Finding Like-Minded (Weird) People

I've had this niggling little idea in the back of my head for a while now that I keep pushing away like I would a cat that's trying to rub on my chin while I'm reading. But, like that metaphorical cat, the idea is persistent, so I may just have to think about it in a more serious way to quiet the noise in my mind.

What is this notion? It has to do with the way those of us who write speculative fiction mourn the fact that at Christian writers conferences, we always feel like the red-headed step child. We don't quite fit with Amish fiction authors, romance writers, and the mom-lit crowd. In an effort to remind ourselves we're not alone in our freakishness, we band together. We like our zombies, our swords, and our dirigibles. We don't even ask that you understand.

But I can't help but feel like it's high time we speculative fiction authors stop fighting the current for recognition and respect. Don't get me wrong--I am very glad for the strides the Christian publishing industry has made in offering more speculative fiction over the past five years or so. I recognize we are the fringe of the religious community, and that's fine. I just think it would be an incredible experience if an event existed that blended faith and speculative fiction. Something more like a fantasy con than a writer's conference--where the fans, writers, filmmakers, publishers, artists, and other folks of faith who like to speculate could come together. Rather than hunting the Christian writer's conference schedule for the one class that applies to our area of interest, how cool would it be if the whole even was layered with choices?

So here I am, with visions of readings from authors' next books, film screenings, a dealer room, round table discussions, authors intensives, and who knows what else? The idea, like all my ideas, only gets bigger every time I think about it.

Now, if I can only find a crew of people crazy enough to pull it off. I suspect this won't be the last I mention this.

Comments

  1. Uh, General... count me in. But where do you begin? You've at least got the contacts to approach the publishers who might be interested in joining us, but what else? Do we poll to see where folk are located geographically? Just thinking aloud here too.

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  2. Lol. I get to be a General now. Highly decorated.

    As to where to start--that is the big question. My personal feelings are that you need to start with people,because the job of getting it all done could easily explode into too much for just a couple of folks to manage. With the enthusiasm of response from people on this idea, having many hands to make light work seems like it might be very possible.

    After people, it then seems to me the mission of the event and the potential content would be the next step. I would want it to be equally appealing to fans and creators, which is the biggest challenge of them all. But the wheels are turning. I may need to start a proboard about this. :D

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  3. I say don't reinvent the fantastic-idea wheel, find the event coordinators and planners that do the secular "cons" and the smaller Steampunk "cons" and see how they do it. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have artists as well as writers there? I just met a very talented comicbook artist who is a brother in Christ and they have a whole sub-network but they aren't doing as well small press publishing. I told him to see if Port Yonder, Splashdown, or Marcher Lord could lend an ear to that small press market and help them out. A con would be a great place for artists and writers to network and fans to have fun! You could have panels and events as well as publishers there. *nods* This could be very very cool. But I say start small, get the details right (the devils in them) and let it grow slow. ;)

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  4. A small comic book shop is starting up a little anime/videogames convention here in our town. In two years it's outgrown the hotel lobby and they're eying the convention center this year. You ought to just poke around your town and see what you could get started. See if there's enough like-minded people.

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  5. There is a big sf/f/h con every year in my area that just celebrated its 30th anniversary. It started with a group of friends who used to meet at each other's houses just to sit and geek out with each other about the sf/f/h stuff they loved--and one day, one of them had the very idea you did (minus the Chrisian part, as it is a secular con). Now they book convention hotels every year and people come from all over. (I'll be on some of the writing panels at the next one, btw!)

    Anyway, I've had the same thoughts, Becky. I'd LOVE a convention just for the Christian spec-fic crowd! One key thing--I'd say it can't be the $1000 for a weekend that the big writers cons are. The one I attend is only a $35 registration fee for the whole weekend. Your hotel room and meals are your own responsibility. But they sell art at an art show and have a dealers room where vendors can rent space to sell t-shirts and stuff (gaming stuff, books, chain mail...) And of course they have a t-shirt for sale, and all sorts of fun stuff.

    Keep me in the loop on this, Becky!

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  6. I take it there will be a dragon-riding booth. :)

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  7. Great idea, Becky! I agree with Kat that the cost needs to be kept manageable. A board would be a great place to start. That would be a sort of virtual gathering andwould help us gauge the number of people interested in such a thing.

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