Time for my annual report about Lunacon, the New York Science Fiction convention that's been running for over 50 years. "Annual" may be the wrong word because I noticed that I didn't get around to writing up a report last year, and there's a strong possibility that there may not be a convention next year. More on that in a bit -- but if you like science fiction and good times in general, think about helping out.
I drove up there for only the second time ever, and got there without much of a problem, even without a GPS. I wanted to beat Friday rush-hour traffic, but I didn't really. There weren't any panels or presentations that were "must-see" for me on Friday night, but it's nice to be settled in early and just explore. Plus, it gives time to order out. The Rye Town Hilton's restaurant (shifted off to where the bar used to be because of construction) is just overpriced and the buffet has gone downhill drastically. I was glad that the renovations, while annoying, didn't pose the disaster it could have been (as happened a few years back at a New Jersey hotel). Minor inconveniences, mostly. The worst part was that Hilton wants everything to look the same and take out, beat out or just kill any of the charm the lobby or the pool used to have.
The gaming room was obligatory for the simple reason that the Gaming Guest of Honor was Andrew Looney of Looney Labs. (I confess that until recently I was not aware that the company was named for a person -- their games, like Fluxx are just crazy!)
I got to play a few rounds of a couple of playtest editions. One was Cthulhu Fluxx, announced for later this year. The other was a fun and deceptively simple educational edition, but I don't know if I should be mentioning the name of games in development. I'd hate to see them beaten to the market by a knock-off.
Oz Fluxx was on sale in the Dealers Room, but with only a dozen copies, I was too late to snap one up.
Speaking of the Dealers Room: it was less crowded this year. Some merchants didn't come back. Not a single T-shirt to be bought anywhere -- usually there's 2 or 3 dealers -- nor did I see any of the annoying buttons, which I loved back in my youth but got over after 20 or 30 of them. The woman with the Steampunk costumes and accessories didn't return from last year, but she told me then that she might not. On the other hand, that made room for another company, Night Shade Industries, which I'm happy to plug because Rose and Dion are friends. I bought a black hip flask with brass gears, which I wore for most of the con despite the fact that it was empty. (No, really.)
I had hoped that with the rise of Steampunk in the past few years, that more costumes would be available, and, hopefully, some of it cheaply. I don't need a $200 coat that gets worn for a half-hour once per year until it gets unbearably hot from wearing indoors in a crowd. No such luck. For that matter, no one was selling cloaks for the old medieval fantasy settings of the past, either. Just a few light, flowery things.
Maybe my new choice of costume wasn't such a great idea. Maybe it's time to go back to the Dracula/Phantom Stranger/Victorian British gentleman that I've been overdoing for 20 years so I could wear a cape. And then there's the Joker...
But I digress.
I spoke to a couple of authors and artists. Briefly said "hi" to Tamora Pierce, the Young Adult Writer Guest of Honor, when another friend was getting an autograph. Saw a lot of the "usual crowd" -- and noticed some weren't around.
Like last year, Saturday seemed to be better populated. I'm wondering if the economy has stopped people from renting rooms on Friday night. It's a possibility. But on Saturday, the fun continues late into the night, so day trippers, while they'll have fun, are really missing out.
There were the usual Doctor Who/British Sci-Fi panels, of course, and plenty of anime. I got to see part of the live-action Star Blazers movie -- only it wasn't called that in Japan. And the Tom Lehrer-Allan Sherman showdown almost got me into the filk room. Almost.
It was nice to see an overflow area for the Masquerade, meaning that more people were attending, but it's still in a much smaller ballroom than in years past because of fewer entries. Kudos to the guys who set up the overflow area -- they had to clear out the Book Exhibit/Raffle, and set up a screen and speakers for the broadcast coming from the next room. Nice job.
My costume wasn't anything too special, as I was hoping to assemble parts at the con, and would have had there been any vendors. No cape. No one stopping me to ask for a picture, either, unless Rob was standing next to me. He looked good as the Airship Pirate.
(I hope I'm not scaring any new readers with any of this! But some of my newest readers found out about me at the con, so Welcome!)
Mostly the same old parties, and I mostly stuck to the Con Suite, avoiding the con version of the Pub Crawl, until I got invited to the Bronx Science reunion party, which is open to more than just alumni, but is still a private party. (My friends were all in a rousing game of Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, which went on for several hours. I passed: I didn't see the excitement in that game last year, and definitely not several hours worth.)
Overall, I didn't attend too many panels, but there were several I would have liked to have attended. Conflicts are always a problem, but they are better than running from one to the next through a crowded hotel. Some were at bad times, or just fell by the wayside when something else came along. My brother and I took our leave early because I hadn't slept as well as I should have, so I wanted to get home before the end-of-the-weekend traffic started. Besides, I hadn't bought any raffle tickets because I was afraid I'd win more books -- and I haven't read last year's yet!
One Important Final Note: Lunacon is in jeopardy. People bought special ribbons with donations to help defray costs, and some of the parties did their best to raise some money as well as awareness. But more than money, they need volunteers. There's a plea in the program book and the back of the badge, where the honorees for the following year's con are usually printed. They haven't arranged for a new Guest of Honor because, well, you know. If you like science fiction and you're in the Northeast, considering volunteering to spread the word about the next con. Volunteer to get it up and running. Most of that work happens well before the convention.
For more information, go to the Lunacon website. While it's still there.
Edison Quillsworth Bristlebottom
51 minutes ago