This was my second Dragon Con, with 2013 being my first. I plan on returning, even when I have to use one of those self propelled carts to get around, though I hope I can spiff it up a bit. Maybe make it look like Captain Christopher Pike’s travel chair or something. Unfortunately, the one thing I forgot was my camera. Fortunately, I had my communication’s device which has its own camera, though with limited battery life I could only take so many. Essentially though, I go to Dragon Con for the authors. I really didn’t know that until last year, when, planning on seeing mostly celebrities, I instead ended up seeing people like Larry Niven and Kevin J Anderson. Now the authors are my main focus. This year they had Harry Turtledove, one of my favorites, and I did get to see him. I wanted to hear David Weber, who also attended, but missed him. No problem. I have two more chances to see him in the near future, and I’ll definitely get a chance to say a few words to him at Liberty Con next year. I, of course, was not a guest of the Con. I haven’t been around long enough to establish any kind of credentials. I tried to volunteer to moderate, but that also fell through. Again, next year at Liberty I get to break in to sitting on some panels. In some near future posts I will talk about the many authors I saw on different panels. Some I was able to chat with at certain times, like Hugh Howie, Chuck Gannon and Robert Sawyer. Others, like Jim Butcher, were just too mobbed to make the attempt, thought Butcher did say Hi in passing, and I wasn’t paying attention enough to realize who it was. Oh well. On the whole the attending authors were all very nice people. I thought there were some exceptions, as there always are, but their fans still seemed to love them. I saw some friends I met at the Writer’s Workshop last year, and at Kevin’s Superstars Seminar this February, including Kevin and Rebecca Moesta. I’m sure as I continue to attend I will meet more people, and see the growing number of people I have met again.
But, as seen in the pictures above, there are other reasons to attend a Con like this one. On one panel, Bill Fawcett, who definitely knows a lot about the Con, said that up to 65,000 people attended. Not as big as Comic Con, or even Mega Con in Orlando, it’s still one of the biggest and best of the fan Cons. And fans of everything and anything having to do with the fantastic. Books, TV, Movies, Comics, you name it. There are fans for it there. Sometimes the sheer numbers became a hassle to navigate through, and at times I wish I had some kinetic weapons to drop, or some particle beams to sweep, or even a demon sword like Stormbringer to swing, just to get people out of the way. Everything was mobbed. Even the food court. But the costumes were fantastic, to describe them perfectly. From bought off the shelf Starfleet uniforms (and some Royal Manticorean ones as well) to elaborate setups like the winged demon woman and her monstrous consort. It really is something to see three people, including the wearer, maneuvering a twelve foot long Black Dragon through the lobby of the Hyatt. All of the Dark Elves in attendance seemed to take it in stride, but then, they are creatures of evil themselves. There was no problem with taking pictures of them. These people spent some time and effort on their costumes, and they want to be seen and show off. Some of the best costumes involved group efforts like the Spartans in the parade (and this year’s parade was even better than last year’s), or the viking themed group. I saw other Spartan groups during the weekend, as well as groups of Dwarves and Elves, squads of Storm Troopers, demons, angels, and warriors of all kinds, from Colonial Warriors to Stargate Teams.
I was exhausted at the end of each day, roaming through this Disneyland kind of landscape. Normally I sleep poorly in hotels. This time I was out as soon as the lights went off, only pulled out of darkness by the alarm going off in the morning. Transportation was a bit of a problem. I was over by Turner Field, and though the hotel had advertised easy access to Marta, a mile walk was not my idea of easy access. There were shuttle buses in the morning, way too full, and taxis at night. I got ripped off by at least one taxi driver who didn’t turn his meter on till we reached the end of the trip, showing $18.50 when everyone else had charged about $10. I was too tired to get in an argument and gave him his money. The last driver was in luck. He was honest and asked for ten, and got a twenty for his trouble.
I would recommend Dragon to anyone who has not experienced a big Con. Or whatever is closest too you for those not in travel distance to Atlanta. It can run up some money. Hotels on a weekend like this are expensive, and if I were a younger person, I would consider sleeping with nine or eleven of my best friends in a room. But to this old nerd and fanboy, these are the best of times. Next up, I will talk about some of the great panels I attended, and some of the fantastic authors I met. And about how some of my plans for smoozing (yeah, I wanted to get my name out there) didn’t really amount to much.