A Dragon*Con Report

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Welcome from Atlanta.Amazingly, our trip down from Connecticut was incredibly ordinary. No traffic to the airport, flight on time, MARTA to downtown was smooth, etc.One nice touch, an old college buddy, Dave Klarman, works in the area and met us downtown to escort us to the hotel and to say hi since we couldn’t get together over the weekend. The hotel check in was quick and getting out badges took all of 15 minutes.Deb and I were then collected by our cousin Giovanni, who drove us out into the suburbs for the night. There’s a branch of my family down there and we were invited for dinner. Many members of the extended clan were there and we got to tour their mammoth and spacious new home. Giovanni is an amazing cook and overstuffed us with seafood salad appetizers followed by a filling seafood pasta.This morning Deb and I reviewed the schedule and tried to figure out what we were doing today, together and apart. You see, for those unaware, Dragon*Con is spread across four hotels in downtown Atlanta so you need to carefully time where to be and when. Somewhere between and 35 and 50,000 people will be crowding the streets (and elevators) as we go from panel to performance to exhibit halls.We were suitably impressed by the vast number of programming tracks for all subjects great and small. What was nice was how each track had dedicated room spaces allowing track leaders to decorate and take ownership of the space, making it inviting for panelists and audience alike.My first panel of the day was a Trek Authors cavalcade and I was warmly welcomed by Eric, the track leader, who recalls meeting me back in 1986 and made me instantly feel a part of the proceedings. I shared the table with Keith DeCandido, Peter David, and Alan Dean Foster, so it was a veteran bunch, Without a moderator we babbled for a while then took questions, babbled some more and suddenly the hour was over.I then had a lovely catch-up lunch with former DC pal Laurie Sutton and author Lynn Abbey (whom I haven’t seen in far too long). From there, I stopped at a Starbucks to finally check e-mail and do some time-sensitive work on my project for Microsoft.Deb and I finally reconnected to catch the Bedlam Bards’ first performance of the show. From there, we wandered Artists’ Alley where I got to say hi to many old colleagues, and finally introduce Deb to them.The afternoon wound down with the Media Tie-in panel, where I got to meet Timothy Zahn for the time.  Since no one was tapped, I volunteered to be moderator and tried to keep things on track. The conversation wound up all over the place, mainly on topic, and our audience seemed to appreciate it.We enjoyed a quiet dinner together, comparing plans for Saturday. After a brief respite in the room, we hit the parties. There was a wonderful reception for the guests at the Art Show. Deb and I wandered the large space which felt oddly intimate given the lack of crowds. We spent some time chatting with friends, old and new, until I heard my name cried out loud. I looked up and charging towards me was Ann Crispin. She hadn’t realized I would be at the show and gave me an incredible bear hug greeting. The rest of the time at the Art Show was rather pleasant.The other party was a darker, more crowded affair; a fundraiser for The Hero Initiative. Deb and I were regaled with tales by cartoonist Bob Burden which was a delight.And so ended the first day.

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