As I write this, Horrorhound Cincinnati is going on about 5 miles from me. While some greats are there, like Sergio Stivaletti, Tom Di Zarn and Charles band are there, I am not. Why, you ask, would a dork of horror such as yourself miss such an illustrious gathering? Simply put, I spent all my money at Millenicon and I couldn’t be happier.
If you don’t already know, Millenicon is a Speculative Fiction convention run by the Miami Valley Fandom For Literacy(MVFL), a non profit dedicated to promoting the study of science through writing and reading. Even if you aren’t a dork, you have to admit that goal is awesome. Granted, the bulk of the focus in panels and activities are on Science fiction, but there is enough horror on tap to keep a bloodhound like me interested. Besides, it’s always good to expand your horizons.
As a broad statement, I always enjoy that fact that Millenicon draws enough people to be interesting, but doesn’t get so crowded as to be claustrophobic. It’s social and fun, but intimate enough to be comfortable. That intimacy is always the real draw for me, and what has spoiled me compared to other, larger Cons. I get incredibly excited about meeting the creators of the art that shapes my life and I get to actually meet them here. Mike Resnick and Tim Waggoner don’t charge $20 for an autograph and they’ll spend time chatting with me like an actual person. It feels like the gathering of a community instead of another machine designed to strip you of your cash. It feels like home. Also, I always appreciate that they have enough panels on tap to keep me busy, but not so much as to spread the audience too thin.
Speaking of panels, there were some doozies this year. Being a dork, I got really into the Art and Science of Editing (who doesn’t want to know how sausage is made, right?). Janet Harriet and Jason Sizemore (editor and owner of Apex Publishing, respectively), Sarah Hans (author and editor of Sidekicks!) and Tom Huber (author) discussed the different types of editorial jobs, what editors expect when receiving submitted work (hint: read their submission guidelines) and scams to look out for. There was also a highly interesting round table discussion about how to address the lack of diversity at Sci-Fi and fanish cons where some honest to goodness plans took root. I had a blast talking about the need for horror as a genre, defending gore and violence like a knight covered in spleen and other fleshy bits and arguing for being a nit-picking bastard of a reviewer as a panelist. However, the most bizarre and entertaining portion was a small gathering of absolutely filthy minded, mostly female, individuals talking about inserting all manner of limb and implement into a wide variety of orifices during the Slashfic Madlibs panel.
But everybody knows the real fun comes at night, after the booths and panels have closed down and all us crazy people retreat to the rooms. I spent a while hanging out with members of a Sci-Fi society from Columbus, chatting about everything we could think of, except science fiction. They were good people. Then I traveled over to the Sidekicks! release party where Steven Saus (owner of Aliteration Ink) and Sarah Hans (editor of the anthology) hosted far too many people crammed into far too small of a room, talking way too loud and drinking too much beer and liquor. In other words: fun was had into the wee hours of the night. Also, I had the opportunity to introduce these ingrates to the wonders of Grippos BBQ chips in the big ass box.
End quote: Millenicon is about the people and the community and the art we all love, not the dealer’s floor. Even if I did buy enough books to keep my ass busy for a good long while.
Favorite quotes of the weekend:
“The Victorians were REALLY high.” –Sarah Hans, author and editor
“Aristotle was an idiot!” –Jay Thomas, high school chemistry and physics teacher
“Amazon reviewers are twits and losers.”- David Drake, author