As I work (slowly) on my review of TeslaCon, I’ve been thinking a lot about what conventions I want to attend next year. 2011 was supposed to be a convention-light year for me, but instead I attended more conventions than I ever have in a single year–topping out at eleven (I think). I provided panels or some kind of reading at nearly all of these.
And there were times when I was frustrated to the point of tears. I do a lot of preparation for cons, whether it’s costuming or panels or readings or what-have-you. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work, and money. Making sure I have a comped badge has, lately, not proved worth the amount of trouble and fuss and stress that I endure trying to earn it, so I’ll probably be buying badges for just about every con.
So next year I have to cut back. I will be removing a few conventions from my schedule. I have to; there’s simply no way I can afford (emotionally, physically, and monetarily) to attend so many conventions again. And those I do attend won’t be getting the “full treatment” of DIY panels and readings and everything else. I also won’t be wearing full steampunk regalia at any conventions that aren’t steampunk-specific.
Here are my thoughts on the individual conventions I want to attend:
DeCONpression (January 13-15): a “relaxacon” right down the street from my home. I will most likely be going, but I will not volunteer to do anything but have a good time. Definitely not a costuming convention.
Millennicon (March 16-18): another small, laid-back convention, but it’s in Cincinnati. Not sure whether I can swing it. This one is a solid “maybe.” If I can get a cheap enough hotel room (ie sharing with lots of friends) and a comped badge for doing readings/panels, it might be worth it. Minimal costuming, probably steamcasual.
Steampunk Empire Symposium (SES) (April 27-29): a new steampunk convention run by a good friend of the Airship Archon. I’ll be attending and maybe doing panels as part of the Archon, but this will be a costume-heavy convention so I’ll be taking it easy. No panels that require preparation.
World Steam Expo (WSE) (May 25-28): a steampunk convention I’ve been dying to attend for two years. Tons of costuming, minimal panels. I really just want to go and enjoy myself.
Origins Game Fair (May 30-June 3): I will do the guest-author thing again if the organizer will have me. This is a local convention and was a lot of fun (and sparked a lot of new friendships) so I am looking forward to it. Haven’t heard anything about it yet though, so I’m a little terrified that maybe I’m off the guest list. Also: head might explode trying to do two conventions back-to-back like this, so come out and see me running around like a mad woman! No costumes, for the love of all that’s good and holy.
GenCon (August 16-19): a gaming convention that also features the Writer’s Symposium. I’d really like to attend GenCon, but it’s two weeks before WorldCon. If I can obtain a badge by working a Alliteration Ink table (assuming there will be one), then I’ll go, but otherwise it’ll be tough to manage two conventions in one month. Fortunately neither would require much dressing fancy. I would love to do panels at GenCon but they’re already pretty crowded. So this one’s a “maybe” right now, depending on how things go.
WorldCon/Chicon (August 30-September 3): one of the premiere SF/F conventions in the world. I’m super-excited about this one. I get to vote in the Hugo awards! Aside from the fancy outfit for the awards, assuming that I get to attend the ceremony (not sure how that works), this will be a pretty casual convention. I might do a few panels if the con requests it, because no one in their right mind turns down the chance to do panels at WorldCon, but otherwise I’m there to learn and network and make friends. And maybe sell a novel. 😛
Context25 (Sept. 28-30): I had a great time at this small, local writing convention this year, so I’m really looking forward to attending again next year. Maybe they’ll even let me do panels. Best of all: it’s blissfully casual.
TeslaCon (November 30- December 2): currently my favorite convention. Immersive steampunk funtimes! Next year we’re going to the moon! Doing panels and such was stressful this year though, on top of all the fancy dress, so in 2012 I think I’ll take it easy, buy my badge, and just focus on having a good time. Maybe. *wink*
Cons I’m dropping from my schedule:
MARCon: I’m not going to go on a long diatribe about why I don’t want to attend this convention. I’m just done with it.
Ohayocon: a fun anime-themed convention, but not really my thing. I have to cut back somewhere. Can’t do it all, kids.
Ba-Con: I don’t eat bacon, but I did enjoy the party and the bellydancing. So I could be convinced to attend. Once again, however, it comes down to only having so much money/time. If I do go, I will be going casual.
Mid-Ohio-Con: it’s a comic book convention, but it’s pricey. I didn’t end up going this year because it was badly timed, and I probably won’t be bothered next year either. I heard it turned into a LineCon anyway, so I’m not missing much.
Dragon*Con: Dropping D*C from my schedule in favor of GenCon was brilliant. In 2012 I’ll be attending WorldCon instead. So maybe it’ll find itself back on the schedule for 2013…maybe. It’s the most stressful con I’ve ever attended, so it would take some convincing. I might be willing to go every few years though.
Just looking at all this is making me feel tired…and excited! 2012 is shaping up to be a really fun (and exhausting) year. I’m looking forward to relaxing December through February and getting breaks during July and October.
So which conventions will you be attending, dear readers?