Readercon past, Gen Con and Worldcon future…

When you’ve got a post that sums up a conference just past and sets up two conferences soon to come, you’ve got either super efficiency or a long-ish delay between blog posts.  I’d love to say it’s all about my efficiency, but, well, that would be a bit of an exaggeration…well, okay, more than a bit.  In truth it’s a little of both; in the last three weeks I’ve been running from vacation with family in Seattle to a conference in Boston to home, and I’ve only just gotten caught up before heading out to Gen Con in Indianapolis.  But before I get to the Month O’ Conventions to come, I should briefly sum up Readercon:

1.  As usual, Readercon delivered its razor sharp focus on the written (and speculative) word and nothing but the written word. No other convention is as comfortable with its own identity as this one is, and in a lot of ways the consistency is its biggest strength: no cosplay or anime rooms here, thanks, just a series of panels and readings along with a good size dealer’s room focused entirely on (you guessed it) books and books alone.  Probably as much for this reason as any other, Readercon attendees tend to be passionate about their convention, and if you look around the Internet now you’ll see tons of reports about how things went.

For me, things went really well: the panel on Science Fiction for Today’s Undergraduate was interesting both because of the co-panelists and the audience (the room was packed), and I even got a lead on some new works I hadn’t considered teaching before.  My individual talk on using various aspects of one’s professional life outside of writing to promote a writing career was a particular success–I had gotten rescheduled to Saturday at 9 p.m., opposite three other events (including the Kirk Memorial Bad Prose Competition, where people get to laugh (cry?) at terrible writing), but I still had a great turnout.  I think there’s a real call for this kind of thing at conventions; it’s not really Readercon’s usual approach, but based on the reaction I had to the talk there’s no question that a few panels/talks about the business of writing in the speculative fiction field would compliment the usual fare of more content-oriented features.  I passed that message on to Rose Fox and the rest of the fine Readercon folks, so I hope we’ll see more on that front soon.

2.  Readercon’s strength is also its weakness; I’ve gone four times now, and there’s very little variation in the format or approach from year to year. On one level this makes sense–why fix what isn’t broken?–but on another level, an event which never changes is doomed to eventually date itself.  And given the demographic at Readercon, some change would be valuable.  There’s a new group in charge now, though, so I think there’s a chance things will start moving a bit.  In any case, the organizing committee always runs a tight ship, and as usual I had a good time…looking forward to next year!

But of course, right now I’m really looking forward to the convention to which I’m en route: Gen Con, the granddaddy of all the fantasy/science fiction/gaming conventions.  This is my sixth year at Gen Con, third as a member of the Writers’ Symposium, and this time promises to be as big a blast as always.  I’ve got a busy schedule (check out the Schedule page for more), and I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, talking writing, and, uh, maybe playing a game or two.  Or three. Or–anyway, you get the idea.

I’ll only be back from Gen Con for a little over a week before heading out to Reno for Worldcon, the most important event on the calendar for any SFF fan. I’m doing a writing critique session while there, and I’ve managed to land on a number of great panels (including ones with Pat Rothfuss, L.E. Modesitt Jr., Tim Powers, Tom Lehmann, Steve Jackson…whew!), so I’m pretty pumped up for this.  And friend and Speculate! co-host Brad Beaulieu will be at both Gen Con and Worldcon, so we’re planning a few interviews over the next couple of weeks. Throw in the usual amount of career discussion stuff and you’ve got the recipe for a busy time, but I’m looking forward to all of it. If you’re anywhere near Indianapolis or Reno, please stop by and say hello, and until next time, stay well…reports on my return.