Convergence 2007 Report

July 10th, 2007 | by Sqotty |

Convergence 2007 was, once again, a convention that should not be missed. The Klingons of KAG were in full force with elements of the Cold Death Quadrant in attendance included the crews of the IKV Rakehell, IKV Black Thunder, and the IKV Warhammer.

The Rakehell arrived the day before the con, using the time to set up the party room, The Rutting Tribble, which served as the Kronos Hunting Club. It is actually impressive how many con goers show up the day before the con actually starts (a lot!). But then there is a lot of set up to do, and its better to do it in advance rather than spend part of the convention setting up your room party..

Arriving on Friday afternoon with the main masses, we found that several elementary schools had coordinated a field trip to the convention and were able that they were treated to some special panels by the various guests on writing as well as science. I thought this was way cool, as did everyone else who ran across the groups of kids that were having a fun day at an SF convention.

The Writer Guest of Honor this year was Lois McMaster Bujold, and Bridget Landry returned as a science guest this year. For those of you who don’t know Bridget, she is an astrophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab as well as a master costumer. She is two guests rolled up into one.

Panels ranged the full gamut, from science (NASA’s Cassini Program) and theory (living starships) to costuming and writing programs. It is always tough getting to all of the panels as there is a tendency to book several that are of high interest against each other. as this was also the Centennial of the birth of Robert A. Heinlein, there was a panel discussion on his works as well.

The first panel I attended was on “Living Starships” and how organic starships could come about. The panel tended to drift away from the topic and focus more on computer tech, specifically artificial intelligence, and on cybernetics, which is different from the development of organic/living starships.

My wife, Sue, with daughter in tow, sat in on a panel on hall costuming that Qob was on. It sounded like it was more interesting than the panel on Living Starships.

Saturday morning was the Heinlein panel, which started out good until David Romm decided to dominate the panel and inject his political ranting, showing once again what un utter @ss he is. There were also some other disturbing comments made, including one specifically about Starship Troopers made by someone who thought that the central character in the novel, Juan Rico, was of barely average intelligence because he was a grunt. This showed a distinct lack of knowledge of how the military determines who is qualified for any given job (for instance, when I entered the Air Force, you had to be able to lift 100 pounds over your head to be a jet engine mechanic…that requirement was later eliminated). I think she was ignoring the fact that knowledge (or lack there of) is not the same as intelligence. It also ignores the fact that Rico was a kid who just graduated high school, and that lots of people who are smart are lousy at math. I think the person who made the statement about Rico having an “I.Q. of 100” couldn’t do multi-variable calculus (I can barely do multi-variable derivatives myself…does that mean I have a low I.Q.?). Actually, I thought it was interesting that a number of people consider Starship Troopers to be one of their favorite Heinlein novels. Other works that were touched on included Tunnel In The Sky, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love, the Past Through Tomorrow, and Expanded Universe. This would have been a much better panel if it were not for Romm moonbating like he usually does. I have concluded the best way to ruin a panel is to put Romm on it; if Romm has to be on it, then they should put a muzzle on him so that the other panelists will have an opportunity to talk.

Eric, who publishes Tales of the Unanticipated runs Krushenko’s, which is a combination literary discussion room, writer’s network, and party zone. One session was on writing groups and what is going on in 2007. This consisted of people who are in writing groups giving status reports of what they are up to and an opportunity for folks looking for groups to connect with each other.

There was a panel on “Blogging as Literature” which was more of a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) discussion that also touched on blogging. If you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it is a time when writers and aspiring writers strive to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. This does not mean having a finished, publishable novel, but having what is hopefully a good first draft. The panelists did discuss the different approaches participants in NaNoWriMo take, including starting with a completely blank page and writing stream of conscious, seeing what comes out, to people who spend time developing character backgrounds and outlines before the kickoff of the month of writing. On the blogging side, it was interesting how many of them don’t blog, or only do so as a cursory project. The reason cited is that time blogging takes away from time writing. My counter to that is: blogging regularly helps you develop better writing skills as you have to post regularly, thus writing, and think about your word choices more as blogging tends to be more stream of thought writing. It also helps you improve your ability to produce material as a blogger regularly writes anywhere from several hundred to a couple of thousand words a day, depending on how much they have to say.

