Sunday, July 15, 2018

Westercon/Malcon Amalgam Revue 2018

As Promised, A MALcon/Westercon Revue!

Over the 4th of July weekend, I attended MALcon 6, which partnered with Westercon 70 this year. Let's just say it was interesting.

 There are few venues with better staff. The Shiny Garden folks went to bat for us at every turn. Whether they were haggling with the hotel. walking the vendor floor to see who needed food ordered or water brought, or checking in with panellists, they did an amazing job on everything.Welllll...almost everything. They could have done a better job getting the word on the con's new date out. The attendance was underwhelming in the extreme. There were a number of musing conversations on the topic, and here were the general thoughts on the cause:
*MAL is usually in August, and a number of usual attendees may be blinking in bewildered dismay come next month.
*The college crowd is out of town, and they make up much of the usual attendance.
*Westercon isn't everyone's cup of tea
*People don't go to cons on the 4th of July, they go camping
*It was a weird start time in the middle of a weird week

Whatever the cause, if you went there for the crowds you were disappointed. But if you were there for the networking, it was a lovely event. Authors and artists, game creators and geeks of all stripes attended and enjoyed. Whether you wanted high tea on the 12th floor Steampunk Dirigible or a good game session in the games room, there was something for everyone.
One of Shiny Garden Events' greatest strengths is in their balancing of fun and responsible fiction, and this year was no exception. With panels like So Charming, Not Creepy and Artists & Moral Responsibility, the panels kept us on our toes in the ethical department, while panels like Weird Astronomy kept us laughing and building Blanket Forts was pure delight. The con is particularly marketed as a literary one, so panels like The Second Digital Age, Understanding Amazon, Marketing 101 and Characters are a Who, Not A What were fascinating and useful for indie authors. I myself was on a few panels: Overcoming Creative Fears (you never really leave them behind, you just tame them, and that's okay) and Religion in Fiction Outside the Western World were my particular favorites. I was able to sit with the lovely Stant Litore, writer of powerful Islamic spacefaring tales, and Amalie Howard , young adult and historical romance author, to discuss tales with our audience. In said panel, we did put together a Reading Outside the Western World list of books and comics. Need something to read? Click here for some ideas!
I did a little more vending this year...and maaaybe spent a little too much cash on lovely stuff...maaaybe... here's a sample of the lovelies on offer.
My non-comic work on the right and Nonir with their work through Wandering Jotun on the left.
Wandering Jotun is a place for all geeky pagans, go check it out! 

The fun and fast-paced work of Travis Heermann

The rocking Veronica Callisto selling her books, Starfish And Coffee and Diary of A Mad Black Witch

A sample of Ian Healy's wonderful writing. 

The lovely offerings of Revive Gifts

The Kimberlys, also known as Kimberly Kennedy and Kimberly Keane. Get ready for fun with these literate ladies, their books rock.

Dylan Edwards with some of his kickass queer-positive comics.

More queer friendly stuff with Out In Colorado

The con may have been smaller than expected, but it was well worth the time. Here's to even more fun and more conversations next year!

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