From Friday, February 22, through Sunday, February 24, fans of science fiction, fantasy, comics, costumes, media and gaming gathered for this year’s Mysticon at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood in Roanoke, Virginia. Featured at the convention were Author Guest of Honor Orson Scott Card, Artist Guest of Honor Larry Elmore, Youth Author Guest of Honor Tom Angleberger, Media Guest of Honor Peter Davison, Gaming Guest of Honor Steven S. Long, Special Gaming Guest Strange Aeons, Fan Guest of Honor Mike Pederson, Master of Ceremonies Rich Sigfrit, Musical Guests of Honor Bella Morte and the Gothsicles, and 2013 Scholarship Winner Maura Lydon.
Other guests included artists, authors, costumers, filmmakers, gamers, musicians, podcasters, bloggers, editors, actors, entertainers, scientists, graphic designers, belly dancers, wrestlers, and more — including a quidditch team.
Registration for the convention was exceptionally well-organized. The two lines for preregistered attendees and the two lines for those registering at the door were roped off and clearly labelled. In addition, a volunteer was stationed near the door to answer questions and direct puzzled people to the correct line. This saved everyone time and aggravation.
Programs began at 3 pm Friday and ended with the closing ceremonies at 3 pm Sunday. The variety of panels and other programs offered convention goers a tough choice with ten scheduled each hour.
Here’s a sampling of the panels in the various programing tracks and the special programs:
- Art: Finding Your Medium in the Art World, Bringing Realism to Fantasy Artwork, Green Steam: Junk to Art, Artist vs. Illustrator
- Blogging: Blog Much?
- Comics: Cradle to Grave: The Art of Creating a Comic, Webcomic Basics, Will Comic Strips Survive?, Comics Restoration
- Costuming: LARPing Costumes and Props, Costuming on a Budget, Belly Dancing — Dress It Up
- Fandom: Nerdiquette 101, Horror and Games, What’s the Next Big Thing?
- Gaming: Gaming for Beginners, Intro to SHLARPing at Mysticon, Game Development
- Horror: Ouch! Yoiu Bit Me! A Zombie Survival Guide
- Literature: The Paradoxes of Panem, Remembering Ray Bradbury, What Will You Be Reading in 2020?
- Media: Timecrash, My Little Pony, Are You Ready to Rumble? Wrestling Q&A, Dr. Who Turns 50
- Music: A Muscial Hour with Gray Rinehart, Nerdian Rhapsody — SF Themes in Rock Music, Jonah Knight “Creepy Songs,” Sing Along with Danny Birt
- Performances: Alive On Stage! The Twisted Magic of Nelson Oliver, “Professor Huh” by Star City Mystery Theater, Mysticon’s Drum Circle, Balloon Magic, Flabbergast the Wizard: Comedy Magic for the Whole Family, The Gothsicles, Bella Morte
- Paranormal: Has Your Vampire Lost Its Sparkle?, The Truth Behind the Amityville Horror House, Ghosts
- Podcasting: Gallifrey Pirate Radio, Geek Radio Daily Podcast, Podcasting Basics, Audio Excellence in Podcasting
- Publishing: Editing Anthologies; No Shirt, No Shoes, No Entry — Business Etiquette
- Science: Back to the Woods, More Than Human, Grasping for the Stars, CSI in Fantasy and Sci-Fi Settings, Building Post-Apocalyptic and Steampunk Vehicles
- Writing: The Writing Environment, Genre Mashups, Writing Space Battles, Beyond the Blank Page, On the Edge of Your Seat, The Politics of Tomorrow, Making Old Stories New, Writing Believable Characters, White Hats & Black Hats
- Workshops: Miniatures Painting Workshop, How to Write Elvish, Writing Workshop, Robotics Workshop and Demonstration, Henna Workshop, Making Tribble Launchers Workshop, Self-Defense for Women, Making Light Weight Armor, Drawing 101
- Special Programs: the Mysticon Ghost Hunt, the Baen Traveling Roadshow, Iron Author, the Match Game
Some of the panels and events are just for fun; others provide information. Attendees often take notes during such how-to panels, so handouts are appreciated. At the Publishing on the Download panel, Clare Sieffert provided an awesome five-page handout stuffed with useful information.
Science fiction conventions often devote a panel to an author who passed during the previous year. As a long-time admirer of legendary author Ray Bradbury, I made sure to attend the panel Remembering Ray Bradbury with panelists John L. French (moderator), Orson Scott Card, Paul Dellinger, David Halperin, and Allen Wold. Allen Wold was the only panelist who had met Bradbury when Bradbury agreed to an interview for Allen’s college radio station. While all of the panelists had read and admired Bradbury’s unique works, none felt he had influenced their style. No one could match the melodic beauty of his prose, but all can be inspired by it.
Additional activities included the Dealers’ Room, Artist Alley, a photographer, gaming (live action role playing, video gaming, and open gaming), indie films, author readings and author book signings, the traditional costume competition, the scholarship auction, and a DJ dance party. Hungry convention goers could find snacks in the hospitality suite; breakfast, lunch and dinner items at the 10 Forward Cantina; or full meals at the hotel’s restaurant. And a beautiful replica of the Batmobile was on display outside the hotel.
After attending three days of panels, I left the convention inspired and exhausted — as usual — and looking forward to next year’s convention. Hope to see you there next year!
For more photos from Mysticon, please check out my Mysticon 2013 Photo Gallery.