At Dragon*Con, I was on three panels and had one autograph session. My first panel was Saturday afternoon at 1:00 in the Hyatt, where we discussed the roles of religion and magic in fantasy literature. We covered everything from the ground rules authors must establish for their systems of magic to the mirroring of Catholicism in a fantasy world. It was an informative and spirited discussion, and the audience was very attentive.
The second panel was that evening at 8:30, also in the Hyatt. This panel discussed the uses of non-human races within a narrative to reveal elements of human nature. We discussed why we chose the particular races we utilize, how we make them fresh and innovative, and how we develop their cultures and societies. One author, James Maxey, uses dragons as his primary antagonists and had some excellent points about how he developed the three races of dragons in his world. He and I had a lot in common, and I wish we could’ve sat and talked for a while, but it was late Saturday night when we finished. The other non-human races discussed included zombies, vampires, werewolves, and of course dwarves. We had a pretty big audience, and the discussion was awesome.
My autograph session was Sunday morning at 10:00 in the Marriott. That’s how you know you’re one of the lower-tier guests, having your moment in the spotlight before 90% of the attendees have even awakened for the day. I did have a handful of stragglers wander by and ask who the heck I was, but the autograph session was not one of my highlights of the weekend. On a side note, if you’ve not been inside the Marriott Grand Marquis in Atlanta, you need to see this place. It’s freaking amazing.
My last panel was Monday at 10:00, also in the Marriott. It was an educational panel on incorporating science fiction/fantasy into grade school curriculum to promote literacy. Without a doubt, this was the best panel of the weekend for me, my two biggest passions rolled together in one discussion. The audience was entirely comprised of teachers and librarians, and the information we received from them was just as insightful as anything we could offer. I was most impressed by Davey Beauchamp, an author and librarian from North Carolina. He had some great stories about developing ways to get kids involved with reading by relating books to their current hobbies.
Overall, I feel like I did well on my panels, and I hope that a few of the books I gave out will be read and well-received. Only time will tell.