This weekend is the MileHiCon , the science fiction/fantasy convention for the Rocky Mountain region. Today, I managed to slip away and attend, and I walked away believing it was time and money well spent.
For those of you who haven't been to a "Con" before, it's probably not exactly how you picture it—and certainly not how it is spoofed on The Simpsons. Sure, the hotel lobby features a cast of colorful characters who look like they just walked off the sets of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, but you don't have to slap on pointy ears to attend. I fit in just fine in my jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt.
Three features of the Con impressed me right from the start. First, at any given time there were four or five workshops and author readings going on. They were designed to fit a variety of tastes and interests, but several times I wished I could be two places at once. Second, the quality of the speakers was quite impressive--more on that below. Third, the setting of the workshops was intimate, with most of them having 10 to 20 attendees. This made it easy to hear the presentations and ask questions.
This post would be way too long if I shared everything I learned or found interesting, and so . . . now for the highlights. Hugo, Nebula, and Campbell Memorial Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer did a reading from his forthcoming novel Rollback. (It is currently being serialized in Analog and will be released in hardcover by Tor in '07). It was actually more like an "acting" than a reading. Standing in front of the audience with a PDA cupped in one hand, he used voice and gesture to help make the book come alive. Afterwards, he took questions and talked about several interesting topics, some of which I'll probably revisit in later posts.
I also enjoyed the author reading by Daniel Abraham. He he's an up-and-coming author who read from a project he's working on that's coordinated by one of my favorite authors, George R.R. Martin. Mr. Martin has created a shared world anthology called the Wildcard series, and Mr. Abraham's work will be featured in a new triad of Wildcard mosaic novels that will be released from Tor beginning next year. After the reading, I'm already hooked. Melinda Snodgrass , another Wildcard collaborator, also revealed in her excellent screenwriting workshop that she and Mr. Martin will be pitching a Wildcard movie. Let's hope Hollywood is interested!
After my positive experience, I'm certainly hoping to attend next year. Maybe it can also be an opportunity to promote Electric Spec. I'm sure a lot of the attendees would enjoy our 'zine.