Well, Dragon Con 2015 is in the books. Saw everything I could see, did everything I could do, and today I feel like I have risen as an unthinking zombie. Dragon Con seemed to be bigger this year, especially on Sunday. Sunday last year it was obvious that people were leaving. This year, Sunday seemed just as crowded as Saturday, and even the Monday morning events were well attended. I’ve only been going to Dragon for the last three years, and have learned a little more of the history of it every year. Like this year I found out that this massive undertaking started out with four hundred attendees, and that there had been talk about capping it at twenty-thousand one year. And now it has to have reached eighty thousand including Saturday day passes. I learned that this Con was different from any of the other megacons across the country in that it was hosted in the hotels, and not a convention center. Dragon has five host hotels, with the Marriot right in the center, flanked to either side by the Hilton and the Hyatt, with the Weston and Sheraton hotels just down the street in opposite directions. The Marriot, Hilton and Hyatt are all connected by enclosed sky bridges, and the Marriot and Hyatt have sky bridge connections to the food court at Peachtree Plaza. From what was said at the Con, every other large convention in the country has its panels and performances in a convention center, away from the hotels. And I learned that the con scheduled popular events against each other on purpose, forcing the attendees to choose so that one panel is not overloaded. And man, were there a lot of panels and a lot of tracks. I spent most of my time around the Writer’s, Scifi Literature and Fantasy Literature tracks, with a couple of forays into Alternate History and Space. But they had tracks for Science, Skepticism, Paranormal, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Gaming, Comics, Movies, and many more.
This year I was able to get into Marriot Marquis thanks to a writing friend who could not attend this year. I arrived at about 4:20 PM, twenty minutes after the start of check-in for that day, got the valet parking so I wouldn’t have to worry about the car, and waited about ten minutes to get checked in. My room was on the forty-fourth floor, and riding the high speed glass enclosed elevator up to my floor was like an amusement park ride. The view of the city was spectacular, and I saw the stadium for Georgia Tech nearby. There would be a game played there on Thursday, and that Wednesday the stadium was lit up to test the lighting system. The Peachtree Plaza food court was open, so I had some pizza and walked the Marriot lobby for about a half hour. There were already plenty of people gathered there in small parties of ten to thirty, making or a crowd of several hundred. Surprisingly, my room was very quiet, and I did not have any noise coming through to disturb my sleep.
Thursday was registration day, and it took very little time, less than five minutes, to get my badge at the Sheraton. It was a longer wait for a T-shirt, about fifteen minutes. I spent the rest of the day in my room writing, and discovered that I had accidently erased a chapter or so from a work in progress. Not fun. I then joined my friend Richard Laudenslager for a small party amongst the larger gathering in the Hyatt Lobby. Now things were starting to get going, with several hundred people in all the hotel lobbies getting the party going. There were already costumes in evidence, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I had dinner with Richard afterwards, and we talked comics and writing for about an hour before I headed back to my hotel and more writing.
Friday was the start of the main event. The hotels were now swarming with people, costumes were out en-mass, and the party was truly on. I started my day, in my SG-1 costume, at the first of two workshops I took with Michael Stackpole. Unfortunately, my P90 sub-machine gun broke early in the day. One of the few mishaps I had during the entire weekend. The big event of the day was the presentation by Chuck Gannon about how he plotted the future of his Caine Riordan series. At that presentation I met a fan of mine, J Alfred Goodwin, who was also a Gannon fan. I also met Jack Campbell at the next panel and got a book signed. At 8:30 PM I went to a very small get together at Chuck’s room and met some other authors and an editor of a short story magazine. All together a very productive day, and I headed back to my room exhausted. Now I can’t drink. Not that I don’t drink, but I really can’t, and I wanted to make panels, but for those who like to indulge, the party goes on late into the night, and the two lobbies I had to navigate took about five to ten minutes each to get across. Now came the elevator waits which everyone complained about. If you were on the upper lobby the elevator was already full before it came back to your level. The trick was to get on the elevator on the way down to the lowest lobby level so you would have a space. On one trip there were too many people on the elevator and it refused to move.
And so ended the preliminaries and first day of Dragon Con 2015.
Next Up: Dragon Con 2015: I Came, I Saw, I Got The T-shirt: Part 2.