Home again, home again from my 22nd consecutive GenCon, and recovered enough to file this report. ;)
As usual, GenCon was an absolute blast. Getting to see old friends, make new friends, discuss upcoming projects, and talk with the fans is not only a helluva lot of fun, it’s really energizing for me. I always come home eager to get to work on new projects.
My trip didn’t start so auspiciously. I meant to split the drive into two days, but realized a couple hours into it that I’d made my hotel reservation for the 28th — and if I didn’t get to Indy by the end of the day, I’d lose my room! That, coupled with a missed exit due to roadwork, made for a very long trip. But I got there in time to have dinner with Jason and Tina Walters, which made it all worthwhile. (I did split the trip home, which worked wonderfully. Definitely doing that again next year.)
Wednesday was miserable due to a 103 degree heat index. Just walking from one hotel to the next was enough to overheat you. Ducking into the un-air conditioned exhibit hall to take something to Jason left me dripping in sweat. Fortunately, the Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund board meeting was at Patachou, where the air conditioning was working well. Even better, for the rest of the weekend the temperatures dipped down to the low 80s with a nice breeze. It was so pleasant I ate lunch outside twice, something I rarely do.
The four days of the convention are sort of a blur of meetings, seminars, events, and excellent conversations. My friend Rich Howard and I discovered a cool lunch spot I think most con attendees aren’t aware of. (No, I’m not telling you about it. ;) ) I joined Ron Edwards at Peter Adkison’s kickoff dinner for his Chaldea project, which I’m defintely eager to learn more about in the near future. (Jonathan Tweet even ran me through an associated mini-RPG session related to it, in which I convinced a stableboy to poison my rival’s fighting lion.) Ron and I rarely seem to get more than ten minutes to talk, so having two or three hours of mostly uninterrupted conversation was a real treat. I met many of the other authors with whom I share the contents page of the just-released World Of Shadows anthology for Shadowrun, which was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to read their stories! Hopefully mine matches the quality I know theirs will have. ;) And as always, my traditional Sunday morning breakfast with Jim Lowder was both fun and informative; few people know the genre fiction biz as well as Jim.
I did numerous seminars for the Writer’s Symposium, which was once again marvelously organized by the hard-working Marc Tassin. They all went really well and were also both fun and a learning experience for me — the audiences asked great questions! The highlight was a humorous debate I had with Pat Rothfuss about whether the character Ozymandias in The Watchman accomplished anything meaningful.
As usual I particularly enjoyed the worldbuilding panels. Next year I’m hoping to run my Worldbuilding Workshop again, either in the same (but hopefully lengthier) format, or with some sort of tweak that I haven’t thought of yet. Ideally this will motivate me to finish my Worldbuilding Guidebook.
On the work front, I had the chance to talk with a couple of companies about upcoming projects that I’d love to be a part of. I need to do a little research and pondering so I can get back to them with some proposals and ideas. Between that, the Worldbuilding Guidebook, various people egging me on to finish my “indie” RPG Polis, Mythic Hero, and other ideas churning around in my fevered little brain, it looks like 2016 could become a pretty busy year.
Naturally, I did a good bit of shopping (though a lot of it was presents for friends). I picked up a bunch of Cthulhu Britannica books from Cubicle 7, some Shadowrun supplements from Catalyst, some Doc Savage paperbacks from Half Price Books, a bunch of mythology and academic books from McFarland, and plenty of other cool things. Ohhh, my aching wallet....
My only serious complaint about the show was the heat. The convention center seems to have decided to save money by turning up the air conditioning to the point where just walking down a corridor could make you sweat. The dealer’s room, particularly when filled with customers, was on the verge of sweltering. I get that the ICC’s electricity bill is huge, but the level of discomfort they inflicted on paying customers was inexcusable. The AC needs to be turned down at least 10 degrees, and frankly I wouldn’t mind 15-20. I hope GenCon does something about this for next year. It can’t do much to solve the rooming problem, but it can damn sure make certain the people paying to attend the con aren’t dripping sweat the entire time.
But that one problem aside, it was a fantastic four days. I’m already looking forward to next year’s con. ;)