In the Shadow of the Gorillas: Conjecture & Silicon

October 11th, 2006

The past two weekends I attended Conjecture and Silicon, two of the smaller California SF conventions, the first in San Diego, the second in San Jose.

Attendance was down with both, due to being in the shadow of the three gorillas: Comicon, WorldCon and finally Westercon, though in many respects, the third gorilla was actually smaller than the orangutan twins.  Conjecture and Silicon both had dealers rooms as large if not larger than Westercon, and while the programming tracks were not as lavish, the nightlife was slamming.  And, um, it was almost all fans.  Not publishers parties.  Not bid commitees competing for the honor of hosting the next Westercon or Worldcon.  Just fans.

Okay, I’ll admit that Kevin and Andy’s “League of Evil Geniuses” party was also pimping Costumecon 2008, which they’re hosting here in San Jose, but when you walked in the door, you weren’t immediately badge-stickered and there was nobody with a cash box and a set of membership forms.  Just good munchies and drinks and fun conversations.  Ditto with the Browncoats, the Rocky Horror cast party in San Diego, the Rocky Horror full show (with doorprizes) in San Jose, the BASFA party and so on.

Writers?  Less than any of the big gorillas, of course, but still a fair number, with somewhat more at Conjecture as Silicon is trying to become more of a media con.  But for all that, the number of readers was high, with people excitedly talking about novels and short stories, current as well as classic.

I talked with Nancy Holder and couple of other authors about how, if the two conventions can get themselves synced to being consistently one week apart–as opposed to being the same weekend, which they have been twice before–they’d be particularly useful waystations and caravanserais for authors doing book tours either direction up or down the state, since that would leave four days for travel in between as well as signings in Monterey, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles/Orange County.  Since local SF bookstores (Mysterious Galaxy from San Diego and Other Change of Hobbit from Berkeley) are already at the conventions, it would be a sensible thing to arrange.

2 Responses to “In the Shadow of the Gorillas: Conjecture & Silicon”

  1. Sherwood Smithon 12 Oct 2006 at 2:19 pm

    Sensible but costly, for those of us who find a single convention difficult to justify in the family budget.

  2. Kevin Andrew Murphyon 12 Oct 2006 at 2:58 pm

    True enough. My one big splurge this year was WorldCon. Everything else was defrayed by living in San Jose and having friends in San Diego.

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