I sat on a panel on the Creatures of Star Trek (this year’s convention theme was “Creature Feature”) which promptly turned into a general conversation on Star Trek. Most of the panelists were TOS Trek fans, with one being a Next Genner, and the audience was a mixed bag of Trek. The discussion hit on all of the various incarnations of Trek, and worked on determining what constituted creatures versus aliens. It came down to the definition of a creature had to do with its level of sentience: the Horta and Salt Vampire were both aliens, although they were presented as creatures, while the Mugato and Crystalline Entity were distinctly creatures. The Doomsday Machine, Nomad, and V’Ger were all constructs that had characteristics of being creatures.

JaPa, the quadrant commander, and other members of the Black Thunder, made their presence felt during the after hour parties (okay, there really isn’t such a thing as after hours at a con). JaPa, Qob and I had a chat about how we can get some more activity going on in Iowa, which means staging some away missions to there for those of us in the Twin cities. It is not a daunting task, just a matter of timing and interests. I told JaPa that we may be able to make DemiCon, next year, depending on if/when Sue and I get “lucky.” It also seems appropriate to do some stuff with the neighboring States as they are regularly coming up here for conventions.

Living up to Klingon standards, Qob and I made our way around the party floor on Saturday night, harassing Feddies as we went. One stop we made was at the Romulan consulate where we managed to fire off some appropriate insults while drinking all of their Romulan Ale (at least putting a dent in their supply). Qob also did a good job of putting the Rommie Ambassador down for his feeble attempts at telling Klingon jokes. We had a lot of fun at their expense.

Qe’pa made up a bunch of stickers that read “this tribble has been spayed by the Klingon Empire” that were distributed amongst the crew. We promptly went on a mission to spay all of the tribbles (and a few Feddies) at the con.

The Rakehell’s party was, as mentioned above, the Kronos Hunt Club, and had a sign up featuring a pair of tribbles and called, interchangeably, the Rutting Tribble and Rotting Tribble, depending on the side of the sign you were looking at. The room was decorated with pelts from a number interesting creatures including tribbles. Shotgun shell lights, weapons and targets completed the display. The lineup of drinks ranged from Romulan Ale (better than the stuff of the same name served in other party rooms) and the con’s favorite, Hot Sex with the Klingons. There was also a bottle of Tribble Sweat on hand, which did not survive the first night of the convention.

The House of Toast was online, as was the U.S.S. Nokomis putting on a two-room party where you have the TOS and Mirror universes. Tardis Tea Society, Torchwood, Vampire Hunters (who never heard of William Bonnie, Junior! Egads! Haven’t they ever seen Billy the Kid vs. Dracula?), Tiki Bar, and the Mad Cow Party, just to name a few of the dozens (literally) of parties going on throughout the weekend.

G’Amar and Kosh both had entries in this year’s masquerade, and looked very good. Unfortunately we (as in my wife and I) missed about half of the masquerade, including their presentations, however I was serving drinks at the Kronos Hunt Club with Kosh, who was just a skeleton of his former self. His costume was Ghost Rider, and was well received.

The IKV Rakehell put on a performance of a new skit, “Kaptain Kang’s Killer Thriller Theater.” This one mixed in some video shot before the con and mixed in as a Kaptain Kang serial with live bits of movie trailers.

Kosh sat in on a panel, displaying his gargoyle costume, covering fantasy creatures that was well attended despite being opposite closing ceremonies. His gargoyle costume was a big hit last year and he has been having a lot of fun with it ever since.

Convention attendance was bigger than previous years, as the con continues to grow and attract more people. The attendance count was 2595 present and accounted for, with total registrations of 2711. The hotel was filled to overflow, and a second hotel is now being leveraged to help with the load. Next year will be even bigger as it will be a four-day event celebrating their tenth anniversary. This means get your reservations in early (ours are already in!).

Sunday night was spent relaxing with what was left of the Klingons in attendance heading over to TGI Friday’s for dinner, then watching the first couple of episodes of Torchwood.

Convergence keeps getting bigger and better every year, and the hotel staff is probably the friendliest I have run across in all of the years I have been going to conventions.

Much fun was had by all.

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