Chattacon XXXVIII - day two report
I drift over to the programming building (the Centennial Center) and wander the hucksters' room, which is more populated now (although a couple of tables will go unclaimed throughout the con). The Larry Smith operation has oodles of new books; there is one person selling "vintage" (i.e., used) books for excessive prices, and a few smaller publishers and self-publishers pushing their own wares, plus artist GoH William Stout selling a tempting array of collections of his own work over the years. Otherwise: dealers in clothing, glassware, jewelry, weapons, steampunk props, and t-shirts, plus one guy (apparently Japanese himself) selling an extensive array of anime- and manga-related stuff. I politely ignore the Dragon*Con booth.
Outsided the dealers room are tables for local cons, the local SCA barony, the AAA(!), and an anthropology undergrad doing a survey about "geek fandom". She explains that her professor said that fandom was about more than science fiction nowadays, so she shouldn't call it "science fiction fandom"; I lecture her about respecting the customs and self-definitions of the culture in which you are doing fieldwork, and tell her the old reservation joke about the basic Native American family unit.
At 1:00 o'clock a guy named Saylor whose first name I never caught gives a slideshow/lecture on the history of SF from Verne to Star Wars. He's earnest, touches a lot of the requisite bases, tries to put developments in cultural context, and is apparently a friend of Bob Madle's, but on the whole I'm definitely not impressed: sorry, friend Saylor. I catch one of the frequent shuttles (a vital necessity at the Choo Choo, which sprawls across a space bigger than some college campuses I've seen) back to the con suite, snack a bit more, and sit to read for a bit. A few folks say howdy, and one of the veteran bartender-DJs comes to my table to ask me if there's anything I want. He knows the answer before I speak; soon the dulcet strains of Frank Zappa and the Mothers fill the hall (they know me here).
At 3 there's the annual Baen Books traveling slide show (speaking of traveling, they're publishing the first novel by Frank Chadwick, the guy who designed the SF roleplaying game Traveler). I leave the room with more books than I came in with; this is a good thing for a book reviewer. There was some discussion, occasionally grumpy, about the whole Jim Hines vs. the Contortionist Art Directors issue of improbably postured people on SF book covers. Afterwards, I go to my room to lighten my load of books, drop off my jacket (which I no longer need since the temperature has soared above 34 F.) and check my e-mail; there might have been a quick nap in there.
Another drift through the dealer's room, where I am mildly tempted by an orange cowboy hat as worn by Portagas D. Ace from One Piece, a show I've never seen. Later, I will post this on Facebook, where my daughter will proclaim "*giggles* (oh dear gods, if you get it you have to wear the rest of the outfit as some point.)" I shall decline the hat and the offer, even though I look so much like this guy. Instead, I go back once more to the consuite.
There is no masquerade this year, but this doesn't stop folks from wearing a variety of colorful garb, from the WW2 re-enactor to a variety of the "two heaps of jelly squeezed onto a shelf" school of bosom enhancement and display. One woman wears a skin-tight pseudo-vintage-WAC outfit that (except for the pink streaks in her blonde hair) could be described as "Sluttina, the Andrews Sister nobody talked about". The "white kids from the Atlanta suburbs wearing the latex and leather fetish gear they bought with the 'rents credit cards" element seems to have passed on from Chattacon to some other venue Mommy and Daddy don't know about; not that such garb did not make an appearance, but there was a lot more of steampunk, pirates, SCA and pseudo-medieval, comic books and media costuming, from the Star Trek: Next Gen bridge crew (including a stunning Counselor Troi) to Jasmine to Drs. Who to Muppets. The fez was a common fashion accessory; I don't know whether Andy Hooper should be jealous or proud. (Ye gods! A Google Image search reminds me that there are fannish whippersnappers who've never seen Hooper in his once-canonical Major Hoople fez!)
There are very few parties: one by a local "party crew" (a fad I deplore; just not my style, and in my opinion not something to be encouraged in fandom), another a book release celebration by a new writer I haven't read yet (I took her card), and the third held by JordanCon 2013, which is hosting the 2013 DeepSouthCon in Roswell, Georgia, outside Atlanta. I will confess I have not gotten around to reading the last few doorstops in the Wheel of Time series; but I remember Jordan when he was just another local minor pro who came to Chattacons, like Karl Edward Wagner or Robert Adams (all now deceased). On the way from one party to another, a younger guy I vaguely recognize stops me to ask a question about the first Chattacon, which I answer to the best of my knowledge; he says that somebody told him I would know the answer if anybody did. He's been coming to Chatta for years, but knew not the name Irv Koch. Somebody else in his posse suggests that Chattacon should add a history section to their website where such tales could be told.
It's getting later, and I shuttle back to the consuite, where I people-watch (some folks have already changed hall costumes) and snack and read, again interrupted by very welcome conversations on everything from the SCA to what I (and they) are reading. (Have you ever tried to explain the Liaden Universe in half-a-dozen sentences, even to an SF fan?) After a while I return to the room, check e-mail and websurf a smidgen (I've been lent Cicatrice's battered old iBook G4, since she's now got a Macbook Air; free Wi-Fi in the room). I think about doing this report, and decide I'm too groggy and achy (I seem to have forgotten to pack my Indomethacin, and my joint pain is not forgiving me for this sin of omission) to do it now.