Now to try and continue my recollections of the con… More general impressions: I enjoyed the dealer’s room. It had a decent variety of stuff for a small con dealer’s room, and I wished I wasn’t so darn broke. On another random note, ConDFW seems to attract an interesting range of ages; it doesn’t feel as dominated by old-fuddy duddy SF fans who have no desire to converse with young whippersnappers like me, an experience I’ve had at some few cons, nor did there seem to be as sharp a divide between young and old. The presence of so many steampunk fans (more on them later) seem to help bring in a somewhat younger set as well. On the other hand, as I said in my last part, I didn’t get to socialize or network as much as usual so it is possible that these surface impressions were a little shallow.
On to the panels I attended, and the notes I took.
On Friday, I arrived in time for the Lights, Camera, Internet? panel, which by its title I assumed was a panel about alternate media. It was, in a way — specifically, in this case, about the topic of adapting works from one medium to another. It was an interesting panel, though I didn’t write much about it. It was interesting to hear the fan complaints about the Dresden Files tv show, which sounds as if it was turned typically Hollywood, compared to the comic books which have much more direct author oversight. The panelists shared some humorous or perhaps horrifying anecdotes of how ill-treated authors are on movie sets, further reaffirming my belief that if I ever am lucky enough to sell the rights to something I write, I will most likely take a nice fat check and walk away.
J. M. McDermott pointed out that many people believe a work of art belongs only in one medium, the one in which it was first born. Of course, he went on to point out that this is crap, and there are many examples out there of successful adaptations. I first met Joe McDermott at a room party at this past ArmadilloCon (an otherwise largely forgettable con for me) and found him to be an entertaining addition to any panel he was on. I enjoyed chatting with him again at ConDFW Saturday night. The most interesting point in the conversation that I remember was Joe talking about how both books and video games were, in his opinion, uniquely suited to the horror genre because of the intensely personal way they can involve us in the story — he compared the audience in a movie theatre yelling ‘don’t go in the basement’ to the player in a video game who feels as if they must, themselves, open the sinister basement door in order to proceed. I suppose this attitude is suiting, since immediately after the con he completed his move to Georgia to work as a writer on a Super Secret Video Game Project. I hope I run into him again, and also that I can find time to read his novel, Last Dragon.
On Saturday I attended the Trends in Fantasy panel. Honestly I was fairly disappointed with the tone of this panel. First off, there was a ‘trends in urban fantasy panel’ later on that same day, and I would have much preferred if the moderator had kept the bitching about how all fantasy is urban fantasy to that panel. Bitching felt like the tone of the panel and audience in general: urban fantasy is everywhere, it’s all vampires and werewolves, sense of wonder is dead (oh no, not again?), epic simplistic battles between good and evil are dead (somehow this was a bad thing), etc. At least the panel ended on an up note, with the panelists encouraging the audience to investigate modern young adult fantasy, and to return to what attracted them to the genre in the first place to rekindle their interest. Is there really this much bitterness amongst modern fantasy fans or did most of the attendees at this panel just need to broaden their reading?
This is already getting surprisingly long, so it looks like my ConDFW notes will be in at least three parts.