By Sunday, anyone who has done Radcon right is running on fumes. Mostly coffee fumes. Had to be at the con by 9 AM, as John wanted to hit a panel. I practiced the fine art of loafing around for an hour, but also hunted down the con registration wizard to pay her some homage. Fair is fair. She has truly stepped up and fixed the very worst thing about Radcon (and it never had many bad aspects to begin with), making it a far better con. Registration is now a Radcon strength.
First panel for me was at 10 AM, on collaboration with other writers. What the panel could not know was that John and I had done some intensive writing collaboration some fifteen years back. We were both present. It didn’t continue, but did not harm our friendship at all, nor did it rule out future collaboration. We had simply never gotten around to discussing why it petered out, though I had my guesses. Well, I decided to test those guesses. So I asked: “Suppose I once did some collaboration with a writing partner, and it faded out. I’m pretty sure that part of the reason was that he’s a good guy, and some of my stuff was sophomoric and useless, and some of it just sucked, and he was too good-hearted to tell me. Is that often a reason a collaboration could fail?”
John’s head swiveled like a turret and his eyes got big with that ‘why, you crazy fucker!’ look and smile, but he reacts well on the fly, and he curtailed any other response to avoid tipping the panelists off. Panelist: “That collaboration’s doomed. Never work.” I nodded thoughtfully, sagely. They actually had a point. We would have been better collaborators had we been more candid. The discussion proceeded, and near the end, I asked: “Suppose someone were actually in the panel with a past partner in a faltered collaboration, and begin to ask about reasons it went south. Would that be a dirty trick?”
“That would be a coward’s act,” said one panelist.
“I’d say that person was a real ass,” said another.
I could see John staying on the down low, manfully suppressing his desire to bust out into laughter. I actually don’t think the panel caught on, which is even funnier. I’m not sure how I held back. There was a reason I saved that for the end.
Next panel was on the best writing advice they had ever been given. “Nothing sells in a drawer.” “Keep writing.” All of it was good. I wanted to add a ton, and would have loved being on that panel, but they did well. My own best writing advice came from the redoubtable C.J. Cherryh, a class act: “Never follow any rule off a cliff.” A well-focused panel. Final panel, on scams writers should beware, was also good albeit a bit wandering and rambly, understandable at noon on Sunday of Radcon. Afterward, I had the great fortune to run into S.A. Bolich, a fantasy author from Spokane and one of the nicest you could hope to meet. We said our farewells in the dealer room and elsewhere. I didn’t run into Sharon on Sunday, but it was so great to see her and meet her current pair of first-time con-goers.
All in all it was a great Radcon, even if there weren’t as many panels that really drew my interest. They are getting new blood in the leadership and moving stuff in good directions, except for the room party situation, which I do understand is somewhat out of the hands of the leadership since it relates to liquor laws, enforcement and the hotel management. One gratifying moment came when visiting with a coffee barista, who said that of all the conventions and such that lodge at the Pasco Red Lion, Radcon’s crop of 2000+ certified weirdos treat the hotel staff with more friendliness and courtesy than just about any other group.
Think on that a minute. Rather than urbane executives, elegant real estate agents, streetwise police detectives, class reunion-goers and anyone else, the hotel staff is happier dealing with a bunch of people dressed up as Klingons, Victorian grandes dames, zombies, vampires, pirates, belly dancers, elves, Imperial stormtroopers, anthropomorphic furries, Spock, and gods know what else, than with completely conventional and evidently well-adjusted people.
Kind of amusing when one thinks about the socially dysfunctional geekage reputation, eh?
See you in February 2013.