Unfortunately, they handed out flyers for next year. Tagline? This IS Your Father's Readercon.
Single-track programming. Likely no readings, definitely no kaffeklastches. Nothing but panels, in a single room, with 400 other people. No Guests of Honor. Memorial GoHs? The cutting-edge, controversial, underappreciated Philip K. Dick and Theodore Sturgeon. (That'll certainly speak to a new generation of geeks who will push fandom into the, well, at least the 20th century.)
Now, I love Readercon. I've gone since I first knew about it. They actually have awesome panels and a great vibe. But this? Sounds about as much fun as a tax audit. With no chance to read and no kaffeklatsches, and Readercon's longstanding dislike of room parties, this is just a series of lectures by the biggest name attendees (because there will be far fewer programming slots, they basically have to go with the biggest draws) leaving the rest of us to sit still and knit for four days.
Not to mention, to someone invested in the next generation of fandom, who feels it is a burning issue to make SFF relevant to young people and pull amazing new minds into our world, not mire in old traditions and hierarchies, I just don't really want to go hang out at my father's con. Thanks. You can't bill something as a throwback and expect it to excite people. I suspect Readercon will find its membership dropping precipitously.
I, with sadness, will not be going. I'll be right back in 2011, bushy-tailed.
The thought among a group of us at Readercon this year was to try something different: IslandCon 2010. Here's the plan:
Y'all come up to my island. There's two hotels, my house, and my huge yard for tents if people want to camp. We'll use the three pubs, cafe, and ice cream shop for informal discussion rooms (somewhere between a barcon and a panel). We'll drink blueberry martinis and eat lobsters and barbecue and have a bonfire. If people can't agree on the academic difference between fantasy and science fiction, we'll give them boxing gloves and haul them down to the soft, sandy beach (as opposed to the sharp, pointy beach). If authors come, they can have fireside readings. Kaffeeklatsch-style tea and cookies in my dining room. Parties on my porch and in what could be an awesome mini Black Rock City tent-town out back. Movie screenings could be arranged.
Yes, this will likely be the same weekend as Readercon. Why? Not to get all up in Readercon's face about it. As I said, I love them. But because I keep that weekend free and the rest of the summer booked, and I want to have my second weekend in July SFF blowout. I just want it to be fun and relevant to my life, and not my father's con. (Not that my father went to cons. I don't want it to be your father's con, either, though.) If it's ten people, I'm thrilled. This is not a big production--it's like NASFIC. When the regular con is for one reason or another untenable, we get together for a different one.