Friday, August 20, 2010

Geeks on Fire goes to Gencon Indy 2010...meets famous people.

Each year in Indianapolis thousands gather for what’s called “The Best 4 days in gaming.” Gencon Indy was held from August 5th though the 8th. This gathering of nerds is the largest of its kind in the country. If you are into Dungeons and Dragons or board games, this is your Mecca. Over 8600 gaming related activities are held over the four days the convention takes place. Gencon is awesome, but you may be wondering how much it relates to fantasy. The truth is, without fantasy as inspiration, Gary Gygax would have never created Dungeons and Dragons. Without Fantasy or Science Fiction the worlds in which these games are based would not exist. At Gencon you will find long lines for both Will Wheaton and R.A. Salvatore. I decided to attend Gencon on behalf of FantasyLiterature in order to explore the elements that relate to us fantasy fans, and to take pictures of people much nerdier than me.

I arrived at the Indiana convention center at about 9am, found a parking space.  I soon spotted what I would lovingly call a “Nerd Herd” headed east. It was easy to spot, at least three of the group were carrying foam battle axes, in full armor complete with wire framed glasses. I was able to blend in smoothly with my sandal shod feet and FanLit dragon t-shirt. Don’t let me fool you, I was just as excited as the myopic barbarian next to me. I’ve been attending Gencon for years, and I’ve rarely felt more amongst my kind than among the slightly overweight warriors, wizards and pink haired Japanese school girls.

The Guild: Seasons 1 & 2My first surprise was when I walked into the press to get my credentials. I was warned an interview was going on and to be careful not to make any noise. Sitting at a long table was Sandeep Parikh and Robin Thornsen from the very popular web series The Guild. I love The Guild in its high quality independent awesomeness. As I made for the exit I noticed that Felicia Day was sitting in one of the chairs along the wall. In the realm of geekdom, she is a queen. I wasn’t sure what the etiquette was for the press ambushing the guests of honor in the press room, but I decided a handshake and a few nervously mumbled words of appreciation would be below the threshold. She was nice, and probably frightened, but I did get across that point that I was a big fan and The Guild is awesome. I then ran from the room before I squealed in a very non journalistic fashion.
Salvatore reacts to seeing my homemade 8x10..of himself
It was going to be hard to top greeting Felecia day, but I was determined to try. I met up with my brother and his girlfriend and we made our way towards Author Alley in order to meet R.A. Salvatore. The line was long, but the wait was worth it. Mr. Salvatore was gracious with his time. He was chatty, friendly, and I walked away with some autographs and a free signed copy of The Ghost King. While in Author Alley I also approached Anton Strout, author of the Simon Canderous series and a Fanlit favorite. Anton was super awesome and my copy of Dead Matter was signed "Deadly Yours,". Whenever I go to meet an author, I generally try to bring along a paper with their promo photo and have them sign it. It goes up on the wall in my office. I’ve only recently started to do this, and it’s always fun to get author reactions at signing a picture of themselves. The reactions have varied. Jim butcher was “oh wow”, Pat Rothfuss was flattered and maybe a little frightened. Anton’s reply was simply “I’m such a beautiful man” which is by far the best response yet. Thanks Anton Strout!
Nerd Shrine

After harassing the literary talent, we made our way to the art gallery. Rows and rows of disgustingly talented artists displaying their works. All the artists were there with their pieces and all were very accessible. I met a couple of fantasy artists that stood out. Jessica Cox, an Indiana native had many beautiful pieces, and was very nice. Alain Viesca (link NSFW) and his asian themed fantasy works, blew me away. Everything he had was simply stunning.

Alain Viesca
Jessica Cox
Prior to going to Gencon I did do a little research to find some things the Fanlit readers would definitely be interested in. One of the places I wanted to stop at was the Evil Hat Productions booth. Evil Hat is a the creator of the Fate RPG engine, and happens to the company behind the Dresden Files RPG. I’m a huge Dresden fan and I was eager to talk with Evil Hat and have a look at the game materials. The looks to be incredibly detailed and it makes me wish I lived somewhere where I might find a group that played these kinds of games. The worked closely with Jim while creating the game, and wrote some things exclusively to be included in the materials. My Butcher library will always be incomplete so long as Dresden RPG Volumes 1 and 2 are not among my shelves.
Dresden Files Rpg Volume One; Your StoryI spent the rest of my time wandering the exhibit hall, buying geeky things I didn’t need, but love to have. I had a wonderful time at Gencon and met some amazing people while there. I would encourage any fantasy fan to find their way to a local convention. There is no experience that can match the feeling of being among thousands of likeminded individuals. Where the stars of the shows are bigger nerds than you. I will definitely be back next year, and maybe next time I’ll be able to spend a couple more days.

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good time. Maybe next year Amy and I will be able to join you.