The con as a whole was pretty decent (and those of you who skipped it missed out, just saying). I got there on Saturday and ate lunch with some of my writer pals before appearing on a panel on Aging in Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was a decent enough panel, though I'm not sure that it was particularly ground-breaking in terms of what we discussed. After that, I had a lovely conversation with some local fans before going to dinner with friends at Mai Village in St. Paul. Then, we headed back to the con for the auction, where I picked up 2 books by Elizabeth Lynn (the books I was missing from the Chronicles of Tornor, in fact!), Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus, a James Morrow novel and a 5 more wuxia including early Sammo Hung and Shaolin Soccer. I also found a new home for Mom's big stuffed dragon that's too big to fit in her current room. Then it was back home through the wilds of St. Paul while playing the popular new game Everything is Closed/Partially Blocked Due to Construction (road construction is much worse than usual this year and I live about 30 minutes drive from the hotel under optimal conditions).
Sunday dawned early with a migraine and the need to head back to St. Paul for a day of panels. I made it to my 11 AM panel by minutes, though, and spent a lively hour interviewing/grilling Ytasha about Afrofuturism and showing off art by John Jennings. It was quite interesting and I think I got a better understanding of the scope of Afrofutrism as an artistic/cultural movement. After that, we got Ytasha out of the hotel for a short lunch break at Nelson's Deli, then back again for hanging out and eating. The Alternate Sherlocks panel turned into a discussion of some of our favorites (Elementary generally preferred to Sherlock, the graphic novel Baker Street, split on the Robert Downey version, nobody likes stupid Watson, Carole Nelson Douglas' Irene Adler series, etc.) and recommendations regarding the fabulous Sherlock Holmes Collection at the University of MN Library. Then, I got to go grill Ytasha about comics (she has a multimedia graphic novel out, called Rayla 2212). We also talked about some recently recovered Golden Age comics featuring culturally diverse protagonists like Nelvana of the North and related. Good stuff and an interesting chat to close out the con. After that, I hung out with Ytasha and Anton (her guest liaison) for a bit before taking off.
Taking involved racing home, starting to cook dinner, adding another dining companion (for a total of 4), then bolting off to see Mr. Holmes (Sir Ian McKellan, et al) with one of my friends. It was, for the record, sadly disappointing. The performances were good, but dear god, there were few cliches they did not bring out of storage. Older protagonist wrestling with dementia, victimized women, with or without emotionally abusive spouses, irritatingly superior small boy in danger, bees in danger, the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, because when in doubt, you trot out everything you have. All to get to...well, nothing really, except SAD. SO VERY SAD. So yeah, disappointed. Now back to the regular fun of my week, day job and catchup, and no more cons for a couple of months, which will be novel at this point.