Sunday, October 07, 2018

VCon 2018 - Day 2 - More Conversations than Conference-Going

Can you really say you've spent a day at a con if you've hardly taken-in any programming? Yes. Yes you can.

Today was a day like that for me at VCon. I arrived at noon(ish — I mean, hey, come on, it's me! How often have I ever shown my mug before the crack of lunch?), and spent the whole day there, but only took in one thing that was on the con schedule. The rest of the time I spent talking with people. And it was great! Sure, there were a bunch of panel sessions I would have like to have attended, and they would have been interesting and entertaining, but I think I had a better time shooting the breeze with people here and there throughout the venue. Some people would call that a "bar con" (where a person registers for a convention, but ends up spending the whole thing camped-out in the hotel bar yakking with whoever drifts in), and fair enough, though I didn't step foot inside the hotel restaurant/bar today. Maybe a lounge con? A courtyard con? A hallway con? Call it what you will, it was a good day.

I started things off catching up with Kristi Charish. I was just finishing lunch when she walked by and stopped to talk for a while. We ended up having an interesting discussion about the state of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and all of the permutations in between that have popped up in recent years. She also shared a little info about her upcoming instalment in the Voodoo series. Later, part of me thought it would have made a good podcast episode. But you know what? Sometimes it's nice just to leave the iPad/recorder off and shoot the breeze. Enjoy the easy conversations that just kind of happen. That's part of what makes sf conventions so great.

Next I met up with James Alan Gardner to do an interview for the Invaders From Planet 3 podcast (stay tuned for that episode in about a month!). I've been a fan of his work going back to the Northern Stars Canadian sf anthology back in the mid-1990s, and his recent superhero novel, All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, was a glorious, fun, superhero/supernatural mashup that had a lot of heart. Jim's another good person to sit down and chat with, and I think you'll enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

A little wandering around then, and I drifted back into the dealers' room where I spent some time gazing wistfully at some of the Roman and Anglo Saxon items an antiquarian vendor had on display, and talking with him about history and how things like clasps and mounts and buckles would have been used, and by whom. I'd gone looking for something to buy my brother for Christmas, but ended up wrestling with temptation to get a trinket for myself. Didn't buy anything, but with one day left a the con, you never know.

After that, I had another interview for the podcast scheduled, this time with Matthew Hughes. He's another interesting person with a lot to say on everything from writing (of course) to a childhood and youth with incidents that could have been right out of a novel. No spoilers — you'll have to stay tuned for his episode of Invaders From Planet 3, coming up in late November/early December.

At that point, I toyed with going to a panel session, but it was after 6 and I was getting hungry, so I thought it'd be better to walk down the street for a bite. Sticking around for the session would have meant rushing through supper in order to get back in time for the Aurora Awards, and who wants to wolf down a meal when you should be taking time to enjoy it? So, scratch another session off the list. Instead, I walked through the deliciously crisp autumn night to the #9 Restaurant — Richmond's Chinese version of a 24-hour diner. It ain't pretty, but the food is good and inexpensive. Kung po guy ding, hoisin chow mein, and peppered deep-fried silver fish always make me a happy boy. If only they'd serve bolay tea, instead of the weak jasmine, it'd be perfect.

Back up the street to the con for the Auroras, and while I was waiting around, I saw a cosplayer styling a Negasonic Teenage Warhead suit. None of the energy blasts of her Marvel comic or Deadpool movie counterpart, but all of the attitude. We chatted for a bit, and she showed me some photos of some of her other costumes. I'm not a cosplayer myself, but I have a hell of a lot of respect for people who are — they show a lot of dedication and passion for the nerdy stuff they love. This conversation also reminded me that Saturday is generally the day that the cosplayers come out in force at VCon, but I hadn't really noticed any... mainly because I was talking with people instead of taking-in the masquerade or wandering around. But that's okay. If you see one good costume and a cosplayer having fun, it's worth it. I also ran into Kristi again during the wait, and we chatted a little more. And I saw someone I recognized from a session at the con a few years ago that I wanted to talk with briefly. This person had run a brief how-to on home recording and podcasting that I found really helpful when I was gearing up to put IFP3 together, and so I wanted to say thank-you. It's important. Lots of people teach or share info, and thankyous are pretty rare, so when you learn something worth-while from someone, it's important to give them that validation.

Then the doors opened and everyone filed-in to one of the larger rooms for the Auroras. No need for me to sum-up the list of nominees and winners — you can find that around the web. I'll just say congratulations to everyone on the lists this year! Well deserved, everyone!

Leaving the ceremony, someone caught sight of the Uber Torso CHOAM t-shirt I was wearing and asked "Hey, is that the CHOAM company from Dune?" It's a wonderful thing to be around people who get the references on Uber Torso's shirts. Yesterday, I was in the Tyrell Corporation Nexus 6 shirt. Tomorrow? Maybe Flynn's Arcade? Maybe Weyland Yutani's Hadley's Hope colony shirt? We'll see. If only the Wyld Stallyns tour shirt I'm waiting for would arrive, I might go with that.

After that, it was time to head home. As usual, hungry kitties waiting for a too-late supper, a blog that needs updating, and a little relaxation before bed.

See you at the con tomorrow!

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