Hurray for RavenCon

Compared to a lot of folks, I haven’t been to that many cons, but by now I’ve been to quite a few of all sizes, plus various similar events ranging from MLA tweedclaves to Romance Writer ginormous gatherings to marginal CritiCons to Book and Meet-the-Author Events of all species, but RavenCon is probably the best run, and considering its size, the most interesting.
Robert J. Sawyer was an outstanding GOH, though unfortunately I couldn’t see half of his events because I was at a competing event. His reading was outstanding, and the panel on social commentary was one of the best I attended.

David B. Coe was also on that panel (we were also on the Sniff-Sniff and Mediocre Characters panels together later), and I consistently found his comments interesting and insightful. Edmund Schubert, who moderated the Sniff-Sniff panel was also quite good on the Mediocre Characters panel, and I heard good reports on his contribution to the workshop track as well. I moderated the late addition Werewolf/Sex panel and it turned into a fun discussion of sex and sexuality in sf and fantasy. The panelists— L. Jagi Lamplighter, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and Pamela Kinney—were terrific, as was the audience.

Valerie Griswold-Ford who moderated the Death panel at 9 am Sunday morning was a moderator extraordinaire. She was reduced to a panel of me and Steve White and then a guy in the audience gets pissy and storms out as Steve was trying to answer one of his questions. She proved unflappable. Maybe a panel on ways of offing people wasn’t a good fit for first thing in the morning—or maybe some people just need more fiber in their diet.

Elizabeth Massie, who for my money “won” the Author Slamfest, did a great job moderating the Mediocre Character panel and serving as the lone woman on the Sniff-Sniff panel. I definitely intend to check out her stories. Her partner Cortney Skinner was my favorite audience member—calm, intelligent, with valuable questions and comments.

As for the Slamfest, it was a fun experiment that needs some sort of revision. It also would’ve helped to have a larger audience to embarrass ourselves in front of. I also enjoyed the work of fellow slammers CJ Henderson and James Maxey. Mike Allen bravely took on moderating duties, not unlike herding cats.

Once again, a large measure of the success of the con was due to Tony Ruggiero‘s outstanding programming and organizational skills. I never got a chance to talk to the guy—he’s always too busy staying on top of things—but he does great work, and I look forward to RavenCon 2008.

A great weekend. Now (sigh) back to work.

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