This year I was lucky enough to experience the wonder that is DragonCon. This year there were over 62,000 people attending, and it’s expected to grow more next year.
Wednesday I spent traveling, flying out of San Francisco in the morning to Atlanta in the late afternoon. I met up with my friend Maryann within minutes of landing. We grabbed a car and drove to our hotel. After a good meal at the hotel restaurant, we retired to our room and watched Oculus. I managed to stay awake through it. Maryann didn’t.
Thursday we went to pick up our badges. Since Maryann is an Eternal Member, her pick up took less than five minutes. I had to go over to the prepaid area. Last time I was here it took over an hour. This time I was in and out in under ten minutes. That left us time to visit the World of Coca Cola. (If anyone ever offers you a drink from Italy named Beverly, don’t take it. They are playing a horrible trick on you.) We had dinner at Trader Vic’s and shared an elevator with RJ Haddy of Face Off.
Friday was the official beginning of the convention. I attended the Gender and Sci-Fi Media panel, which wasn’t quite what I expected, but enjoyable. I had my photo ops with Karl Urban and Patrick Stewart. Later in the day I met and had items signed by Chelsea Quinn Yarboro, Karen E. Taylor, Gates McFadden, Walter Koneig, and Paul Blackthorn. The last event of the evening was the Critique Groups and Beta Readers panel where met Faith Hunter. She asked me the question I always get at DragonCon, “Are you a writer?” At least this year I could say that I had novel written and being reviewed by beta readers before I decide what to do with it. When I got back to the hotel, I participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. (Go donate!)
Saturday I did nothing related to the convention. Maryann, who is allergic to seafood, was exposed to crab and had an allergic reaction. While she was not reacting severely enough to be hospitalized, I stayed the entire day with her in case she took a turn for the worse. Since we were essentially limited to the hotel, Maryann and I watched Snowpiercer, which we both enjoyed and wondered why it didn’t get wider release.
Sunday I resumed attending the convention. I stopped by the Atlanta Radio Theater Company’s table and bought several audio productions. At Artist’s Alley, I met Georges Jeanty, Peter David, Bill Holbrook, Jennie Breeden, and Gina Biggs. I saw the Star Wars Costume Contest before attending the Star Wars EU Legends Panel. After the panel, I met Timothy Zahn, Jeanne C. Stein, and Samantha Sommersby. Then I dashed off to see Jonathan Maberry at the Vampires In Comics panel. Jonathan knows me and teased me about the fact that I choose to use a pen name. I told him that nobody is able to correctly spell my name when they hear it. Then Christopher Golden, who was sitting next to him, proved my point. I also attended the V-Wars panel. (Anyone not reading the book or the comic, start. It’s about to hit the big time, like The Walking Dead or A Game Of Thrones.) After the panel I said hello to Keith R.A. DeCandido and had a talk with Bobby Nash.
Monday I made it over to the shopping area and showed amazing restraint. I also wandered through the Art Show, where I gawked at some amazing pieces. I attended the Werewolves, Vampires, Demons, and Dragons panel, where I met Elizabeth Donald and Jennifer St. Giles. The final panel of the convention was The Final Frontier of Fiction. That was the most interesting one, since it was supposed to focus on what would be the next big thing in fiction. The answer was a resounding ‘we don’t know, but we want to be the ones who write it.”
Tuesday I was up at an ungodly hour to fly back to San Francisco and catch a ride home. All in all, DragonCon was a wonderful, wild weekend that I would encourage anyone to attend.