Monday, October 21, 2013

CONtraflow

This past weekend, I was a guest at CONtraflow III, and had a pretty amazing time. The convention takes place in Kenner, Louisiana, not far from Casa Cerio, and it's always a pleasure to appear at a con I don't have to drive several hours to get to. It's small, fan-run, and extremely awesome.

Signing books like a beast!
The founders of CONtraflow started their convention with the basic idea of creating a convention like the ones they grew up on. Even though the concept of the mega-con like SDCC and Wizard World is the one that is getting spotlighted now in popular culture, these huge money making monsters really owe their success to the formula created by fans for fans years ago when science fiction was all about the books, and there were hardly any sci-fi movies or TV shows to speak of. At it's heart, it's this literary legacy that CONtraflow strives to uphold. You won't see the actors from your favorite TV shows at a convention like this, but you will meet the men and women that put the words in their mouths, and the words on the pages of sci-fi classics. Past guests have included David Brin and Vernor Vinge. This year's Author Guest of Honor was the incredible Eric Flint. Truly, it is an honor for me to be included as a guest (however minor) among heavy hitters and Hugo winners like these. This year's Artist Guest of Honor, John Picacio, has enough Hugos and like awards by himself to have to consider adding an entire wall in his studio to hold them all.

For a guy like me, it's really humbling. I mean, Eric Flint alone has seven successful SERIES of hard sci-fi books to his credit. The man comes to a con with a host of other authors and fans dedicated to his 1632 series. People cosplay as his characters, despite never having a visual media with them in it. Me, I just try to keep Jake Price's adventures free of fart jokes.

Humbling. Like the Puffin.
insert obligatory "Puffins are adorable AND Humble" comment here.


CONtraflow's mission is actually a deeper one than just meeting incredible authors. As the Con Chair and friend Raymond Boudreau put it this weekend, CONtraflow is a convention that is all about getting the "Con family" that has developed in the gulf coast together once a year to enjoy each others company. Many of the fans that make up CONtraflow's attendees (myself included) have been fans since long before the internet was conceived, coming to sci-fi and fantasy back when our only opportunity to connect with other fans was at cons like CONtraflow. For many fans, it was only at these conventions that they felt normal, and accepted for who they were. It is the hope of the organizers that their event will become this place of acceptance for a whole new generation of fans in the years to come, and as I see how my Step-kids come out of their shells at events like it, I'm really grateful to them for making the effort, and including me in it.

Wow, this post got really shmaltzy really quickly. I guess I'll save all the "awesome room parties, they totally make me feel like a rock star every year". stuff for another post!

1 comment:

rafe white said...

Well said sir,Well said!