Chatanooga, TN - July 9-11, 2010
By Dan L. Hollifield
Here is a quote from Uncle Timmy that gives a very short breakdown of the guest list and whatnot:
From: Tim Bolgeo
Subject: The July 14 2010, Edition of THE REVENGE OF HUMP DAY!
Well, I survived another LibertyCon and had a great time! Last weekend, LibertyCon 23 was held at the Comfort Inn and Suites and we had around 450 fans and pros who attended the festivities. Terry Brooks, Darrell K. Sweet, Les Johnson, Sarah & Dan Hoyt and Eric Flint rounded out our stellar lineup of featured guests. But we had a myriad of other stars that came to help us celebrate. Writing stars like Dr. Ben Bova, James Correia, Charles Gannon, Stephanie Osborn, John Ringo, and Michael Z. Williams just to drop a few names. And that is not all by a long shot.
I am not going to try to give you a con report because I am decidedly prejudiced when it comes to LibertyCon and I will leave that reporting to others. But I will say this, I am blessed with one of the most dedicated and best staffs in the world and that is one of the things that help me keep going all these years. Thanks to all of you who helped out this year. What else can I say except that, “YOU ARE ALL SIMPLY MARVELOUS!”
At the bitch session, I told everybody what few things I saw that were or that could be improved and I found out that I was the most critical person in the room. Apparently everyone had a great time and almost 100 fans preregistered again for next year and the hotel was already sold out again in hours. I’ll take that as a win.
So, on that HAPPY note why don’t y’all sit back and relax because here comes the best in gossip, jokes and science for your reading pleasure!
After that, there followed the regular weekly newsletter from
the good folks at LibertyCon. That's always a nice bit of reading,
featuring jokes, science news, reader contributions, announcements, and
quotes from a list of upcoming convention schedules. But in the above
quote you also get a taste of Uncle Timmy being himself, as well as a
hint of what the folks who run LibertyCon are like in real life. Going
to LibertyCon is like going to a huge family reunion. There are so many
good friends and great storytellers wondering about. If you have yet to
be able to attend this most excellent of conventions, I believe you'd
find it rewarding to do so. There is an overflow hotel within easy
walking distance of the convention hotel that will still have rooms. If
you're interested, go over the the LibertyCon Homepage
and look around. In their Registrations section, you'll see an e-mail
address for Brandy
Spraker who is the lady to contact about room and con
registrations. You can also follow the LibertyCon
Facebook Page for announcements and updates year round.
The fine folks at LibertyCon have a way of making everyone
attending feel at home, relaxed, and wanting to come back time and time
again. I can swear to that from personal experience! Ben Bova came back
for his second year at LibertyCon because he had so much fun there last
year. As a matter of fact, most of the guest list Uncle Timmy recounted
are regular attendees. Every chance they get, they come back to
LibertyCon. As a rule, any pro writer or artist that you meet at
LibertyCon will turn out to be very approachable, as well as willing to
spend time in conversation with fans. In the panel discussions, you'll
get to hear all sorts of stories and learn little details of what these
people who write the books we love are really like when they're at
home. Conversations can strike up anywhere; in the hallways, at the
hotel pool, at room parties, in the dealers rooms, in the Con Suite.
Everywhere you turn, you'll find folks having fun. Readers, writers,
artists, scientists, huxters- everyone just roaming around and acting
like one big happy family. It's nothing out of the ordinary to walk up
and join in a conversation with a favorite pro writer. Topics will
range from details of upcoming projects, to tidbits of cutting edge
science, to where they go to research background info for upcoming
novels, to just about anything under the sun. John Ringo related a
story about a room party at another convention when Doc Travis got into
an argument with another physicist about String Theory. Imagine two
opposing groups of physics geeks squaring off like a bunch of
inner-city gang-bangers getting ready to rumble! We were all doubled
over with laughter before he'd gotten very far in the tale. Michael Z.
