So Saturday dawns, the official second day of the Con, and really the showcase. This is the day that features the largest crowd, the longest lines, and waiting. The day passes are in evidence this day, the one day attendees crowding the hotels. And it is the day of the Parade.
This year the Parade had forty-seven groups entered. A group could be something like the Battlestar Galactica cosplayers, or Starwars, or Superheroes. They had a Game of Thrones group this year, and a Box Superhero group. Missing this year was the company of Iron-men, while Deadpool seemed to be this year’s favorite character. The Guests of Honor rode in the parade in cars, and included Ms. Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from Star Trek), James Randi (The Amazing Randi, famous debunker), and Peter Hamilton (author). It didn’t start until ten, which made me miss the early panel I wanted to get to. Still, I’m amazed they were able to get that many people up from partying Friday to get in their costumes and walk the route. They changed the route this year so more people could view the parade, at the request of the City of Atlanta. The new route included several parking garages, allowing people to fill up the levels to see the parade. From what I heard, that was hell on some of the cars that had people climbing all over them. To me, the coolest thing about the Parade is seeing all of the imaginative costumes. Some were very simple, some complicated, some cheap, some expensive, and some very labor intensive. Working wings, Iron-man and Robocop suits, costumes from famous and obscure series.
I left the Parade early because I wanted to make an 11:30 AM panel and didn’t want the lines to stop me. Here’s where I get to mention Dragon Con TV. In past years, when I had stayed in offsite hotels, I had only seen Dragon Con TV when attending panels that had wall mounted screens. They showed very funny, imaginative and silly skits based on popular TV and movies. This year, staying in one of the host hotels, I was able to watch Dragon Con TV in the morning and before going to bed. More skits, funny commercials, and replays of the big events. Saturday night I was able to watch the rest of the Parade with comments. At the 11:30 panel I wanted to get a book signed by Larry Correia. He was in a hurry, but still found the time to scribble a signature in my copy of Hard Magic.
After two panels I was ready to head to the Market, where all the venders are set up. I really enjoy my time going through the hundreds of tables, looking for a book, or even more important, a signed book. Or some nick nack that just catches the eye. This year the line was stretching around two blocks, and I just had to give up on that. Dragon Con needs more vender space, and a shorter wait to get into it. I‘m not really sure how they’re going to handle that, so I’m guessing the space is just going to get more and more crowded. After the first year I have made it a point to stick with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature and Writers tracks, which feature many of the guests I want to see, authors and editors, and are the most likely to help my career moving forward. Not to say I won’t go to some of the other tracks, but if I do, I try to get there very early, as the lines can be unreal. Atlanta was cooler than usual this year, so there wasn’t the intense summer heat to deal with, but standing in line for an hour, only to be turned away at the entrance to the event, is not one of my favorite things. And this year the lines seemed to be longer than ever.
I attended one space panels given by my friend, NASA Scientist Les Johnson, about solar sails. Les is both a science fiction writer and a hard core scientist. He is working on solar sail missions at this time, and his enthusiasm is catching. Les had encouraged me to attend the Mars panels on Sunday, but after that panel I saw how that would go. The room was packed, and as soon as the old crowd filed out at the end of the presentation, is was repacked with an entirely new crowd that had been waiting outside. So I was back to the Embassy rooms for most of the rest of the day. There was one really cool incident when coming out of the Space Track presentation. There was a large group of Deadpools gathered in the Hilton Lobby. Singing, dancing, chanting. There were traditional Deadpools, Deadpool variations, male and female, and shapes and sized. Only to be seen at Dragon Con.
I worked my way over to the Westin for one panel, the Alternate Warfare talk with Eric Flint, Jack Campbell and Taylor Anderson, among others. I talked with a young guy in the Navy while waiting for the doors to open. He was a scifi fan, and I talked to him about my own books and passed on one of my cards. An older gentleman and his wife came over and sat next to us, having heard our talk, and they received cards as well. If you are a writer, you need to carry cards with your author page, website, email and other contact information. I was low on cards for this Dragon Con, but still stretched them out until Monday morning. After that it was back to the Hyatt for one more panel, then the fight through the crush between hotels to get to the Marriott elevator bank.
I settled down in my room to do some writing, and watched the Costume Contest on TV. Again, there were some very imaginative costumes, and some that were very simple. I didn’t agree with any of the winners, but that was just me.
Up Next: Part 3.