Posted on April 26, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 41 Comments
First, the daughter models the Minicon 46 convention shirt, whilst staring dramatically into the distance. She’s going places, that kid. With my head in a jar to boot! And yes, it was a little… odd to see folks wondering around the convention with my pickled head on their chests. Nice, mind you. But… odd.
Minicon itself, however, was a lovely experience. As I’ve mentioned here a number of times, I was Minicon’s substitute Guest of Honor, filling in for Charlie Stross, who unfortunately had to bow out (and entirely reasonably so) for some personal reasons. I was happy to be the Substitute Charlie for the weekend. It also gave me an excuse to visit Minnesota again, which is a state which has some of my favorite people in it (or has them lurking nearby). And both Krissy and Athena came along, lured by (among other things) the siren call of the Mall of America.
I may have been the Substitute Charlie, but the folks at Minicon — con staff and attendees both — made me feel welcome. The con folks couldn’t have been nicer or more attentive, in particular my liaison Anton Petersen, who procured a sparkly unicorn for my daughter when, upon hearing that the role liaison was to get things a guest requests, whimsically asked for one. That’s dedication for you. The convention goers also seemed happy to have me there, judging by the attendance at the panels.
My panels were also a lot of fun, as was my reading: As I was the Substitute Charlie, during my reading session I read from his upcoming novel Rule 34 (with his permission, of course) and then read from my own upcoming novel — not Fuzzy Nation but the one after that, which presumably will be out in 2012, and then also read the first chunk of “The Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue” in a Shatneresque voice, because if ever there was a story that was demanding to be read in a Shatneresque fashion, it’s that one. A particular highlight for me, however, was the live presentation of my Creation Museum photo slideshow. I wasn’t entirely sure it would work, but as it turns out it did, and people seemed suitably entertained. I’ll be likely repeating it at the SFContario this November, so now you have another reason to head to that convention.
I liked the vibe of Minicon; it’s a small con (I understand it used to be much larger, but then a schism occurred and the larger portion reconstituted itself into another convention) and many of the folks who attend it have been going for years and years, so it’s got a relaxed feel of a gathering of friends, which I suppose is best exemplified by its music circles, in which people bring their guitars (and drums and violins and etc) and then just play along together in a spontaneous and improvised fashion. My fellow guest of honor was Chas Somdahl, who was being honored for his music, both at previous Minicons and elsewhere; it was fabulous to watch him in the music circles and to listen to him and other play.
The only annoying thing to happen wasn’t the fault of the convention: Our rental car’s battery died, just as we were heading to the airport. But even then the invaluable Anton took my family to the airport while I waited for the service folks to give me a jump, showing that Minicon goes the extra mile (or in this case, the extra six and a half miles, that being the distance from the hotel to the airport) for its guests. As I mentioned at the closing ceremonies, I was the Substitute Guest of Honor, but the folks at Minicon made me feel like I was their first choice, and that was a lovely thing to feel. I do hope that Charlie does eventually get a chance to come out to Minicon; if it’s as good to him as it was to me, he’ll have a fine time.
THAT is wicked-cool t-shirt . . . can’t wait to read to Rule 34.
“… and then read from my own upcoming novel — not Fuzzy Nation but the one after that, which presumably will be out in 2012 …”
Oh, fine, taunt those of us who weren’t there. See if we care.
I told you that you should go, man.
I also hear tell that you were presented with a Brainpal Inside t-shirt by a fan.
Indeed I was! And it is AWESOME. The T-shirt is currently in the wash; when it comes out I’ll post a picture.
To heck with how it must be for YOU to see your head floating by on a T-shirt, what must your daughter think? I don’t suppose she knows anything different, that has to warp her world view in strange & interesting ways.
John, it was great to meet you at the minicon (I’m the guy who gave you the bookstore t-shirt). My wife and I had a lot of fun. The reading from your new novel was awesome (what a treat), and the Shatneresque reading was quite funny. The slideshow was very entertaining, and was indeed the highlight of the convention. I hope you don’t mind that I slipped in my reptile joke during the show – it just popped out; and I don’t mind going to hell with you for that. Maybe the Museum folks will make a diorama of all the SF geeks going to hell together – perhaps on a flaming ark along with the dinosaurs.
For those who were not at Minicon 46, you should try to make it to SFContario, if for no other reason than that John is going to (maybe) do the Creation Museum slideshow – it was mocktacular fun! Besides, there are lots of fun things to do at SF cons.
P.S. – The panels were excellent as well.
Your reading was great! I enjoyed hearing the excerpt from the new work.
Thank you for being such a gracious person. I totally geeked out when I saw you turn the corner by the elevator Friday afternoon, pointing to you and saying to my bf “OMG that’s him…that’s John Scalzi!” You smiled and waved, which was very nice. I felt like a fool, but that was my own doing.
The museum slideshow was terrific as well. Many laughs!!
This was my first Minicon (and first convention, ever) and I am already planning for next year.
Anybody have a video of the Shatneresque reading of TSWOTNDBOTDC?
I would pay for an audiobook of TSWOTNDBOTDC:P read in a Shatneresque manner. I would pay even more if you could actually get Shatner to do the reading. I’m dead serious. Can you have your people call his people?
They have the merchandise for Unicorn School&tm;: The Sparkling already?
It’s not surprising that the Minicon people treated you properly-well — you were their Professional Writer Guest of Honor. The fact that you were placed in that category a bit closer to the convention than is usually done would have been immaterial (other than the fact that some of the Staff members might have had to scrabble a bit and keep a closer eye on the clock than they’d otherwise have needed to do).
