It’s common wisdom that the value in attending cons is networking. I’ve come to realize rather quickly that panels, while awesome for learning, are not excellent for networking, because the panelist/audience member interaction is usually limited. And the kind of things that usually happen on panels are ones I can find later on the internet, especially at the bigger panels, with the authors I really want to see.
For day 3, I dressed up as Steelheart from Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson. It was the first time I’d done a cosplay of any sort, and I have to say that it was a blast. The costume itself was as simple as you can get, but it was still recognizable, and the people who know who the character was said that they liked it. I’m definitely glad that I did it, and I want to do something a little more interesting next time. I’ll have to think about that one.
I only managed to attend one official panel yesterday, the Writing Excuses live recording. They recorded 3 episodes, and it was entertaining and educational, both for the podcasts themselves (which you’ll be able to get online in the next few months) and for the experience of seeing all of the behind the scenes work that goes in to making these things really work. Their audio equipment set-up is intense. After the panel, I managed to snag Dan and Howard for some autographs, and then run off to Wesley Chu’s Kaffe Klatche.
The Kaffe Klatche was informal and relaxing. 10 fans sitting around a table, chatting with Wes about his work. He’s a really nice guy, and the other attendees were interesting people with good questions and comments to add to the conversation. Kaffe Klatches are quite worthwhile for making connections, and they’re also a good relaxer point in the middle of an intense day. Sign-ups, at least here, were quite competitive, so make sure you watch for those so that you can get the authors you want. I opted to not attend Sanderson’s KK, because that would be me being too greedy with his time.
Instead, I spent the afternoon in the autograph area, tracking down other authors and getting books signed and personalized. I managed to get Ken Liu, Elizabeth Bear, Katherine Addison, Wesley Chu, Kameron Hurley, and Scott Lynch to sign books for me yesterday. It’s amazing to meet that many authors, even if it is for literally less than a minute each while they scribble in your books. And those signed books are treasures that I can take home and keep forever, they are my preciouses.
I had dinner out with Alice, and stopped and chatted with several other people I’ve met, at various points, both authors and fans that I’d previously only known online. The air quality was horrible, to the point that you could see a faint haze inside from the smoke, and the convention put up signs on every door leading outside warning about the air quality. Thankfully, it looks like it has cleared off this morning, so I may try to do some more touristy things this afternoon, though that time will likely be taken up with packing to make sure I can get all of my books home. (I’ll do a round-up post when I get home, of all of the books I bought and books I got signed.)
The last event of the day was the Magic: The Gathering tournament with Brandon Sanderson. It was a draft from the latest Magic set, Origins. It was huge fun, and I met a lot of cool people while playing. I went 1-2 in the actual tournament, so I didn’t even come close to winning, but for my 1 out-of-tournament game with Brandon, I won. Yes, I beat Brandon (once) at Magic. It was worth being up until 2 AM to do that.
And so begins the last full day of the con. I’m off to breakfast a few hours later than usual, but I got enough sleep, so I’m still feeling pretty good. 🙂