Well, Gen Con 2010 has come and gone, and with it one of my favorite conferences of the year. Leaving aside my own interest in gaming, which I’ve had since I was in middle school, the Writers’ Symposium at Gen Con is worth the price of admission itself. It’s a really great collection of authors, an accomplished bunch of people with surprisingly normal-sized egos, and Jean Rabe (the coordinator of the Symposium) is very good at assembling interesting and productive panels. And the audiences are always great. Some highlights of the con:
1. The aforementioned Writers’ Symposium, which was great as always. On the professional side, panel attendance was excellent, and the questions from the audience tended to be interesting and insightful. I renewed friendships and contacts with authors and editors, and made a lot of new ones while I was at it. On the personal side, the Symposium was a blast–we have a real camraderie regardless of relative experience in the industry, and most of these folks are just fun to hang out with. You haven’t played Word on the Street (a tremendous team-based word game) until you’ve played it with a bunch of authors. Ask Brad Beaulieu the Russian word for beekeeping some time and see what he says. In all seriousness, if you’re an aspiring author in speculative fiction, you owe it to yourself to check this out someday.
2. The Eye of Argon reading. Hilarious and terrifying at the same time, a combination which will only make sense if you read this thing.
3. The exhibit hall was, well, crazy. Highlights included Geek Chic, for gaming tables that are ridiculous in every (positive) sense of the world; the bouncy Lego castle, which was my daughter’s favorite part of the whole event; Author’s Avenue, where a bunch of fellow professionals were set up to sign books and talk shop the whole weekend; and the usual array of awesome game demos and the like, including the debut of Ascension, which (as I’ve mentioned before) I did some work for. (I’m happy to report that the launch was a huge success.)
4. This is going to seem obvious, but…games. Lots of game playing with friends is always a good thing, and we had lots of that here.
The only con (sorry)? It was over way too quickly. The coming year promises to be extremely busy, with a number of conferences and other things on the slate, and that helps…but still, Gen Con seems to rush past faster every year. But when it’s going on, it’s well worth the time spent to get to and from Indianapolis.
Now, to finish the rest of the unpacking…
P.S. I’ve just put some audio and video clips of the panels at Gen Con on my Media page–go check them out!