IIUC, Minicon is still partly(*) a fund-raiser for the Mpls. s-f club — and generally raises an embarrassingly-large amount of money, so it’s not at all unusual for the ConCom to add yet another GoH to the already-long roster, sometimes at the last moment, so they’re accustomed to taking such things in stride.
(*) I harbor an abiding /s/u/s/p/i/c/i/o/n/ belief that the primary reason for practically any Fan Convention in Minnesota is that it’s an excuse to hold A Big Family Party & Reunion. I heartily approve of this.
Yes, that was an awesome convention, and I only wish I would’ve made it back for the Creationism panel. That sounded like it would be hilarious. And here’s hoping that my shirt idea isn’t ripped off and marketed. It makes it even more special that only us will have it, for now. Nice to meet you!
What was your Wife’s and Daughter’s opinion of Mall of America?
@ Endersgrrl – The t-shirts you created were full of win!!
Hey, that’s a copy of Pearls from Peoria just above Athena’s ear. Having written half of the afterword to that book, that just made my day. I see you also have four of the five volumes of the collected Robert Silverberg. I bet you’re missing volume 2 (as am I), that one sold out faster than the others for some reason. I just checked your flickr page to try and get a larger version of this picture so I could scope out your bookcases, pretty much like I do when I go into anyone’s home, but I couldn’t find this picture.
Mall of America is that amorphous blight of commercial confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of Bloomington. One day the stores will be right and the Great Old Ones will ride the light rail to Minneapolis.
Okay… so the young lady has your head in a jar. However, that look on her face makes me wonder what she knows about the rest of your remains? Might they also be parted out to other t-shirts? Would it be possible for someone to collect various pieces? hmmmmmmm………
The head of John Scalzi demands blood…
Goddammit, now my cognitive dissonance axle needs a whole new set of shear pins.
Having seen the head-inna-jar, now I’m having Futurama flashbacks, or maybe Girl Genius.
Those Minnesotans know how to make a fellow welcome, eh.
Yeah, I’d be pretty weirded out by a con full of people with my pickled head in a jar on their chests, too.
I think that sentence parses.
Holy Cow! Now John Scalzi can breath water too? Who knew?
(Nice shirt, the look on your face is classic.) :)
Great slideshow!! …wow, the resemblance of your daughter to you is uncanny…at least when she poses.
Just one question… that is like a pickled head in a jar kinda jar… right? If it is a Donovan’s Brain kinda jar I will be moving to the nearest uninhabited universe.
I have a MiniCon related question. Is David Dyer-Bennett related to Richard Dyer-Bennett?
I’m an aging former folkie from the 50’s and 60’s.
Yeah, I’m with Bearpaw on this one.
A question best asked of David Dyer-Bennett, I think.
I would pay for an audiobook of TSWOTNDBOTDC:P read in a Shatneresque manner.
A little bit. Like up to $5. More if it was the full novel and not just what is written so far.
I would love to see the Creation Museum slideshow at SFContario.
It was great having you at Minicon! I took a bunch of pictures of you during the con, especially the sequence from your interview starting here. (Full public Facebook galleries <a href="http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150169927260138.309161.530260137&l=8db06fa0da"<here and here.)
You are, of course, welcome back at any time. Consider this a superliminal suggestion.
Rick York: DD-B is the nephew of Richard, iirc.
On Minicon’s splintering: More precisely, when a Minicon concom worked to make Minicon more like the Good Old Days, two groups of people whose Good Old Days were much more recent started their own conventions. CONvergence is the larger one, and has spawned the Geek Partnership Society — a club which is apparently rather different from Mnstf. MarsCon is smaller than CONvergence.
Glad you enjoyed Minicon.
Good thing it wasn’t a sparkling PINK unicorn… having a failure of agnosticism while the substitute guest of honor at a Con would be a distraction!
Rick York, DavE Romm is correct; Richard was my uncle (and I grew up on his music, naturally).
Don Fitch, it seems that we make considerably less money as a 450-person convention than we did as a 3500-person convention (i.e. it’s not a goldmine currently). We are currently decently in line with our financial needs, though.
I can’t wait for next year when I’m Fanzine GoH alongside Ted Chiang and Frank Wu!
Everything I’ve heard said this year was a great time, so it can only get better!
Fabulous shirt! You look good in a jar. Oh, wait, is that too creepy to say?
On a serious note, your lovely daughter has fantastic camera presence. Yay!
If anyone else wants their head in a Minicon 46 jar, drop me a line and I’ll hook you up. I made it using Photoshop smart objects, so it’s pretty easy to trade heads.
That is kind of creepy to say.
“Brainpal Inside t-shirt”?
How can I get one?
I’d love to have been there; maybe sometime soon I will be.
(Glad to hear the readings went okay!)
I think I can now explain in public why I wasn’t there: my wife was recovering from abdominal surgery. While the operation was a success (the cancer was encapsulated and hadn’t spread — they’re confident of a complete cure) she wasn’t up to the ten hours in economy class that flying to Minicon would entail, and needed me around to stop her from doing silly things like opening doors, lifting frying pans, or bending over.
I really hope I never have to recycle this “the dog ate my homework” excuse.
Oh my gosh, Charlie. How incredibly stressful and awful. I’m so glad to hear the cancer hadn’t spread; cancer’s never good news, but “we can cure this completely with one surgery” is about as good as it gets.
I was sorry not to get to meet you (but getting to see John was pretty good, too).
Glad to have you! Always nice to discover more good SF (Have now finished “Old Man’s War” and working on “The Ghost Brigades.”)