Stellarcon turned out pretty good this year, though it started off slowly on Friday evening, with a non-existent audience for what I thought might be an intriguing panel—"Zines: All the Reasons NOT To, and Why You'll Do It Anyway." Now I can only imagine how many misguided souls are going to go off half-cocked to start a magazine, when—if they had bothered to come to the panel—they could go off cocked, locked, and thoroughly fucked up.
Saturday began with one of Allen Wold's writing workshops, in which the participants write the hook to a short story in a hundred words or less. Overall, not bad stuff this year, though the workshop was situated not in one of the usual conference rooms but in a suite on the second floor—which meant we panelists had the privilege of running the workshop while standing or leaning against the wall instead of sitting in plush leather chairs. Thanks a million.
The rest of the panels I was on were well attended. The "Kaiju" panel, moderated by former Stellarcon organizer and major Godzilla fan Bill Mann, was a hoot and could have gone on for several hours. My booksigning turned out to be a good one; in fact, I ended up signing quite a few autographs over the course of the weekend. Not sure what's up with that. (Maybe my work attracts masochists?)
Finally, my deepest apologies to those who came to my reading last night only to find the author a no-show. He was stuck at a dinner event that stretched out far longer than anticipated, with no wheels of his own to get him back to the hotel. I trust no one was so broken-hearted that they will stop buying my books forever, or turn into Klingons, or something similarly radical. It would not have been an entertaining experience anyway; after such a severe and prolonged bout with bronchitis, my voice was actually beginning to fail by 8:00 PM last night.
All things considered, Stellarcon has outgrown the High Point Radisson, and I wish the organizers would bring it back to the downtown Greensboro Marriott. I realize it's more expensive, but the High Point hotel is hopelessly inadequate, with its two feeble elevators (sometimes necessitating a wait of fifteen minutes or more just to go up or down a single floor), no stairs available from the first floor, the slowest restaurant service in the southeast, inadequate parking facilities, and no other eating/drinking establishments of any worth within reasonable walking distance. I cannot imagine that there aren't better alternatives to this pain-in-the-ass location for a con.
Today, I went out and about geocaching in Martinsville. Found two nice ones and hid my first cache, in a neat location just outside of town; it should be listed on the geocaching site within the next few days. I've found just about all the Martinsville caches now (there are a couple of others I'll get to soon). There are only several hundred in Greensboro, though, so I doubt I will exhaust them anytime soon.
There were two in close proximity to the hotel in High Point, but as it rained the whole time, I didn't go out looking for them.