Chatanooga, TN - July 27-29, 2007
by Dan L. Hollifield
In which Vila and Cita go to LibertyCon 20...
LibertyCon 20 was held July 27th through the 29th this year. I'm not a regular con-goer, and this was Lyn's first SF&F Con, so it was with some satisfaction hat the two of us decided to go to LibertyCon (near Chattanooga in East Ridge, Tennessee) this year. It's a wonderful group to visit with and they treat all the conventioneers like family. If you like the smaller conventions more than huge ones, LibertyCon is the one to go to in the Southeast.
The drive up to the Con was fairly uneventful. From Casa Vila down through Athens, GA, on to Atlanta and around it, then up to the Tennessee state line. Roughly a three hour trip. No hitches, no wrong turns, no traffic delays - just one moderately long drive. The hotel was easy to find, check-in was a breeze, and the room was quite nice. We did have to wait just a little while between our arrival and checking in because the room had just been vacated and wasn't quite ready, but we used the time to wander around and get familiar with the layout of the hotel. Not long after our room was ready, the Con committee was ready to start processing pre-paid memberships. A couple of hours later, the opening ceremonies commenced. Lyn and I were surprized at the number of panel discussions that we both wantd to attend. There weren't that many scheduled at the same time that we had to choose between, so the few we had to pass up weren't too disheartening to miss. The first day set the pattern for the entire Con, actually. We went to two or three panel discussions in a row, took a break to grab some food, found several informal discussions to get in upon, then took in some of the Con's many entertainment sessions.
We didn't avail ourselves of the various room parties, but we didn't miss out because the partygoers were also circulating around throughout the hotel. I met up with some friends I'd made at the last LibertyCon I'd attended, Lyn and I both made some new friends, and a great time was had by all. I managed to get Vincent DiFate to autograph the back of a paperback book cover for which he'd done the artwork, we loaded up with new books at the freebie table, we bought some used books and trinkets in some of the huxter's suites, and we wandered into the Con Suite occasionally to suppliment the food and munchies that we'd had the foresight to take with us. The Hotel served complimentary breakfasts, so except for once when we were invited out to a local Italian resturant for dinner, we wound up not having to blow our budget on foodstuffs.
The pro writers and artists the publishing industry reps we met were a lovely bunch of folks, for the most part. One or two we seemed to catch at a bad time when we met them between panels, but the rest more than made up for any dissappointments that we might have felt.
The guest list included:
Literary Guest of Honor: Jack McDevitt
Artist Guest of Honor: Vincent DiFate
Special Guest: Greg Matloff
Master of Ceremonies: Timothy Zahn
Special 20th Anniversary Guest: David Weber
Other Pros Scheduled to Attend:
Stephen E. Cobb
Eric Flint (Author & Editor)
Walter H. Hunt
Toni Weisskopf (Author & Editor)
Michael Z. Williamson
Les Johnson - Author
Dan Hoyt (Author & Editor)
The Atlanta Radio Theater Company
Weapons Master: Hank Reinhart
The Atlanta Radio Theater Company deserves a special mention, as they put on a great show. I'd never actually seen them before, so I was delighted to finally get a chance to remedy that oversight. They did a wonderful performance of Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies" as well as many other pieces. Outstanding work! After the performance I asked about submitting some of my Mare Inebrium stories to them. That would be almost as good as selling them to a publisher, to my way of thinking. We'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted.
Sadly, I missed seeing Hank Reinhart and Michael Z. Williamson's weapons demo on the last day of the Con. I found myself standing in line to register for a room at next year's LibertyCon. Shortly after I was able to reserve a room, the hotel sold out. In less than two hours, every room in the hotel was booked for next year's Con. If you want to go to LibertyCon 21 next year, resign yourself to staying in the nearby overflow hotel.
Another surprize I had on the last day of the Con was that one of the Con Committee overheard me saying that I wouldn't be able to go to a Con in Montana next year. Bill Warren had asked me to attend in order to be on a panel about small press publishing and e-zines. I was asked if I would like to be on a panel discussing the same subject at next year's LibertyCon. I accepted, and so if things work out you might just get to find out how awful I am at public speaking.
On Monday morning Lyn and I forlornly checked out of the hotel and began to wind our way back home. The trip back was spoiled by a bad wreck on I75 near the Cartersville exit which we had to detour around. The detour was not managed well, which caused us to get a bit lost. Once I figured out that we'd wound up heading for Alabama, we stopped for a road map and some directions. We turned around and took 20 East out of Cartersvile, by-passing Atlanta entirely, and with only a few wrong turns where the road signage was unclear, we finally made it to HWY 316 and the regular route back home.
We decided to spend last night relaxing and leave unpacking our bags for today. We're almost finished with that, at the moment. We'd be done, except that I wanted to get this editorial ready in time to send it out to the staff so that I wouldn't be delaying the new issue.
Libertycon's webpage can be found at http://www.libertycon.org/.
© 2007 Dan L. Hollifield
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