The Pros and Cons of Cons

Illustration for article titled The Pros and Cons of Cons

Cons can be some of the most fun, exciting events on the planet. They can also be disappointing, awkward, or even outright depressing. They can be a place to find cool stuff, meet with like-minded people, and celebrate your fandoms — or they can reveal nerds at their most awkward, companies at their most mercenary, and the dark side of fandoms in general. And they can do all these things simultaneously. So my question is: Which of these is most true for you?

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For the first time in seven years, I'm not attending San Diego Comic Con. I can't tell you what a blessed relief this is to me. I don't have to fight the crowds, wait in lines, fail to get exclusive toys, be disappointed at the lack of cool booths... but I recognize that this is partially because I've been so much (and am exceedingly old and bitter). Surely there are some of you guys who have never gone but are dying to go, or went for the first time last year and had a blast, right?

And that's just SDCC. I've been to cons where I went away cheering for my fellow nerds, and I've been to cons where at the end I wanted to go home and throw away all my comics and anime DVDs and toys and do nothing but read newspapers and watch professional sports for the rest of my life.

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So what do cons mean for you? Do you think they're good or bad experiences, generally? Are they getting better or worse, and do you think there's some kind of pattern here? Let me know in the comments!

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DISCUSSION

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Chip Overclock®

I get this. Mrs. O and I have attended the Denver Comic Con twice, and it was so crowded this last time that I'm not sure we'll go back.

Mrs. O and I met in fandom, in an SF club when we were both undergraduates. The rest is, as we might say after nearly thirty years of marriage, history. It is a rare year that we don't attend the World Science Fiction Convention. It is our typical Big Vacation and has been our excuse to travel all over the world.

I'm dimly aware of some of the dark underbelly of genre conventions. I have a female friend or two that have been victims of terrible behavior, and on behalf of fans everywhere I regret this kind of thing. There's no excuse for it.

But for the most part, the WorldCon is nothing but a positive experience for me. Mrs. O and I have a large group of friends from all over North America and even Europe, some of whom we think of as more of an extended family, that attend nearly every year, and with whom we hang out. How I got to be so lucky to have such a fun, smart, well behaved, funny, polite, and most of all, damned interesting, group of friends is beyond me. But fandom has been very very good to me.

If any of y'all are going to be at Lone Star Con 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in San Antonio Texas, from August 29th to September 2, you will find Mrs. O and myself there. I'll be (as I've been described) the "big scary looking guy" wearing my Chip Overclock ID badge. I'm not really that scary. Introduce yourself. I'll be glad you did.