Saturday, December 20, 2014

SFContario 2014: My Panels 'n Stuff

This was my third time attending SFContario, and it wasn’t as much fun as before. Not the con’s fault, except that they booked the same weekend as the Book Fair. A large number of con regulars chose the Fair, so the number of authors on hand was significantly lower.

This is not to say I had a bad time. There was plenty to do and good people to hang out with. I made a new fan (hello, Jayden!), enjoyed my panels, attended a fantastic reading, and even managed to spark some completely unintentional controversy! Click here for that story.

I did a reading myself from my upcoming novel Apoca-Lynn, and once again faced a tiny crowd of only four people. Nevertheless, we had a good time.

Next, I went to the much better attended reading by Madeline Ashby. She read from a new story, and it had me on the edge of my seat. Full marks to you, Madeline!

I had four panels that weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. My first was on writing horror for children with David Nickle, Madeline’s fiancée. It went well, and made me want to rush out and scare the crap out of some kids.

My second panel was about the TV show Marvel’s Agents of Shield. I was a little concerned with how that one would go – my memories for the details of that show are not as perfect as my memory for Doctor Who or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Luckily I had plenty of help from my fellow panelists, and a great time was had.

My first Sunday panel was Troll or Insightful Criticism, about the rise of the so-called ‘trolls’ on the Internet who disparage everything they see. We discussed the difference between a troll and a harsh critic, boiling it down to a matter of respect for the thing being critiqued. The conversation naturally touched upon topics like Gamergate and cyberbullying. Sensitive issues, but they made for a good panel.

Sunday also saw the debut of Adi Everett’s mental health and fandom panel at SFContario, renamed Fandom and Disability. We had a good turnout for that one, and the expanded scope to include all forms of disability led to some great discussion. The room we held the panel in was the least accessible for people with disabilities, an irony that was not lost on anyone.

After all was said and/or done at the closing ceremony, I went up to the Consuite for the Dead Dog, otherwise known as the afterparty. There was lots of food (I cut the ham!) and plenty to drink – it was hard to stick to my no-pop rule, but I managed.

The next day I was back at work with a fandom-sized hole in my heart. Until next year!

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