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Janet Harriett is often an editor, sometimes a writer, and always a lover of all things penguin. She is the senior editor at Apex Publications and editor-for-hire specializing in science fiction, fantasy and horror.

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Sunday
Mar182012

Millennicon Report

Millennicon was my second new-to-me convention for the year, and it's definitely going on the Must Attend list. Everyone there was friendly and welcoming, and I had a chance to both see existing conquaintances (Denise Verrico, Faith Van Horne, Tim Waggoner, Gary Wedlund) and make new ones, including Travis Clemmons, who stumbled upon the nearly foolproof dairy-based strategy for getting my attention and long-lasting admiration. I'd disclose his secret, but then I'd run the risk of more people using it, and then I'd never fit into my new corset again.

This will not be the final corset outfit, but on Sunday, I worked with what I had.Which brings me to: I finally broke down and got a corset (see photo). I've wanted one for a few years, but could never mentally justify the cost, since I don't have many opportunities to wear a corset. It's still a wildly impractical purchase and easily three times what I've ever spent on a single article of clothing, but at least it goes with the fedora. Many thanks to Calamity Dawn for her help with how it should fit and what to wear it with, plus the practical tips.

Millennicon's programming struck the a nice balance between having many interesting panel options throughout the day and having some hours when I could socialize, browse the dealer's room or, y'know, have a real meal. Most of the panels stayed either on-topic or on an interesting enough tangent.

I give particular kudos to guest of honor Tobias Buckell's tight but friendly panel management. Invariably at a con, at least one panel with a knowledgeable group of panelists and an interesting topic gets paneljacked by an audience member who interjects something early on that drags the panel off-topic, or the audience member basically treats it as a conversation between him/herself and the panel. While this is undoubtedly a great experience for that one con-goer, it's a waste of an hour of con time for most of the rest of the audience. That nearly happened at one panel that Tobias Buckell moderated, but he very politely set out the demarcation between the panel discussion and the audience Q&A segments of the hour, then made sure to give that audience member the first question in the Q&A, but distribute the questions throughout the room. Much appreciated!

He also kept the presentations fresh at his many panels. I think I ended up seeing all of them, and each one was distinct and unique. There was a little bit of information overlap on the common questions about Arctic Rising and Apocalypse Ocean, but he definitely avoided the problem of some frequent panelists who have a limited repertoire of panel stump speeches, so if you've seen one or two panels with them, you've seen them all.

In addition to getting the Penguin Perspectives Award for Superior Achievement in Panel Moderation,* Tobias Buckell was overall one of the best guests of honor I've seen at a convention. For starters, he showed up even though he was fresh off an incident worthy of the Index of Improbable Injuries. He even went through with his whole reading in spite of reduced ability to read. On Saturday night, he made an effort to mingle around at all of the room parties and chat for a few minutes, and not - as far as I could tell - just with people he already knew.

For the first time, I'm feeling barely any post-con neurosis, except for the post-con meta-neurosis in which I'm concerned about my lack of anxiety about social missteps. Part of this might be that I've been doing enough of the local cons for long enough now that I can look forward to seeing people I know at cons, rather than a weekend of attempting to chat up strangers without putting my foot in my mouth too often.

*Not a real award, but maybe it should be.

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