My intention early on was to rise from a nap and recap my time this past weekend at MileHiCon 42. I rose from the nap and started a novella instead. All things in good time.
This year marked my third visit to Denver for this venerable sci-fi/fantasy convention; however, it was my first MileHiCon—and my first con ever—without a vendor’s table in the dealer room providing an anchor. My duties as a guest were more punctuated and less burdensome than a vendor’s. I gave a reading of my story, “Death on the Toilet,” on Friday night, scheduled opposite the opening ceremony. Fortunately, a few souls chose to come listen, and the audience, though small, was appreciative. Following the reading came the “Meet and Greet,” a reception at which all the con guests were plied with rich food while they mingled with con members. The big kick there was being asked for my autograph.
Saturday afternoon, I sat on the “Invented Languages” panel moderated by Paolo Bacigalupi, my qualification being that I have invented a language. As I’ve come to expect on this topic, the room was packed. Several people said very nice things to me afterward about my contribution to this discussion, and a couple folks told me that as a whole this panel was their favorite of the convention. A bit later Saturday I met James R. Strickland, author of a couple of very fine cyberpunk novels, for coffee and a genial conversation about the state of publishing and the quest for readership.
My Sunday panel was “Woulda Coulda Shoulda,” a discussion of alternate histories and alternate universes in speculative fiction. This panel was also well attended, if less well moderated. Afterward a couple of people went out of their way to thank me for my comments. Subjects broached begged for further discussion, but I rushed from the panel to my autograph session. There was, of course, no reason to hurry. Before my hour was up, I did sign a few autographs, but I kept no one waiting.
As with all sci-fi/fantasy conventions, at any given moment a percentage of the members attending are in costume. My oddest encounter of the event came when a young woman dressed as a warrior elf approached and asked if I was supposed to be Bill Clinton. Hard to say which of us blushed more when I cleared my throat and said, “No.”