Williamson told one about a recent trip to a target range and the owner
requesting them to stop using one particular big gun in Mad Mike's
collection, because it was destroying the range's backstop with it's
insane firepower. Terry Brooks and Ben Bova were wandering around
together, enjoying being able to catch up on their long-standing
friendship. Terry Broooks generated loads of laughter in one instance
by giving permission to the artist who had designed the convention
badges to be his official stand-in for signing autographs during one
evening. Somewhere, there are people who have a Terry Brooks novel
autographed by both Terry Brooks and Fritz Ling, both signed as "Terry
Brooks." Here's how that came about- Fritz has been a long-time fan of
Terry Brooks. When Fritz designed the badge for LibertyCon 23, he was
inspired by Terry's books. When the two of them met at the Can, Fritz
told Terry that the badges were dedicated to Terry's work. They wound
up autographing each other's badges. Terry then went on to say that he
was going to be absent from the Con overnight and since Fritz was now
wearing a badge with Terry's signature on it he was going to designate
Fritz as his Official Stand-in for the rest of the evening. Terry
instructed Fritz that if anyone noticed the "Terry Brooks" signature on
the badge and asked Fritz to autograph one of Terry's books, Fritz was
to sign Terry's name and explain to the fan that they were to seek out
the real Terry Brooks the following day for a personal autograph
session. So those books wound up with autographs by both Terry and his
stand-in, Fritz. As fandom is very fond of in-jokes, those
double-signed books ought to be worth more than usual at any auction in
the future. Lots of laughter resulted from the whole situation.
The panel discussions at the Con were amazing. I remember one
in particular wherein the writers were there to explain the reasons why
different characters in their books were killed off, and the literary
necessity of doing so. We learned the concept of likening characters to
investments, and the need to liquidate these investments for dramatic
reasons. Each writer had differing thoughts on the matter. Each
supported their reasons with specific examples from their work and
explained just why those character had to die in order to advance the
plot as well as earn emotional reactions from the readers. I loved the
contrast between the reasoning of the different writers on the panel.
Each looked at the same literary device from a slightly different
perspective, yet all agreed that sacrificing various characters was
absolutely necessary. The more developed the character, the more the
readers were affected by that characters death. Also detailed was the
difference between cannon-fodder, background characters, minor
characters and major characters as far as how the deaths of each have
different levels of impact on the readers. Everyone involved came away
from that panel having learned something more about the craft of
writing- And that was just one panel! Every hour of the day heralded
two, or sometimes three, different panels going on at the same time.
Of course, there were the usual Room Parties on Friday and
Saturday nights. Adult beverages did flow, and good times were had by
all. These led to even more conversations between the pros and the Con
attendees. Subjects ranged from the mundane to the fantastic. The only
drawback was having to walk away from one conversation to join another
nearby. So many people to talk with, so many stories to hear, getting
to know writers and their fans so much better- everything one could ask
for in a great party, and more. Everywhere there were friendly faces
and wide-ranging topics of conversation.
Of course, the Con has much more to offer besides lessons in
writing and parties to attend. There was the usual autograph session
with the pro writers and artists, the annual art auction for charity,
panels on movies, panels on science, filk music, an outdoor
demonstration of historical weapons of different eras put on by the
good folks at Museum Replicas/Atlanta Cutlery, the Ice Cream Social, a
panel on making Steampunk props and weapons for costumes, and more.
Once again, James Ward put on his puppet show for the kids attending.
They sat spell-bound as he performed. Darrel Osbourne was there again
making incredible balloon animals and sculptures. There were several
Huxter's Rooms open selling used books, genre collectibles, jewelry,
swords and knives, clothing, buttons and bumper stickers, carved and
natural wooden walking staffs and wands, The Atlanta Radio Theater
Company gave another astounding performance of various classic
SF&F stories adapted into audio-plays, the Con Suite was
overflowing with excellent food and drink every single day, and the
after-the-Con Dead Dog party on Sunday evening once again gave those of
us who prefer to extend our stay beyond the regular closing of the Con
a wonderful last chance to talk with the Con staff and guests.
To sum up, LibertyCon is always a treat to attend. So much to
do, so much to see, so many wonderful people to meet and talk with, and
so much fun to be had. There are still memberships to be had, and even
though the main hotel is once again sold out he overflow hotel is
within easy walking distance and still has plenty of rooms available.
You owe it to yourself to come next year and see what all the
excitement is about. If you do, you'll probably accuse me of
understating just how much fun can be had at LibertyCon.
I hope to see you there next year!
© 2010 Daniel L. Hollifield
Dan Hollifield is the senior editor and publisher of Aphelion Webzine
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