My favourite author in the world is Anne McCaffrey. She has more than 100 books to her credit, is now 82- lives in Ireland- and has broken both hips- had a heart attack and a stroke. So when I found out that she was “crossing the pond” to attend Dragon*Con, there was no way I was going to miss what might be my last chance to meet this woman and get her to sign my books.
Dragon*Con is a 4 day sci-fi/fantasy/pop-culture freak fest that takes place over Labor Day in Atlanta. I actually went to DC back in ’94 (for the same reason, but Anne fell and broke her hip and didn’t get to come) – and my has it changed! It is now the second largest convention of its type in the US (right after ComiCon), and it focuses on science fiction and fantasy, science, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. It is attended by all manner of fans. Some who are merely interested and some who live the life! Can I just say that the people watching was amazing. People dressed up as their favourite characters, authors, actors, aliens and even some original ideas (DO see the pix below).
There’s so much to see and do- and now that the Con is so big and so crowded there’s very little time to do it. I had no trouble getting a 3rd row seat for the reading that Anne did on Friday, but I had to get in line 2.5 hours before her book signing session on Sunday (and I was still #67). Lines meant we had to make some choices about events. Since I was in line for the book signing, I missed getting to attend the Miss Klingon Empire beauty pageant (www.trektrak.com/2008/08pageant.htm) because the line to get into the pageant started at about the same time. Jeff, however, used the 2 hours of down time as an opportunity to do something good: he hit the blood drive and opened up a vein for the Red Cross- netting a t-shirt and winning a lightsaber in a donor raffle in the process. We also had to divide and conquer: on Sat. morning Jeff went and watched (and photographed) the parade, while I went and got in line (1.5 hrs early) to get seats for the Torchwood panel (apparently there are A LOT of women out there who are warm for James Marsters form).
We did make it to the Mr.Star Wars contest, the MST3K panel and viewing, the Ghost Hunters panel, a random reading of a script by an author who commandeered actors from the audience, the art show, the build-your-own-droid demo and contest, all three dealers rooms and a concert by a “darkwave” band called The Cruxshadows and found that we really liked the Goth/NewWave/Sudo Vampire music. We even bought the current CD. Most of our time was spent happily wandering around with large drinks in our hands taking pictures of the various costumed freaks.
The weekend was made more interesting by the fact that we weren’t the only people in town. Chick-Fil-A decided to hold a pre-season bowl game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson University. So the town was awash in 70,000 normal unsuspecting people swathed in red or orange circulating among the various fairies, cylons, jedi, etc. These poor people had no idea about the Con, and clearly didn’t know what to make of it. It was also Black Gay Pride weekend. Need I say more?? Clearly, this was the city to be in if you were looking for a photo-op.
Jeff had a great time and says he’s totally willing to go back. I’d love to go again and do the Writer’s Track…we’ll see how this year goes. Watch the slideshow below to see some pix we snapped during our weekend. Enjoy!