This weekend I went to Archon 38, a fan-run science fiction / fantasy convention held annually near St. Louis, Missouri (hence the name). It’s my first con appearance, so I thought I’d share my impressions.
Science / Writer Panels
The organizers were kind enough to put me on a few panels, which got me into the “pro” category of attendees. This is no small thing: there was a packet waiting for me at a special, express registration desk. There was a shiny AUTHOR ribbon for my name badge. And I was delighted to learn I had access to some kind of “VIP room” in the nearby hotel.
My first panel was called Genetic Engineering: Tinkering with the Human Body and moderated by H.G. (Henry) Stratmann. He’s a cardiologist and science fiction author (dozens of stories in Analog), and an old hand at this. We got to talk about next-gen sequencing, human genetics, designer babies, and other topics with a wonderfully inquisitive audience.
Portal Fantasies: Across Time and Space was my second panel, one I shared with a great group of authors: Mark W. Tiedemann, Kasey Mackenzie, and G.P. Ching. Mark was the only panelist who hasn’t written a portal fantasy, but he’s an industry veteran who had plenty to add to the discussion. I enjoyed an excuse to talk about THE ROGUE RETRIEVAL, since it falls into that category as well.
My third panel was on a hot topic: Publishing in the Digital Age. The other panelists were far more qualified: G.P. Ching has published 9 books since 2011 (she writes 2,000 words a day!) and Trudy V. Myers, who recently had a story in the hilariously-entitled anthology These Vampires Don’t Sparkle. We had a wonderful discussion on self-publishing, print-on-demand, marketing, cover design, promotion, etc. The hour really flew by.
My Archon Highlights
I didn’t get to attend nearly as many panels and events as I would have liked, but I enjoyed Archon 38 immensely. The event drew an enthusiastic crowd, and the organizers put together a fantastic program. Some of my favorite parts:
- Costumes were everywhere. My unscientific estimate is that about half of attendees were in costume. There was some kind of special Klingon reunion this year; you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting one.
- As a panelist, I got access to the VIP room. Which was awesome. I went there between panels Friday night and found (1) fried chicken on the menu, and (2) special guest R.A. Salvatore holding court at the dinner table. He and some other VIPs were comparing Porshes. What a life.
- I met Janny Wurts! She’s an incredibly prolific fantasy novelist and artist, and I told her so. We had a nice chat during which I told her how much I liked her writing, and she was nice enough to ask about mine. Very nice lady.
Archon is a great convention. If you can get out to St. Louis next fall, I highly recommend it.
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