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Theme Week: SF Cons + You = Perfect Together?

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Wiscon. Readercon. Capclave. These speculative fiction conventions--and the hundreds of others held all over the world--welcome writers and fans of all stripes into hotel conference rooms and lobbies year after year. I've been an attendee of SF cons for years now, ever since I first attended ICON in 2006. I've attended in costume and while donning geeky T-shirts; I've heard speakers like Jeff VanderDeer and Cory Doctorow gab about a plethora of fascinating topics. But I've often been asked why I, as a YA writer, would choose to spend my money and my time on a science fiction convention when there are so many (admittedly worthy) YA conferences I could attend instead.

The answer is, in a word, community.

Geeking it up outside PhilCon 2011
At your typical science fiction convention, there's little stratification between the consumers of great books and those involved in their creation--like writers and editors. In fact, there often is none, because these two supposedly-disparate groups really are one and the same. The most fervent sci-fi consumers are those who write it. Because of this, there's a distinct feeling of fraternity between con attendees. Sci-fi fans don't necessarily go to cons because they want to hear advice on getting a book deal; they go because they're fascinated by science fiction and fantasy and the process of creation behind it.

This is usually reflected in a con's speakers and panels. I've attended panels on topics as diverse as copyright in the digital age and alien life on non-Earthlike planets. While I enjoy talking about craft and the biz, the focus of your average speculative fiction panel tends to be instead on the stuff of life that makes fiction itself so interesting. Each time I attend a con, I come back full of new ideas for books, inspired by the passion of the speculative community around me.

If you're a YA writer focused on genre work--horror, fantasy, or science fiction--or even if you just enjoy reading it, you might give your local SF con a try. It's a great place to meet like-minded geeks, and an even better place to be inspired.
Phoebe North

Phoebe writes stories about aliens for teenagers. She loves both Star Trek and Star Wars and doesn't believe you should ever have to choose. She is the author of Starglass and Starbreak, both from Simon and Schuster.

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7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. OK I accidentally removed my whole other post - whoops! Ugh. So, I was saying, I like your idea about going to conferences that aren't all about getting a book deal. 1.) they're fun 2.) you can meet great people who are also fans of books and everything else 3.) other cons can still enrich you as a writer.

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    1. Yes, exactly Stephsco! That's not to denigrate other conferences--I think they're of great value! But part of being a writer is being a well-rounded passionate person, too. And if you're a SF fan, cons are great ways to immerse yourself in new ideas and get your brain hopping.

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  3. That bag is just awesome on all levels. And loving the Matt Smith attire. I've never been to a convention. It's on my list of events I need to go to.

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    1. Oh you should! There are so many different ones, in a range of prices. It's just mad fun.

      And thanks! Or should I say, "Geranimoooooo!" ;)

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  4. Total agreement with you on the comradery at cons. I've been to anime conventions that are the same. Everyone's just busy geeking out to pay attention rank and status.

    These conventions not only allow geeky bonding but they also just free your mind up for when those ideas come sailing in. I'd recommend them too and I need to find one to go to that I can afford soon!

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  5. Similar situation, I'm going to a comic con this weekend, and the community for my specific fandom is amazing.

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Item Reviewed: Theme Week: SF Cons + You = Perfect Together? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Phoebe North