ConCept. It feels like I was there just yesterday (which I was), and yet it feels like something that happened months ago. This is probably fair considering that when I was there I had simultaneous feelings of it lasting forever and of it going by faster than it should. I haven’t been to many conventions but they’ve all given me the same feeling that they exist somewhat out of time. Probably it’s a combination of having your schedule messed right up, and in some cases having people whose schedules are not just messed up but who have actually changed time zones to be there. It’s easy to be a zombie when you’re surrounded by zombies.
At any rate, this was my second time at ConCept, my fourth convention overall, and the first one at which I was a panelist. I was worried at first, strangely less so towards the convention itself, and fine after my first panel. I don’t consider myself an expert on much of anything, but that’s okay because for the most part these discussion panels feel just like normal discussions. You don’t have to know everything about everything, you just need to know enough to take part and from that point it’s basically just a group of people having a (mostly) friendly discussion. What’s better, at a small convention like ConCept it’s extremely easy for the audience to join in that discussion if they want to. It felt less like being alone in front of a classroom and exactly like showing up at a pub and finding that a bunch of people are already there talking about something that interests you. Another thing which helped was that one of my co-panelists for the first one was Nancy Kilpatrick (the editor of the Evolve Two anthology which contains my short story – Six Underground). For all that she calls herself a grump sometimes, she’s an absolute pleasure to be around.
The convention felt quieter than it was last year. They moved some of the panels to a different floor and added a fan lounge, all of which may have resulted in less of the hallway traffic I remembered. I could be wrong. I just got the impression that the rooms were emptier.
A fun weekend overall, and I’m looking forward to next year’s edition.