention (October 28-31) Columbus, OHUNDECIDED

So I’ve been thinking about attending this now that I’ve been getting more into cons–

HOLD THE PHONE! HOLD THE PHONE!!!

I just got wind of this a few days ago:

American Gods celebration (October 29-30), The House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI<deep breath> OH MY GOD I AM SO GOING EVEN IF IT MEANS I HAVE TO SELL MY OWN BLOOD TO MALNOURISHED VAMPIRES!!!!!

This is big. No, it’s bigger than big. This is BIG BIG BIG!!!!

I’ve been to the House on the Rock. Few years ago, before my son was born. Before we moved to Madison. My hubby and I took a trip up there when we needed to get away for a staycation. I’ve seen the nautical room. I’ve seen the music machines, most of which was broken down. I’ve even seen the carousel.

And,I’ve read American Gods. I’ve also read the companion book too, Anansi Boys.

Oh boy. Ohboyohboyohboyohboy!

What do you do when you learn that one of favorite authors is going to be at an event 45 minutes away that is affordable, AND there will be literary panels AND a special reading and Q&A with him AND there will be a scavenger hunt AND a costume ball WITH full dinner buffet ANNNND a chance to get in a raffle which prizes includes a RIDE ON THE CAROUSEL AND IF I TYPE IN ANY MORE CAPS I’LL START TO HYPERVENTILATE–

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh.

As you can see, I am pleased about this. I am also going. This is not open to discussion. I. AM. GOING.

This is going to be the bestest Halloween Weekend ever!!!!