I’d been looking forward quite a bit to The Future of Urban Design, so maybe I could only be disappointed. The panel got bogged down with current local problems, and while those admittedly allow some extrapolation, it felt very much like one of our community planning committees or open houses and wasn’t what I’d hoped for.
The Realities of Space Travel on the other hand, was eye-opening for me as a non-physicist and only very marginally techy person. Glad I went.
Writers and Research confirmed what I’m already doing, and was a bit of a tide-me-over to the panel I’d been waiting for:
GLBTQ Reader: What is pushing the boundaries of gender in specfic? Honestly, this was ill prepared and almost had me walking out. All three panelists seemed to be convinced the aforementioned boundaries lay in gay characters and whether or not they were acceptable to publishers and/or readers. How disappointing. To their credit, they realized pretty quickly that their audience was way ahead of them in what problems drive the community today, so they mainly shut up and let the floor have it. In the end it was a very good discussion from which I took home another pile of book recommendations and some new friends.
In summary I really enjoyed this con. It’s small as cons go, which has the advantage of not having too many conflicting topics and finding venues easily. It’s also cozy and familiar and a good starter for con newbies. It was maybe not as cutting edge as it would have liked to be, but still managed to give me a lot of creative input and a pretty long book list.
If there’s anything I would have done differently it’s breaks. There were none. Panels started on the hour and were an hour long, which left no room for bathroom breaks, to get a coffee or a bite or to chat to anyone without missing at least part of the next panel. I think just 10 minutes between panels would be a good idea.
The panelist who stood out for me was definitely Marie Bilodeau, who was fun, helpful, thoughtful and approachable in equal measures and who put herself out there tirelessly. I’ll definitely be checking out her stories and books, and her blog feed is already bookmarked.