DragonCon: Fans Rule

Barbara Vey -- September 6th, 2010
Trying to make your way around DragonCon

Trying to make your way around DragonCon

DragonCon has to be experienced to be believed.  While much smaller than the San Diego and New York Comic Cons, this fan fest has been around for over 20 years.  These die hard fans come to see and be seen.

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Personally, I think the costumes are even more elaborate than other cons and there appear to be more of them.  I really wonder what the ratio of dress-up vs us regular t-shirt wearing gawkers is.  There’s also not the big movies and TV presences of Comic Con, but there are still plenty of panels and stars to be seen.

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Denise and Courtney

Denise and Courtney

Being true to my adventurous self, even before I attended the opening minutes of DragonCon, I found a lump in the sidewalk and managed to trip over it.  I tumbled down 2 stairs, flipped over like a cat dropped from  a balcony and all I could think of was, “Don’t fall on my face.”  (If you remember, I did that last year.)  I spent the day limping around and by night I needed to see the paramedic on staff.  Lucky for me, it was Courtney who’s an avid reader, so while she explained the painful blood blister under my big toe nail wasn’t life threatening (only painful), I would live.  On top of everything else, I was dehydrated so I was taken to the VIP area (which is full of food, drink and really cool people) and signed in as a guest of the delightful artist Denise.  I’m happy to report that I’ve been healthy ever since, so thanks Courtney and Denise.

Ready for the parade

Ready for the parade

There’s a big parade on Saturday morning.  Fan’s walk behind their favorite authors and people group together like pirates, military and even a group of Lady Gaga wannabes.  While extremely entertaining, the crowds are daunting with much shoving and jockeying for position.  I would have loved to have opted for a seated viewing area, but maybe sometime in the future.

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The longest lines appeared to be for Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Stargate and Star Trek.  But plenty of panels offered up something for everyone.  Film festival, Walk of Fame (stars), Comic’s Artists Alley, Art Show, catagories like Paranormal Track, Podcasting, Reading Sessions (featuring some of our favorite romance authors like Leanna Renee Hieber, Gillian Summers, Jana Oliver and Mari Mancusi), Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time (WOT), Robotics, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Literature, Science, Asian Cinema and Culture, Skeptics, Space, Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Whedon Universe.  Whew!  There was also a Writer’s Track and Writer’s Workshop.

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Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jonathan Maberry, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, A.J. Hardy, Nancy Knight and

Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jonathan Maberry, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, A.J. Hartley, Nancy Knight and Kevin J. Anderson

I did attend the New York Times Bestsellers Tell All with Sherrilyn Kenyon (who was also the conference’s Guest of Honor), Kevin J. Anderson, Nancy Knight, Jim Butcher, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jonathan Maberry and A.J. Hartley.  I have to say that this was the most entertaining author panel I’ve been to in some time.  Nancy Knight did a tremendous job as moderator with questions that kept the panelists on their toes.  (I plan to use some of them at upcoming events.)  When the authors were introducing themselves, Jonathan Maberry announced, “Hi, I’m Charlaine Harris.”  When discussing their first NYT books, Anderson proudly claimed that his STAR WARS “Jedi Academy” books were the three top-selling SF novels of 1994.  When Knight asked the authors about the favorite book they wrote and their favorite book written by someone else, there was considerable groaning.  Butcher likes his Dead Beat with zombie dinosaurs.  Hamilton’s favorite is Charlotte’s Web.  The next question was about their most embarrassing moment as a writer.  Hartley admitted that someone commented on his “guest” tag saying, “You’re a guest and I never heard of you…you must be a writer.”  All writers agreed that the best advice given to them was “Don’t stop writing.”

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The worst part about Dragon Con is that the events are held at several different hotels, so you’d better be in pretty good shape to get around.  It isn’t easy to go from an event at the Hyatt, to the Marriott and then have 5 minutes to truck over to the Sheraton.  It’s a must to plan wisely.  The convention even offers Eternal passes.  One man told me he bought his several years ago for about $200 and now they go for about a thousand.  He figures he’s already gotten more than his money’s worth and plans to attend to many years to come.  DragonCon is definitely a labor of love.

Author Jeannette Cogdell

Author Jeanette Cogdell

Author Leanna Renee Hieber

Author Leanna Renee Hieber

Author Sherrilyn Kenyon

Author Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Bottom Line: My only celebrity sighting was Gil Gerard (in the parade) and Rene Auberjonois (from Star Trek, The Next Generation) and he only shook my hand.

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