Another 4th of July weekend, another CONvergence. Not that the 4th of July was completely overlooked. I had a room on the 19th floor of the hotel this year, which allowed me to watch the fireworks displays of at least 6 different cities and suburbs in peace, quiet, and air conditioning.
I haven’t seen final registration figures for this year yet, but let’s assume it was over 7,000 people. Despite the fact that there probably were at least another thousand people there above last year’s total, somehow it all worked better logistically. The major registration backup that was last year’s defining moment was eradicated this year. I took a chance and showed up late in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning, and it worked out: 2 minutes to check in at the hotel, 5 minutes to pick up my con registration…and 20 minutes waiting in line for an elevator to get to my room. (That last bit was not entirely unexpected after 16+ years of attending conventions at this hotel.)
The official theme of this year’s con was A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. I hereby dub “diversity” as an unofficial theme. It’s not like diversity suddenly popped up out of nowhere—the con has been actively pursuing it for years now—but it seemed to have really established itself in the programming this year. I saw panels for getting beyond the gender binary in SF/F, Asperger Syndrome, dissecting “aliens vs. white guys,” disabled people in fiction, asexuality, and coming out as atheist. Plus, of course, the “standard” panels on urban fantasy, dystopias, this year’s crops of SF/F movies and TV shows, writing, parenting, crafting, and so on. Coolness.
I always expect to take photos and fail to do so, but this year, I had a decent cell phone camera, so I figured I really would take photos. And I did…just not of the con. I took photos of the generic hotel painting in my room and of the equally generic flowers used in every public and commercial planting around here:
But basically only one photo was con-centered, and it’s pretty much indistinguishable from con photos from any year:
I give up.
Guess what? Read half a library’s worth of writing books and suddenly people aren’t saying all that much that’s new at the writing panels. I still went to several of them, though. There’s a world of difference between the neat and clinical stuff in the books and writing as actual human beings practice it, and I like listening to what writers have to say on the matter. (Plus, it’s great knitting time. I got the better part of two sleeves knitted this weekend as well as another inch or so on the Pink Thing.)
I talked to one person that I knew once during the entire con, but I kept catching glimpses of someone I hadn’t seen in 30 years throughout the weekend. I bet there’s some sort of science of how you run into people at huge events that explains this.