Home > Uncategorized > The Pros and Cons of Cons

The Pros and Cons of Cons


Greetings and salutations, my friends.

Had an interesting week last week. You see, I went to my first convention. I know what you’re thinking, scantily clad nerd girls dressed up like Princess Leia in her Jaba the Hutt slave bikini thingy. Nope. This one was READERCON. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? Well it was a great time.

This convention served one purpose, to unite authors and readers and booksellers and just about everyone else who has anything to do with the love of books. There were panels discussing everything from the trouble of portraying the hardships of colonization between technologically advanced peoples and the indigenous natives to what the exact definition of urban fantasy includes. I specifically bring up these two panels because they are the two that I sat through. Oye. I will get into these topics more as it is actually the meat of my blog post for today. But first I wanted to tell you a little more about the Con itself.

My favorite part of the Con was the booksellers room. I had the luck to sell my book, Origins alongside Jen Wylie and Marc VunKannon. We had the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people. I like interesting people. The Con was CHOCK FULL OF INTERESTING PEOPLE. Yeah. We’re gonna leave it at that. I did manage to sell a few of my urban fantasy book at a sci fi convention which amazed me. They might not admit it. But everybody loves vampires. Specially the non-sparkly bite your face off vampires.

I also met some GREAT people who sell books as dealers. Especially the great people (Cynthia and OBO) of Withywindle books. They truly had some amazing wares I had my eye on. If you haven’t checked them out. Do it now. I mean it. Don’t make me get out the car battery, jumper cables, and wet sponges. We couldn’t have asked for better table neighbors.

Now let me get to the gist of the post so to speak.

Panels.

Oye.

I sat through two of them and it was all I could take. I love authors. But DAMN people. I have never before seen such a group that positively LOVES to argue about the tiniest of things. FOR EXAMPLE:

Urban Fantasy, what does it mean to you? I always took Urban Fantasy as a book that is set in OUR world but with fantastical elements such as vampires or werewolves or magic. Pretty simple right? Well…apparently I’m a fucktard. According to the panelists Urban fantasy is either a story where the city itself is integral to the story or a character itself. Oh wait, there’s more. There is now an offshoot of Urban Fantasy called Rural Fantasy. But they couldn’t agree if Rural Fantasy is just regular fantasy because most fantasy occurs in rural settings. Oh, and did you know that if the main character of the story sleeps with only one vampire or werewolf it’s considered paranormal romance, but if they have a string of sexual partners its considered urban fantasy? Yeah. No shit. Me neither. As I said, apparently I’m just dumb and that panel is an hour of my life I will never get back.

The other panel I sat in on was the one dealing with colonization. Yes I’m talking prime directive, first contact stuff here. A technologically advanced people colonizing an already populated planet with lesser advanced indigenous peoples. Think blue people that are ten feet tall who whip the ass of the colonizers. Sound familiar? Yeah. Well you see, the panel itself was made up of entirely white people who wouldn’t know what it meant to be colonized if gigantic circular spaceships hovered over every major city in america and then blasted tall buildings with deathrays causing cataclysmic devastation. The only person on the panel I gave any credence to speaking on colonization was a really nice lady from India. She probably had the credentials to speak on the subject. They should have had a few Native Americans speaking and then maybe I wouldn’t have considered it another complete wast of my time. I probably would have let it go, but what happened next ruined the whole experience for me completely. You see, when the question time came up, a young lady stood up and asked a question. “How does this affect the homosexual and transgendered population in terms of colonization?” Okay, before you ask, the young lady had REALLY short hair and was about as feminine as Joe Pesci, but I’m NOT going to jump to any conclusions. Peoples sexuality is their own business and I don’t mind either way. My question is WHAT THE FUCK DOES BEING A LESBIAN HAVE TO DO WITH PLANET WIDE COLONIZATION? The panel went to hell after that. That was ALL they talked about for the remaining twenty minutes while they discussed the differences between transgender and transexual people. I wanted to throw things. Sharp things and hard things while screaming, “WTF?”

