Sunday, 9 November 1997:

Windycon XXIX

Whatever it is I look for in a science fiction convention, Windycon 24, which I returned from today, was a bit short on it.

Actually, I know that one major thing I look for is good programming, and Windycon was definitely short on that. There was essentially no programming on Friday, and on Saturday the programming ran strictly 10 am to 5 pm. I'm generally perfectly happy to sit in panels through 8 pm, and sometimes even later.

On the other hand, I'm not much of a partier: I don't care for crowds, and I'm not good at "mingling". (How do I ever meet people? Beats me!) Moreover, I'm finding more and more that I prefer cons with strong science fiction content, and that parties often seem to be filled mainly with people who, well, just want to party. In fact, it struck me a couple of times that once the panels were over, most of the people who were actually on and at the panels mostly seemed to disappear.

Another problem was that the con suite - the main place at cons where I do hang out when the panels are over, was moved to less satisfying quarters this year, and seemed shorter on good munchies than over the last couple of years. And publications seemed a notch lower in quality this time around.

The dealers room was still worth going to, although Windycon's dealers room is not as good for used and hard-to-find books as, say, Minicon. But I did buy several things, including (Fanboy Alert!) the first two novels based on MYST, Zenna Henderson's Ingathering: The Complete People Stories, and Jonathan Lethem's Gun, With Occasional Music. (This last book falls into the "books I feel I ought to read" category; I suspect it's not really my thing, however. But I've been wrong before!)

I also walked over to a nearby mall each morning to buy a cinnamon roll at Cinnabon for breakfast. I'd never been to one before, but boy they sure are yummy! (Packed with sugar and other bad-for-you things, too, no doubt! Mmmmm!)

And I saw some friends I haven't seen in a while and chatted with them, which is always fun.

In terms of the panels I did go to, I went to a couple of comic book panels, one of which was about women who read comics and the men who love them and how to get more women to read comics. I don't think anyone has any easy answers here, except to try to get more girls between the ages of 6 and 12 to read them. In both these panels, though, I was pleased to learn that I'm reading a few good comics that no one else there was, such as Castle Waiting and Thieves & Kings.

I also went to a session of previews from upcoming SF-related films. Titanic looks like it will actually be pretty good, even if it is six months behind its planned release date. I still have hopes for The Postman, based on David Brin's novel of the same name. However, Alien Resurrection looks like more of the same (was there anything left in this sub-genre of SF-splatter films which was even worth doing after James Cameron did Aliens?), and Sphere looks like it will be faithful to Michael Crichton's novel - unfortunately, it was an utterly terrible novel. However, there was a film called Dark City that had a pretty cool-looking promo.

And I went to a panel on publishing small-press SF magazines, and on doing useful critiques of SF stories. I really need to try to write some fiction in the near future; I've been putting it off for too long. (I did once write a little Star Trek fan fiction, which is on my Web page. But not much of the rest of what I've written is worth reading.)

But overall it was a very disappointing con, all the more so because the last two Windycons have actually been quite good.

Oh, well. No matter how it turned out, I'm sure my 10-year high school reunion in three weeks will be even stranger.

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