Where else can you find a Borimir-esque cosplay changing a baby’s diaper on a changing table while talking on a cell phone? These bizarre things only happen at the world’s best cons!
As promised, I’m writing a little on my experience at FantasyCon 2014 in Salt Lake City. I have tons of pictures of my kids with various Cosplay artists but thought Brielle just sparkled with cuteness next to the FantasyCon entry tombstone things … err … entry monuments so she gets featured on today’s featured pic. I attended several panels with co-author Jaime Buckley and generally found the presentations to be pretty high quality with but few exceptions. A few notable panels included:
- a presentation on fossil records that support Tolkien’s fantasy creature (sorry, Glaurung was ignored in favor of Smaug so no verdict on that one) but the Oliphaunts were particularly interesting.
- an excellent panel about monsters that I thought rang particularly interesting (terminologically speaking) because it seems that modern “monsters” are less and less likely to actually be bestial. I guess dragons, orcs, trolls, and other assorted aliens are considered passe by some of the rising generation because they don’t have the cognitive ability to make moral decisions that make them “irredeemable and heinous.” Hannibal Lecter received a number of shout outs in that (and other) panels. That was food for thought.
- a panel that, among other things, informed us that fan polls have shown that readers prefer that authors release shorter books more often rather than publishing larger books less often. That is helpful to know as an author so I thought I would pass on that choice morsel.
- a panel that I really have no idea what they were talking about. It was interesting though because every few sentences, one of the panelists gave me an idea for a chapter for existing books that I’m working on and/or plot/environment ideas for books that I need to write someday. It may have been the villains panel where someone suggested that the scariest villains were those that found there space on the opposite end of D&D’s alignment chart. That was food for thought as well … and by the way, that makes Batman chaotic good (which sort of makes sense in Christopher Nollan’s universe if you think about it). The villain panel was particularly interesting for these and similar observations.
- a half dozen shout outs for the Silmarillion – I guess just because Peter Jackson is scheduled to make it a movie – including one person who says he reads it once every six months. Talk about hardcore fandom!
- several panels with LOTR and Hobbit cast members. My kids loved them but I missed them all as I was being “responsible.” Jasher reportedly bumped into Sean Astin in the hallway and ended up with a hug from our most beloved hobbit of all. Everyone knows he’s a nice guy so I guess that is no surprise.
- a few panels that made sure to point out plot inconsistencies with the latest Star Trek installations. Okay … that wasn’t all that interesting except that it happened in a number of presentations with different panelists. I guess I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t blown away with J. J. Abram’s take on the Star Trek universe (I thought they were okay but not fabulous).
- a poetry contest. Really! Actually, I was surprised. Some were awful and some were awesome. The presenters first had to answer a question about their chosen topic. If they answered incorrectly, the audience chanted “Not a Nerd! Not a NERD! NOT A NERD!” which, as my daughter pointed out, was the first time we’d ever seen that statement used in a derogatory manner! Most poems were so esoteric that you had to be a true fan of the show/book to understand the poem but they were entertaining nonetheless. My favorite poem was a slam on Game of Thrones. I’m personally largely uneducated about the TV show and the books. I saw one episode and looked it up on google images to see their dragons only to find several images of people being impaled, hung up on bed posts with arrows plastered through them, etc. to the point that I largely lost interest in the series. The poet blasted the series, noting that “You are the Romans and Game of Thrones is the new colosseum,” only to be met with very strong and loud “oooooh!”s, murmurs, and a few jeers but it was great. The poem was of a better quality than the other contestants that I observed as well. Alas, I had to leave early because the “poetry” was becoming unnecessarily graphic and inappropriate for children so I took my kids and ditched the rest of the panel.
Overall – FantasyCon ranks as the best Con I’ve attended so far. It had everything you could ask for in a Con and much more. From an author’s perspective, I made some very helpful contexts, learned some very insightful things, and enjoyed the ideas that were thrown my direction. But it was great for fans too. My kids loved it and had a great time. All hail FantasyCon 2014!