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San Diego Comicon 2008

I promised a post on the San Diego Comicon.

First impression: Wow. There were a LOT of people there.

Things were so crazy when we got to the con on Thursday morning (I missed preview night even though I had a 4-day pass) around 11 that I just wanted to leave. You literally couldn't walk, and I nearly got knocked over twice. You definitely don't want to go down under that crowd; you might not get back up. People always said sorry if they bumped into you, so everyone was nice, but it was just an unbelievable number of people. The last count I heard was 220,000.

The whole thing was 100 times crazier than when I last went a decade ago. Apparently the internet has changed things.

I went to see Robert J Sawyer, my favorite sf author, speak. He talked more about publishing than he did about his books. He said that thanks to the power of the internet, the movie studios have really started to court audiences at things like this, so they create these massive displays and bring in stars...and that has made the Con expand exponentially. I guess, for example, that Hugh Jackman shows up somewhere at the Con every year, but it's not announced. When they announce those things, so many people show up they can't get the celebrities back out.

I only did two panels. The one with Sawyer I just walked into with no problem. The other I had to wait for over an hour and a half to get into, and we were still behind 2,000 other people in the hall.
One of the girls in our group did a ton of panels. I don't know how she survived with her sanity intact.

One of the people in the Sawyer panel asked the author about his integration of philosophy of religion into his hard sf. In addition to his other degrees, he has a M.Div. The person asked flat-out where he stands on the issue, and he said he doesn't normally answer that question, so I was excited when he went ahead and answered it. He said he's a non-believer, but that he sees it as a difference in perspective from others, and he doesn't begrudge people who do believe.

He likened the situation to that of some relatives who are color blind. The color-blind relatives see the world differently, but they don't insist that the color-seeing relatives are wrong. And the color-seeing relatives don't try to force the color-blind ones to see something that they can't.

I thought it was a nice analogy.

Mr. Sawyer blogged about his own Con experiences, including the day he talked. I had taken a book along to ask him to sign, but I forgot it that day. I was doing my best to have my hands open at the Con; next time I do something like that I shall carry a messenger's bag or something. There's been some talk about going to WorldCon in February, and I believe he's going to be there, so I may get another chance.

If you've never read Sawyer's stuff and you like speculative fiction, you're missing something amazing. I don't normally enjoy hard sf, but I love his. And I do love the philosophical questions he raises, and the difficult situations he portrays.

I also visited the Art Show under the sails several times, as some friends were displaying their work. Since I mentioned Gatchaman a couple of posts ago, I'm going to pimp my friend Diinzumo's art (left). She's one of my favorite Gatch artists, and she'd done some amazing new pics for the art show. She says in her own blog that she sold most of the pieces she had up for sale, which pleased me.


  1. Kate Karyus Quinn said...
    Thanks for the post! I just kick myself for not ever going when I lived in Southern California a few years back!
    Anonymous said...
    Over 200,000 people. Ohmygosh. That's insane.

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