Written by Tom Knighton
What is Dragon*con? I could spend days trying to define it. You see, Dragon*Con is about so many things that one will have a hard, hard time to define it. It can be whatever you want or need it to be.
For me, my morning started with an autograph session. I got the opportunity to get an autograph from one of my favorite authors. Michael Z. Williamson is an author of military science fiction, and he wrote a couple of my very favorite books, and I got a chance to meet him.
For the record, like many of the people who are invited to come to Dragon*con, Williamson is a really great guy. In fact, I haven’t heard of a single incident of a panelist being anything less than nice.
I mentioned a “shout out” from one of Williamson’s book, a notorious figure from the internet known as “Gecko45” or otherwise known as the mall ninja. It’s a long story, and I know you can find it aplenty on Google. Williamson, however, knows Gecko45 and knows how far he’s come. It was a neat story, and I never would have gotten it without being here.
Later, I found myself at another Warehouse 13 panel. This one also had Anthony Michael Hall who had starred as a guest in Season three of the show. Again, this one was a complete blast.
Dragon*Con boasts a lot of celebrities, and it’s easy to talk about them. I’ve done a fair amount of that over the last couple of days. However, what really makes Dragon*Con is the people.
Last night, after filing my report, I met a couple of young guys dressed as Maverick and Goose from the Tom Cruise film Top Gun. They hailed from Switzerland. This morning, I met a woman who came here from Puerto Rico. At the Warehouse 13 Panel, I found myself sitting in front of three young ladies from England.
People are what makes a con, and Dragon*con is no exception. If one were to find themselves surrounded by people you haven’t met, then there’s no reason to worry…there are no strangers at Dragon*Con. Striking up a random conversation is normal, and I actually encourage it. I’m an introvert by nature, but here that’s not a problem. We all speak to one another over random tidbits, and it’s all good.
For those at home, it’s easy to think about Dragon*Con as being about a bunch of guys who can’t get dates and live in their mom’s basement. Their ideas of the girls here isn’t all that different. One may think of all that, but one would be wrong.
Last night involved having a drink with an Army Ranger. He and I chatted with a beautiful young lady who was cosplaying (wearing a costume while assuming the character) as the main character from an old Disney television show called Kim Possible. There are guys and gals from all walks of life here.
Once upon a time, science fiction and fantasy were the genre for kids or adults that never really grew up. Over the last decade, many of the more popular books have spawned from the realm of science fiction and fantasy. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Twilight all qualify as fantasy. The Hunger Games, with its distant future setting and dystopian themes are clearly in the science fiction realm.
Science fiction and fantasy isn’t what you think, and neither are the people who call themselves as fans of the genre. While the stereotypical “geeks” are still around, they are actually a minority. Most are hard working folks who are your friends and neighbors.
The geek next door isn’t so easy to pigeonhole anymore, and maybe that fact is what Dragon*con is really all about.