Well, that was my experiences on Con Panels. If you EVER have the opportunity to sit in on one, I suggest you don’t. Come hang out in the book room with the cool people in propellered beanie hats, lip rings, top hats, tattoos, hoverounds, and rainbow colored hair 😉

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Hahaha! I must admit, I have wondered how entertaining listening to a panel could actually be. Sounds about like I had pictured it. I could not listen. Not without putting my two cents in. #note to self- avoid panels at cons.

    Rural fantasy? Wow. Hahaha. You have just enlightened me on so much that I must allow myself a moment to forget the rules of Urban, rural- paranormal romance or urban fantasy based on bed post notches. Yeah. Um. Thanks. LOL.

    Great post though. You always make me laugh! LOL

    • July 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      Hiya Shelly! Glad you enjoyed 😀

  2. July 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    You just didn’t go to the right panels, Sean. I went to the panels on genre definitions and had a great time! Most of the panels I saw listed were of no interest to me whatsoever.

    FWIW, to me UF is a fantasy story that takes place in a contemporary urban environment. Fantasy that takes place in some other urban environment, like Ankh-Morpork or Gondor, is just fantasy.

    • July 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Just my luck, I pick the rotten panels.

      And I agree with your definitions.

      • July 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        It helps that I’m the sort that likes academic subjects. Since St. Martin’s Moon came out I’ve been interested in questions of how genres are defined, since it didn’t fit any of the standard genres I knew of. With that in mind I could see how the four panels I went to were all really talking about the same thing.

        Or maybe I was filtering what they said through my own obsessive lenses.

  3. July 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Loved your ‘Pros and Cons of Cons’. I’ve never been to a convention but my teenage daughter went to Comicon in May when it was here in CA. She had a blast – dressed up everyday, even went to a ball the last night! I had no idea so much went on at the conventions. I can now imagine what it must have been like for you. It’s good exposure.

    The genres are a tricky thing. I’m in the Young Adult genre and let me tell you, that scares the heck out of me. You don’t want to piss off a mom. When I started writing, I didn’t know that my books were considered Young Adult, after all there was sex in the books, so I thought they were just Paranormal Romance. But Sheesh! was I wrong. I started getting bad reviews because there wasn’t enough sex and violence. When I first saw the Young Adult genre I was thinking the age group was 13-17, at least that’s what I consider a young adult. I was informed that young adult is 17-21, but then some don’t agree.

    My book Somber Island has a mild rape scene which is when the heroine first meets the vampire in all his glory as he rescues her from the drunken attacker. The vampire’s ability to heal the heroine of her wounds (a head wound, hand wound and her virginity) is done by one lick of his tongue, also healing her emotionally from the trauma of the event – but one women accused the scene as an act of beastiality, which shook me to the core. Dear Lord, that was not my intention. He’s a vampire not a dog and though the scene may appear to be oral sex to some, I never considered one lick to heal her an act of sex.

    Because of these two paragraphs in a book of 200 pages, I don’t list it as young adult. It certainly doesn’t stand up to the standards of a normal paranormal romance since there is no sex or language in the entire book, unless you are one of the few that considering the healing lick a sex act…Needless to say, genres are a very confusing subject for me. I too considered Urban Fantasy to be a normal setting with fantasy beings such as vampires, werewolves, demons, whatever….Who knew!

    • July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      I feel your pain. From now on I’m just going to tell people I write books. Let them deal with what they classify them as and if they have problems with it. I’ll be checking out your book! Sounds interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. July 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    The panels at this particular con are not what I have experienced at other cons. Take Love is Murder for example. This is a wonderful example of what a con should be. The panels at LiM are some of the best I’ve ever sat through. They are exciting, they are engaging, and they are interactive.

    That is one of the faults I found with the Readercon panels I sat through. It was almost like the audience wasn’t even there.

    When I go to a panel I expect the speakers to talk about things relevant to the genre or topic actually written in the description. A question and answer period might not be out of order. It is not unheard of for the panelist to take the interest of the attendees into consideration.

    My other complaint about Readercon was the people. I met one nice person, who I had actually known from online social networking. With a few exceptions, everyone else was cold and standoffish. I can honestly say that it is the first con or event I have gone to where I did not come home with several new friends.

    • July 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      I thought so too, but I did come away making a few friends. Was nice seeing you there though!

  5. July 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Good to know, and thanks for sharing. Always better with a dash of your wicked humor.

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