Gen Con Recap

As promised, here's my Gen Con 2014 after action report.

Over the weekend I joined the Drunken Zombie Podcast in their now traditional excursion to Indianapolis, where they put on a couple of short horror film marathons at Gen Con. Just like last year, I drove. I call my car the Drunken Zombie Mobile Studio because we always record a few segments while in transit. (Look for this year's episode at DZ's site soon.)

Nobody was sure if the trip was going to happen until a week or so before the con. Somehow, we got our personal, work, and money issues under control, but that left us rushing to make travel arrangements at the last minute. The best deal we could get on accommodations was at a hotel twenty-plus minutes away from the con, but it was only fifty bucks a night, so who am I to complain?

Work schedule conflicts meant skipping Thursday to show up on Friday. There was a bit of a mix-up over our badges, but GMHQ sorted it out in time for me to catch a fascinating panel with Dave Wolverton. (If you're like me, you're probably most familiar with his work in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but he's written everything from novels and short stories to screenplays and video games.) Dave taught Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells, and when it comes to writing, nothing but world-altering knowledge bombs come forth from his mouth.

I've been attending conventions of various kinds for fifteen years now and have experienced a diminishing return on fun at most of them starting with the second year. Gen Con bucked that trend--hard. I'd deeply enjoyed seeing pros like Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Scott Lynch last year; and since they and many other writers skipped Gen Con this year (some because of Worldcon), I lowered my expectations for the 2014 Writers' Symposium. I couldn't have been more wrong.

In addition to the venerable David Farland, the literary tag team of Jim Butcher and Larry Correia rocked my weekend like a jug of nitroglycerin launched from a trebuchet. These guys supposedly hadn't met before, but their mutual entertainment-first work ethic and aversion to authority makes me suspect that they're twins separated at birth (yes, that kind).

DZ ended up having a great turnout for their mini film fest, despite a few scheduling snags, and every random congoer I talked to expressed a keen interest in indie horror films. I think it bodes well for the Drunken Zombie International Film Festival in November.

Now that I've recovered from my weekend of dizzying nerdery, I can say that I had as much--if not more--fun at Gen Con this year as I did last year. I got career advice from borderline psychotic authors, the chance to try out some cool games, and best of all: three days of mind-blowing fun with some of my best buds. Clearly, my life can only go downhill from here!

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