Dragon Con 2017: Moving Closer

I just remembered I have a blog.

I’m terrible at this.

But since I’ve been examining editorial comments all day I thought it might be a good idea to take a break and reflect on my most recent adventure: my work trip to Dragon Con 2017. Now, I’m terribly fortunate. I work for Baen Publishing, and as such get to travel to these SF/F conventions for free (unless one counts the cost of buying Mega Man X from the retro-gaming vendor, which one should not do). This is going to be a beautiful thing here starting in a minute, given that next year Empire of Silence will be in stores, as well as my anthology, Star Destroyers (co-edited with Tony Daniel), which features stories from Baen mainstays like Michael Z. Williamson, Jody Lynn Nye, and the great David Drake.

But I’m a bit of a hobbit and generally disinclined to look forward to adventures. I spent the week before the trip (and the car ride down, if I’m being honest) dreading the whole affair. I have been know to dread family vacations to the Caribbean, too–I just don’t like my ordinary schedule being disrupted. And besides, there’s markedly less to be excited about at conventions when one has booth duty and a weekend filled with carting promo material all over downtown Atlanta’s choked sidewalks in the summer heat. I’m not exactly getting photos with Nathan Fillion and attending cool panels.

I’ve decided I prefer it that way. There’s almost nothing I’m enough of a fan of that I want to queue up for 2 hours to see. A Firefly panel is not a new episode, and so on. On the other hand, folks like Kevin J. Anderson and Timothy Zahn, whose books my father read to me when I was a boy, now recognize me on sight; I got to hang out at the bar with the likes of Myke Cole and C. Robert Cargill (albeit briefly); and I was introduced to Carlos Ferro, the man who voiced Leonardo da Vinci in Assassin’s Creed II. Besides that, I was welcomed into the Baen Barfly party with open arms, treated to Scotch too rich for my blood, and allowed into the Armory’s invitation-only exhibition, where I got to brandish weapons at Dave Butler and explain Roman Legionnary tactics to a small audience. It turns out I do know some things.

Now, being trapped at a booth and forced to endure a 20 minute narrative from a random fan about the ins and outs of his D&D build may not be my favorite thing, but hanging out with the likes of Mike Williamson, Charles E. Gannon, Jody Lynn Nye (if only for 5 minutes or so! We’ll have to talk next time, for sure!), Eric Flint, Kacey Ezell, Griffin Barber, Alistair Kimble, LJ Hachmeister, David Afsharirad, and the aforementioned Dave Butler, Myke Cole, and the rest…that’s something else entirely (I hope all those who I have not here listed may forgive me). These are people for whom science fiction and fantasy are a profession, not a religion, and it’s with people like them I can have those rare conversations that regard the genres as a medium for art and not as sacred relics. It’s a marvelous and humbling thing to be taken seriously by such people, and to have been welcomed into that community, however humble my achievements.

I do not think I’ll be dreading the next Dragon Con. I think I’m in this for the long haul now.

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