My first convention since the apocalypse started was a resounding success. It was really wonderful to be back at Bard’s Tower with Alexi Vandenberg and a whole mess of my fellow word-slingers. We had Melinda Snodgrass, Peter David, Dan Wells, J.B. Garner, Brian Anderson, Megan Mackie, Rick Heinz, T. Allen Diaz, Marion G. Harmon, and Christopher Ruocchio, as well as actor Carlos Ferro. Oh yeah, and me. Plus we had able and excellent assistance from Morgan and James (who very kindly drove Alexi to Mobile to retrieve the mis-shipped banner tower, yes really) and the magnificent ToniAnn (who was an able assistant to all the authors, dashing about with iPads and checking on things and fetching and carrying and all kinds of stuff, all while cosplaying delightfully as Daria, Wednesday Addams, and Velma).
There were a lot of great moments, from one reader coming up and asking me to sign his well-read copy of Star Trek: Articles of the Federation, which he cited as one of the best Trek novels ever written in his opinion, to the little kid who wants to grow up to be a writer and who really enjoyed talking Trek and writing with an actual professional in the field to all the people who bought entire sets of all six Precinct books to the five people who enthusiastically picked up my special advance copies of Systema Paradoxa: All-the-Way House.
It was so good to actually interact with humans who aren’t small rectangles on my computer monitor. I did it entirely masked while I was in the convention center, as Florida’s lax standards means I have no way of knowing who’s vaccinated and who’s just being a jerk. I know everyone working the Tower was fully vaxxed (Alexi made that a requirement, bless him), but I had no clue about the other folks at the con, and while it’s extremely unlikely that my Pfizer-emboldened self will get enough of a viral load to catch it and transmit it to someone else, it’s still possible, and I’d rather not risk it.
Pensacon is an excellent convention, full of good people who are enthusiastic about their nerdity. We had a ton of people come by the Tower, we had packed houses for all our panels — I only did one, on the endurance of Star Trek with myself, Peter, Melinda, and Tony Isabella — and a fantastic time was had by all.
Now if they could just not blast the entire charity auction over the vendor room PA….. (Seriously, I was ready to hit myself over the head with a ballpeen hammer after fifteen minutes of that, and it lasted for 90….)