Well! I’m home after what has been a … unique … Dragon*Con. You remember all that stuff that happened to Mrs Gneech and me? The pet hotel debacle? The fall on the escalator? There was also a fire at the hotel. What a weekend!
On the other hand, I met some cool new folks, completed my long-worked-on collection of MST3K signatures, got a ton of development work done on the new comic, and took part in a World Record attempt (for largest collection of steampunk costumes in a photo).
As you can probably tell, I spent a lot of time in the steampunk track, where apparently I fit in like the proverbial bug in a rug. Having hitherto not been much involved in the contemporary steampunk scene, I spent most of the time simply going to panels and soaking up what people had to say, but I was pleased to discover that a lot of the people in the fandom have similar opinions to mine in regards to such things as the preponderance of brown, the rather silly nature of goggles on a top hat, and the fact that “steampunk” is kind of a crap term. It was fun to sort of come into it as an outsider (Technomancer’s Toybox and similar things notwithstanding) and still feel like I had something to offer. One of the editors for Kerlak Publishing, when I mentioned that I’d be starting a steampunk(-ish) comic early next year, perked right up and was eager to be in the loop about it.
As for Dragon*Con itself … it’s suffering from growing pains in a major way. The ratio of costumers to non-costumers took a serious nosedive this time around (particularly as many members of the 501st Legion didn’t come this time around, I hear); and there were entirely too many panels that you simply couldn’t get in to see. I’m seriously worried that Dragon*Con will fall prey to the famous Yogi Berra quote, “Nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded.” If I wanted to go to a con where I couldn’t get into any panels, couldn’t navigate the dealer room for the crowd, and couldn’t see any costumes, I’d go to San Diego Comic-Con. There are also way too many non-geeks (who don’t buy badges and don’t support the con) crashing the party. One commenter I heard referred to it being like “Nerdy Gras” — partiers with nothing better to do are coming to get trashed and get free entertainment by looking at the geeks.
The good news is, people are starting to recognize the problem; what steps can reasonably be taken to deal with it, have yet to be seen. Personally, I think we should start a major advertising campaign talking about what a bunch of totally uncool nerds the people at Dragon*Con are and how unless you’re the kind of person who thinks math and historical romances make an interesting combination, you’ll be bored stiff there.
Anyway! I did have a very good time, down to sitting right among the MST3K cast members in the audience of the “Servo vs. Servo” panel and heckling Kevin Murphy and J. Elvis Weinstein with them. Got a lot of work done, met a lot of cool new people, and generally had a ball, so overall I’d say it was a smashing success.