Having only been a panelist at one other SF con, I didn’t know quite what to expect from FenCon. I had terrible visions in my head of absentee moderators, double-booked rooms, and guests locked in the basement until our appointed time to dance for the crowds.
I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
They’d scheduled me for six panels, which was plenty. I had time to rest between some of them and didn’t have to scrape the bottom of my brain for new things to say. Six also gave me time to look around a bit. (The art show was a particular favorite this year.) I always enjoy a little extra time to poke around the Dealer’s Room.
First up was Modern Good vs. Ancient Evil where we discussed classic representations of evil in literature, as well as some modern interpretations.
We decided that while the unknowable, indefinable evil of Tolkien and Lovecraft was still exciting, we as modern audiences wanted a villain we could get to know, at least a little. I think many in the room agreed that the authors we liked to read best were those who made us sympathize with the villain, even if that felt kind of against our will.
Next, sitting in the same room, in the same spot, was Beastly Fans. I liked it because I didn’t have to move. I think we were ultimately supposed to talk about why strange creatures endure in fantasy fiction, but we ended up listing them at one point and then disagreeing about which we like best…and then we drifted off into talking about dinosaur porn, which is apparently a thing. Look it up on Amazon if you don’t believe me. So, lots of jokes made about that, and then about everything else under the sun as we re-imagined it as porn. Lots of laughs on this panel, much fun.
My next panel was almost a crowded house. It was a bigger room, and some of the people sitting with me had fans of their own following them from panel to panel. It was also the biggest I’d sat on yet, and it was about one of my favorite topics: action scenes. It was called When Action Gets in the Way of Story. Since there were so many people, and none of them were shy about talking, I had to jump in where I could. I think I ended up talking about stabbing people and how I always recommended it in a story. It was a nice approach. I had everyone laughing. Someone tweeted a quote from me, and one gentleman liked me so much he tracked me down and bought a book. What can I say, I enjoy cracking people up.
My next two panels were FenCon Squares, a version of Hollywood squares, and No, I’m Hero Support, a panel about sidekicks. Unfortunately, the pics of Squares didn’t really turn out because it was so dark in the room, and I forgot to give my camera to anyone during the sidekick panel. The Squares was fun. I was the left middle, so only got called on twice, but I like to think I helped the players to victory.
The Hero Support was entertaining, though a bit small as it was in the middle of the day Saturday. Still, much fun comparing Robin to Watson to Samwise. I noticed some familiar faces in the room, too, telling me that at least some people were interested enough to hear me on multiple topics (or maybe they just loved this same room).
Next was World-building, and I got try my hand at moderating, which I found out I was doing when I got there. Still, no big. I’d moderated before. I just needed a little time to meditate on the topic and come up with some questions. I think I came up with some good ones, and I hope I directed the flow of conversation nicely. Being moderator also gave me a few opportunities to quip, which you know I love. The audience seemed really engaged. There were only a few seats open in the back, and we had so many questions, we ran out of time. It was nice to be approached after the panel was over by those who didn’t get their questions answered. I could tell everyone was really interested, and that’s always flattering.
So there’s my FenCon recap. Exhausting and exhilarating, even more so because I was one day back from Spain. Still, I wouldn’t have traded this con for another, and if I had to do it again, I’d have done it exactly the same way.
Next I’m at Bent Con in Burbank, CA. More on that later. Also, don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Amor and More: Love Everafter, featuring a new Katya and Starbride story.
What’s been goin on in the non-travelin’ world?