So, yeah…that was pretty fun.
Last weekend, my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and I took to Las Vegas for its annual ginormous Star Trek convention. As it has for the past couple of years, the con was held at the Rio, an off-Strip resort hotel with its own dedicated convention space. As with most things in Vegas, pretty much everything in the hotel was big, bold, and bright. Despite being a Sin City vet, this was my first time staying at the Rio. It definitely has something of a party vibe going…pretty much all the time…so I don’t know if it’s the ideal place for a relaxing getaway, but it’s certainly not boring.
Whether the Rio owners had Trekkies in mind when constructing their convention facility is a question that remains unanswered, but I have to say that from a pure square-footage standpoint, the digs were pretty sweet. The main auditorium for the guest Q&A was massive, as was a secondary auditorium dedicated to panels. The vendor’s area also was fairly spacious, but I was surprised at the relatively modest number of dealers on hand for the weekend. Still, there was a lot of cool stuff to be had, including a few sweet items for eagle-eyed treasure hunters.
As for the con itself, Kevin and I were there largely due to the generosity and just all around awesomeness of Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci and Mike Medeiros, aka the gang behind the Sunday G and T Show, who were our hosts for the weekend. Working with a couple of our contacts and friends at CBS Licensing, they were able to secure many copies of From History’s Shadow, which we gave away during signings held at different times during the weekend. Terry, Nick and Mike were fabulous, working their asses off throughout the con to represent not only their show and several companion podcasts and fan efforts, but also in their attempts to cover the con happenings. They were assisted in this endeavor by Terry’s husband, Allen, and Nick’s fiancée, Janice. They also had to deal with our dumb asses, which is no easy feat, let me tell you….
Terry, Nick and – doing his best Flash impression – Mike
My favorite moment of the entire weekend came on the con’s first full day. April Hebert and Christine Rideout, two ladies I’ve befriended thanks to the wonders of social media, came to the show bearing a little surprise for me. As I’ve done with other friends over the years, I named characters for each of them in my Star Trek novel from last year, That Which Divides. April’s namesake was the first officer of the U.S.S. Huang Zhong, who met a sucky end during the events of that book, whereas Christine’s character was that ship’s chief engineer, who survives and ends up playing an important part in the story.
April and Christine decided to say “Thanks!” for that little gesture on my part, by surprising me with T-shirts they had made just for the occasion:
The presidents of my new fan club. Okay, not really, but it sounds cool, right?
In truth, the highlights of the weekend all revolved around people: friends with whom I got to reconnect, or meet face to face for the first time, along with all the new friends we made. In the “meet face to face” category, the big win had to be something about which I’ve already written: finally getting to meet Dean Wesley Smith, the man who bought my first professionally-published short stories. However, that’s not to diminish all the fun we had with our friends all through the weekend. Another big moment? Nick proposing to his girlfriend, Janice, in front of all of us. That took stones, dude, and you two make a wonderful couple. Congratulations and well-wishes to you both!
Catching up with our pal Larry Nemecek.
Getting to shake Mike Okuda’s hand. There also was an all-too brief reunion with Doug Drexler, aka the guy who gave as all that sweet cover art for the Star Trek: Vanguard books. You know, when he wasn’t doing stuff like working on Battlestar Galactica and Defiance, and so on and so forth.
Getting to hang (if only for a short while) with several members of the developer team from Star Trek Online, and our friends John Champion and Mary Czerwinksi from DVD Geeks. John’s also one of the hosts of the super-cool Trek-themed podcast Mission Log, and he was busy broadcasting all through the weekend. Mary participated in several panels, as well, including what I thought was one of the con’s better discussions, focusing on the role of women in Star Trek and Star Trek fandom.
Meeting Chris and Charity Wood, aka the fans behind Subspace Communique as well as Bye Bye, Robot, a publisher of SF-themed art. Their gallery includes several licensed Star Trek pieces, a couple of which I’ve bought for hanging right here in my home office at stately Ward Manor.
Even hanging out at the bar was an event, as I got to catch up with Darren Benjamin and David and Alicia Ivy, who host another of my favorite Trek-related podcasts, TrekCast.
Indeed, everyone we encountered was awesome. Thanks to you all for playing a part in our trip being so much fun. My only regrets in this arena are that the people we did see were seen all too briefly, and there also were a few folks with whom we never managed to connect. I’m hoping we get a chance to rectify that oversight soon. I’m already looking forward to my next opportunity to hang out again, wherever that might be.