Whew! (wipes brow) Dragon*Con is over. Talk about a heavy-duty weekend. Now for those of you who've never trekked to Atlanta over Labor Day Weekend and attended the "Mother of All Conventions" -- you're sensible, people. Just kiddin'. I'm sure those who came but didn't pre-reg and stood in the line for 3-1/2 HOURS to buy their bades won't soon forget how big Dragon has become. Or forget to pre-register again.
Dragon*Con's four-day cummulative attendance is usually in the 40K range. That means an average of 10,000 folks per day. Rumors said that it was closer to 20K per day (including guests & vendors) for 2006. Those 20K folks cluster between 3 hotels (Grand Hyatt, Marriott Marquis and Hilton). Usually the Hyatt lobby is a zoo in the evening. Let me give you an analogy -- if you've ever seen photos of the thousands of pilgrims slowing circling the holiest place in Mecca -- that's sorta like Dragon*Con at the Hyatt. Though the reason for the huge population is nowhere as holy, it's the same crush of humans. They swarm up the escalator, around the center tower and then back down another escalator, almost all in some sort of costume. Incredible. That usually happens in the evening. This time it was happening during the day. Which meant getting to one's panels on time involved a bit of creative genius.
Speaking of panels -- did three this year: Two in the SF Literature track and one in the podcasting track. Both of these programming tracks were new this year and they were really good. I got to sit in on a panel with Claire Eddy (Senior Tor editor) and Stephen Eley (editor of Escape Pod) and chat about the Business of Writing. Then I was on a Women in Podcasting panel (hint-- there's a lot of us!) And the final panel was about romance in SF&F and included with such fun folks as MaryJanice Davidson and Rosemary Laurey. We were in a feisty mood by 4 in the afternoon Sunday, so we had the audience howling their heads off.
Reconnecting with friends is always a blast and this year wasn't any different. I did my best to diminish the amount of my spouse's homemade wine selection and my single malt scotch collection. Neither gave me a hangover, but the lack of sleep does add a few years to my face (groan). Mage & I wore our full Victorian outfits Saturday and that was fun. The significant other looks quite tasty in tails, waistcoat and cravat.
Of the whole weekend, one moment stands out even more than all the others. I'm sitting at a dealer's room table and this fellow stops, stares at my book, points and says, "That's it!" Apparently, his wife had been hunting for Sojourn since last August. I verified that "my" Sojourn was the one she was looking for (there are others!) and he promptly bought her a copy. Boy, was he going to win lots of brownie points!!!
So Dragon has come and gone. It was my 9th Dragon*Con as an attendee and my 5th as a guest. As always, it was a combination of overwhelming and thrilling. And now the 'con 'lag' will set in.... need more chocolate...