Philcon, Part the Third

Yes, yes, Philcon was a month ago and by this point there isn’t too much to do except give a panel report.  Call it part of my year-end catchup.

I attended a lot of the same panels as Carrie and her general views about the con in her write-up would read more or less the same as mine.  But I do have pictures.

I remember it juuuust like it was yesterday…

First panel I attended that Saturday was “Do You Write With a Reader in Mind?” with Larry Hodges, Linda Bushyager, Alyce Wilson, Gary Frank, Gordon Linzer, and Oz Drummond.  This was probably the only panel I attended that effectively explored its topic. 

After my encounters with Peter S. Beagle, I made it to part of “Evolution of the Fantasy Graphic Novel.”  I went in expecting to at least hear a proposed lineage, rather than a lengthy debate on which “fantasy graphic novel” (as differentiated from the “superhero book”) kicked the whole thing off.  Marvel Comics Group’s Conan?  Eisner’s Contract with GodElfquest?

I admit it, I got bored and left.  I opted for dinner, a reading by the Garden State Horror Writers (of which Carrie is a member), and a launch party, after which, Carrie and I went to…

“Sexy Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories” with K.T. Pinto, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Jennifer Williams, and a moderator who didn’t show (which seemed to be more the norm at Philcon than at other cons I’ve attended, although I admit it could’ve just been my bad luck-of-the-draw).

Carrie talked about the content in her write-up, so I’ll talk about my impressions.  First off, the panelists did as great a job as could be expected sans moderator.  I attended the panel with an agenda in mind–to maybe pick up some things that wouldn’t make my publications in Rigor Amortis and Cthulhurotica flukes. 

I couldn’t help but think that if the moderator was there, I might’ve actually learned something more than…

  • what not to call a vagina in erotica
  • men really are pigs, as evidenced by the leering motley assortment of males in the audience.  My favorite–the guy who staggered in, with no badge that I could see, holding what looked like a 3/4 empty bottle of Michelob Ultra.

I can hear you scoffing.  “Yeah, you’re soo above it, aren’t you?  Like you weren’t checking out cleavages or listening for spank material.”  Well, I’m not going to say I wasn’t… or that I was, either.  Only I know what I was checking out at the time, which is, I’ll fancy, what separated me from some of my co-attendees.  At one point, I think I did hear Beavis and Butt-head snickering somewhere behind me.

My original assessment is unfair–I did learn a few useful tidbits and there was a very useful discussion about the panelists dealt with the issue of “questionable consent.”  But I think it’s fair to say those bits were serendipitous as opposed to a moderated agenda.

I didn’t get a picture of the “Hard Boiled Detective Tradition in Fantasy” panel.  I didn’t take many notes and just listened to the panelists Richard Stout and Hildy Silverman.  

Okay, so this is where I rant a bit.  I don’t want to complain, but there were a lot of things that would make me think twice about going to another Philcon, chiefly the obvious lack of organization which is apparently legendary if you give any regard to the scuttlebutt you hear in the hallways between panels.  Moderators who, when they showed, freely admitted their utter lack of preparation.  The one I’m thinking of did not blame the fact that most panelists didn’t know until the 11th hour which panels they were on, let alone which ones they were moderating.  No, this person admitted, “I left my notes up in my room.”

And I’m sorry, but any convention that allows its Guest of Honor to go to the wrong freaking room, causing him to be fifteen minutes late to his own reading doesn’t rate very high in my book.

“You are. Number Six.”  “You” being all the people whose company I enjoyed: Carrie, Simon, and the members of GSHW, all of whom thrashed me at Munchkin Cthulhu after a few sips of fine absinthe…

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