This year I made my first visit to ConCarolinas, a science fiction convention which took place from May 30 through June 1 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The con was held at the University Hilton, which is close to I-85 and easy to find.
By an odd coincidence, ConCarolinas — like Mysticon, which I attended in February — sold out more than a week before the convention started. No, I’m not implying that my attendance had anything to do with this; my guess is that science fiction conventions are becoming more popular, perhaps because of the growing interest in science fiction and fantasy movies and television shows, or perhaps people are beginning to realize how much a convention has to offer.
Special guests at the convention included Author Guest of Honor George R. R. Martin, Media Guest of Honor Anthony Montgomery, Artist Guest of Honor Tommy Lee Edwards, Music Guests of Honor Valentine Wolf (Lady Sarah Black and Braxton Ballew), Gaming Guest of honor Christine Stiles, Filk Guests of Honor Bill and Gretchen Roper, and Master of Ceremonies and Fan Guest of Honor Rich Sigfrit. Rounding out the list of special guests were Author Special Guest David Weber, Media/Artist Special Guest RJ Haddy, Media Special Guest Lara Parker, Media Special Guest Kathryn Leigh Scott, Filk Special Guest Jonah Knight, Comedy Special Guests Pineapple Shaped Lamps, Fan Special Guest DJ Spider, and Artist-in-Residence Rich A. Molinelli.
In addition to the scheduled panels, convention attendees could enjoy workshops in costuming, writing, origami, and leather-working; film screenings; filk concerts; bellydancing; comedy sketches; Klingon Karaoke; the Baen Traveling Show; a sci-fi trivia contest and a Dr. Who trivia contest; Whose Sci-Fi Line Is It Anyway?; the Dealers’ Room; the ConCarolinas Costume Contest; and the ConCarolinas Charity Auction.
In between all the activities, quick meals and snacks — nourishment is always important — were available on the lower level, where the panels and other activities took place, as well as on lobby level. The hotel restaurant also served reasonably priced meals, which included an excellent breakfast buffet. [The raisin bread French toast was among the best I’ve ever had.]
Here’s a sampling of some of the panel topics:
- Art: Comics and Webcomics; The Convention Art Market
- Children’s Programs: GraffiTEE Party; Filk and Cookies; Dragon Egg Hunt; Gnome Hunt
- Costuming: I Don’t Know Where to Start; Star Wars Costuming; Mandolorian Mercs Panel;The Finishing Touch; Makeup and Hair Tricks
- Fandom: Fan Groups and Fun Times; Geek Dating 101; Dealing with Bullies and Trolls
- Fantasy: Six Guns and Sorcery; Romance in Fantasy; Blending Magic with History
- Filmmaking: Directing 101; Screenwriting 101; Southern Filmmaking; Film School; How to get Started in Film
- Gaming: RPG Gaming 101; Indie Games; Tips and Tricks for the DM; Women in Gaming; Getting into the Gaming Business
- Horror: The monster in the Closet — Creating Terrifying Creatures; Horror Costuming and Makeup; Scary Monsters and Crazed Psychopaths; Remembering Dark Shadows
- Media: The Rise of the Strong Princess; Fairy Tales in Primetime; The Best of the Worst Movies; The New Cosmos; Forgotten Films; I Am Sherlocked; Dr. Who in Review
- Music: Recording and Marketing Your Filk; Buffy Sing-a-long
- Paranormal: Paranormal Tech Talk; The Basics of Ghost Hunting; Ghost Stories; Making Sure of your Evidence; Studying UFOs; You Won’t Believe This!
- Podcasting: Podcasting 101; Gallifrey Pirate Radio; Podcasting Tips and Tricks; Finding an Audience
- Publishing: Self Publishing — Tips and Tricks; Editors and Agents
- Science: The Year in Science; Creation/ID versus Evolution; Space Exploration — Five Year Mission?; Breakthroughs in Medical Science; Transhumanism
- Science Fiction: The New Star Wars; Hard Science in Science Fiction; Creating Alien Societies; Star Trek Through the Years; Science in the Classroom
- Steampunk: Corsets and Airships
- Writing: Myths about the Writing Life; Writing for Anthologies; Writing Hardcore Characters; Stealing the Spotlight — When Sidekicks Take Over; Is YA Really for Kids Anymore?; Shifting Gears; What Are Editors Tired of Seeing?; Warfare and the Military; The Art of the Anti-Hero; Magical Words Seminar — Beginnings; The Art of the Sex Scene; Writing Yourself Out of a Corner; Killing Characters; Blogging and Social Media
As you can see, the convention had a number of panels for writers, and many of them were so popular that latecomers had to stand. Next year the convention is moving to another venue to make room for more attendees. I can’t wait! Hope to see you there too.