After a couple of years of pandemic CoKoCon was live, in-person again. Emily has a nasty cough courtesy of the extra-wet climate change monsoon, so I had to go all by myself. It felt strange. Would there be anything of old-school, “traditional” fandom left?
The launch of Artemis 1 was scrubbed that morning. I hoped the rest of the weekend would be better. I wasn’t sure if it would be. There was apocalyptic weather all over the world, floods, droughts, heat waves. Here in the Metro Phoenix Area we were having an Excessive Heat Warning.
Meanwhile, fans were also gathering in Chicago for WorldCon and Atlanta for DragonCon. Bigger events. More like the modern conventions. I put links to my books on Facebook and Twitter, for coventioneers checking in there.
I put one of my bandanas in my pocket before I left. Good thing. Masks were required to enter the convention center. I was asked for my vaccination card, for the first time since I got it.
Covid ain’t over yet, kids.
The Native-style Wild West in the lobby was the only decor. We could have been in an orbital space colony.
A friend, who was wearing a kilt as usual, had a couple of my books for me to autograph, others said hi, recognizing me despite my bandido guise.
Without Emily, there was only one other panelist, Diana Terrill Clark, to talk about “Soundtrack for Your Writing.” We had a small but lively audience, and we all had fun. It’s what happens when science fiction is the common ground for diverse interests.
After, two old friends, a mad scientist and his forensic DNA analysit wife (both now retired) took me to dinner. This is what I miss about old-school fandom, relating to people, a human, if weird, community, opposed to consumers gathered to worship corporate product.
The next morning Emily felt up to going to the JL Patisserie where we had our usual quiche and coffee, but she wanted to go home after she started coughing. On the drive back home, I had ideas for sequels to the novel I just finished.
I remembered to take along El Porvenir, !Ya! and Speculative Fiction for Dreamers, but forgot my sketchbook. My convention-legs are gone . . .
My first panel was “State of the Industry” with Jenn Czep and Adam Gaffen. I commented on my surprise at the title, that somehow, after all these years this has actually become an industry, then laid down some ancient sci-fi wisdom. There was a lot of talk of riding indies and falling biggies. The small presses, hooked up with the interwebs are thriving, finding new markets. If I can’t get a big time deal for my new novel, I’m sure to find it a home, and readers.
It would be nice to make enough money to retire soon, though.
I had a signing. I was supposed to be doing it with Emily, but without her and no sketchbook, I had to get creative. Luckily, Tezcatlipoca inspired me to gather up some blank-backed flyers. I took a selfie with the books, drew a self-portrait, and an old-timer with a walker talked to me and wrote down where to order my books.
Bruce Davis was the only other panelist for ‘Writing Near Future Science Fiction’ We rambled around the subject. Covid seems to be the latest Great Leap Forward for societal mutation. We got into intercultural interactions, and creativity as a survival tool. People came up afterward and asked about the books I had brought.
In all, it was a pleasant, goofy, human-scale event. Us old-timers are still around, but dwindling away, and attendance is rather skimpy. I hope this kind of convention keeps happening. The younger generations need our bad influence.
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