Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My (Delayed) Liberty Con AAR, Part II

Continuing from here.

Saturday morning at Liberty Con was spent shopping and, for the most part, attending readings. Bright and early at 10 AM,  Cedar and a gentleman by the name of Ernie Dempsey were sharing a reading period in the American Car, so after breakfast, I headed over there and camped out. Cedar read one of the more exciting bits from her latest, Trickster Noir, and Dempsey read from The Dream Rider. The latter I have not yet had a chance to check out, but what I heard at the con sounded promising -- as did the selection from Islands of Rage and Hope, which John Ringo read in the following hour. Interestingly enough, even Mom, who is really more of a horror fan, was laughing a lot at Ringo's reading; I think she appreciated all the military in-jokes. Meanwhile, come lunch, it was time for Dan and Robert Hoyt to have their reading, but I guess everyone else was answering the call of their stomachs because I was the only one there. Oh well: That was the rest of the con's loss, as the reading in question was epic. Dan and Robert are destined to become giants in the genre. Giants! I laughed, I cried, I -- well, you get the idea. (Okay -- I'm kidding around a bit. But really: You guys should've been there.)

After I went to get pizza and an ice cream cone, it was finally time for the climax of Liberty Con: The Baen Roadshow and Traveling Prize Patrol. I mentioned before that calling Liberty Con "Southern Libertarian Con" is pretty close to accurate, but you could also call it "Baen Con" without going too wide off the mark, as Baen is clearly Liberty Con's most popular traditional publisher. The stated purpose of the Road Show is to show off the authors and the wares -- i.e., to give the audience a sense of what's coming down the pipe for Baen. But the true purpose, as anyone who has ever been to a Road Show surely knows, is to give the readers and authors an opportunity to heckle Toni Weisskopf -- and to give Toni a chance to heckle back. ("That book is now done and will be in Toni's inbox by Tuesday." Sarcastic: "And I believe you!") As you might expect, it got quite loud in that conference room! I'm glad, though, that Mom and Dad got a chance to hear how Ringo once got over his writer's block by using the random tables in his Dungeon Master's Guide. It was also pretty funny when Robert (Hoyt) yelled to his mother that she should kick her husband in a rather delicate place to get him to shut up and let her write and Sarah responded with, "I have uses for those!"

Saturday night for me was devoted to dinner, the ARTC show, and the ongoing party in the Con Suite. I didn't stay up that late - and I swear I only had a taste of someone's personal drink recipe - but on Sunday morning, I felt really woozy and hung over. (I'm guessing it was dehydration and low blood sugar, as I started to feel better later in the day after I had a butt-ton of water and the house burger in the Gardens.) However, I did make it back to the con to see a few more panels. One of these was Doc Travis' solo show, at which we discussed the challenge of getting our space program back off the ground. Financing and building the tech is one issue, obviously, but there's also the cultural angle to consider. I observed from my seat in the audience that young people these days don't really have a Star Trek or space-based juveniles to inspire them, and as a consequence, people are no longer convinced that space travel is a worthwhile - even necessary - pursuit. Want to go back to the Moon? Want to send men to Mars? Well, those of us who take seriously the observation that "politics is downstream from culture" should address the market's dire need for exciting, optimistic young adult space opera -- and we should get to it as soon as possible. (This topic, by the way, is going to be expanded into another blog post at some point in the near future.)

Later in the day, I also got a chance to catch up with Jason Cordova at his Kaiju panel (and Jason: I'm still willing to pay for that "Kitty Kaiju" story if you're still willing to write it) -- and I hung out at the after-con party for a little while with Sue Phillips, Bill Rich, and some other associates from Dragon Con. I do wish, however, that I had had more time to talk to Cedar, the Hoyts, James Young, and the other Huns in attendance. I guess next year, we should arrange some quick get-togethers in advance -- and probably not in the AM, since so many of you like to party until the wee hours.

As I remarked in yesterday's post, though, I'm not at all sorry I came. On the contrary: I think I'm going to add Liberty Con to my regular trip circuit, as it fits my personality and attracts folks I really enjoy.  

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