there and back again: part one

This past weekend I did something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a geeky teenager. I attended a science fiction convention, or con as it’s more commonly known. I’m sure you’re all conjuring up visions of storm troopers and Klingons, and while there were a few of the latter, they were more of a minority. In fact, it seemed like there were multiple cons happening all at the same time.


I stayed in the over 25 and wearing civilian clothes crowd, which were mainly writers or aspiring writers, of which I am neither. The goth crowd was the most visible, probably because they spent most of the con hanging out in the middle of the high traffic intersections. Also, most of the con security personnel were Goths or punks. I noticed a few furries hanging out with the Goths, but for the most part the furry crowd consisted of a few folks wearing tails. The gamers pretty much stayed in their respective rooms; one each for the computer gamers, the card gamers and those who use figures, sets, or dice. By the end of the con, each room had its own particular odor and I avoided them when possible.

Mistress Olwen strikes a pose

Another segment of the con that I interacted with were the SCA types. Several groups were present at the con giving weapons demonstrations and the occasional crafts demonstration (very bummed about missing the medieval feasting program). The only picture I thought to take the whole weekend was of a member of the Realms of Avalon, Mistress Olwen.

I arrived too late on Friday to attend the panel on mythology themes in science fiction, and by the time I checked in at the hotel and picked up my packet at the pre-registration table, I had an hour to kill until the next session. So, I went up to the reading room to hear the authors scheduled to read at that time. It ended up being just me and Sara Mueller, who was kind enough to read me the beginning of the alternative history novel she is working on.

The next two sessions were on science in science fiction and music in science fiction. The latter was one of my favorite sessions of the weekend, as it turned out, but that’s no surprise to anyone who knows me. It was at the music session that I learned that the opening ceremonies for this con were not to be missed, so I headed down to those next. An on-going skit was woven in between recognizing various guests of honor and general con business, and it was amusing, although probably more so if I had understood the in-jokes.

The next session I planned to attend was canceled due to the presenter being double-booked, so I wandered around a bit. The only thing left on my agenda was to participate in some filking, which was scheduled for 9pm. Apparently, no one had planned to lead the filking, so after an hour of three experienced filkers attempting to remember the lyrics and tunes of songs they know, I left to go back to my room. I got a bit side-tracked and checked out some of the room parties instead, but none of them interested me. However, I found myself at Spock’s Bar, the Star Trek themed lounge of sorts. I bought a glass of “Romulan Ale” and settled in to watch an episode and a half of Classic Trek with some fellow fans. I zoned out from the sensory overload, and it was a very pleasant nightcap before heading off to bed.

To be continued…