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Pi-Con

Yesterday Nomi and I drove out to Pi-Con for the day.

Pi-Con is a new science fiction convention that started just this year in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Originally we hadn't planned to go, what with Readercon in July and L.A.con IV in just a few weeks. But then L.A.con was no longer a possibility, and Nomi pointed out that we could do a daytrip to Pi-Con. So we told programming that yes, we'd be there on Sunday, and agreed to do a bunch of panels.

We got up before 7 AM and Nomi went out to Kupel's to get us bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. We left home around 8 AM, and drove straight down I-90 for about an hour and a half, until we arrived at the convention hotel.

When we got there, we both discovered that we were listed as moderators for some of our panels. When I had filled out my sign-up sheet, I had noted that I was willing to be on panels but not as a moderator, as I needed to take a break from moderating after Readercon. So I wasn't expecting to be listed as a moderator, even though I had already known that most of the panels consisted of only two or three people. As it is, I kind of shrugged it off and figured with panels those size most discussions would end up being free-flowing anyway.

Nomi's first panel was at 10 AM, and I had no panel at that time, so I sat in on hers: Religion and Spirituality in Fandom. The other panelist was David Honigsberg, and there were three people in the audience other than me. Nomi and David did an excellent job of exploring the topic, even beyond Judaism.

Nomi went off to the other room to do her other four panels, and I stayed to do mine. My first panel was Psychoanalyzing Superman, with Brian Rust. I had been reading Danny Fingeroth's book Superman on the Couch and I had it with me, so I used it as a springboard for our discussion. We had five people for most of the panel, and two more joining us near the end, so we had a nice back-and-forth on the topic.

My second panel was Worldbuilding, with David Honigsberg as the moderator and Keith R.A. DeCandido (LJ: kradical) as the other panelist. David did an excellent job of moderating the panel; he had a bunch of questions ready and Keith and I took turns answering them.

At 1 PM, Keith, Terri Osborne (LJ: terri_osborne) and I were on a panel titled Professional Writers Q&A. The theory here was that audience members could ask us questions and we would answer them. But there was only one attendee, and she only had a few questions to ask. Furthermore, her questions really weren't about professional writing. The attendee was someone who grew up in Queens, like I did, and who had graduated from my high school nine years after I had. She was familiar with my work and just had a question or two about where I grew up and my upcoming stories. I was happy to meet her and to answer the questions, and then she left to check out Nomi's panel on Small Press Publishing. So the rest of us adjourned to Nomi's panel as well.

My final panel was Short Stories, Novellas & Doorstops with Terri Osborne. No one showed up for about ten minutes, and then we had one audience member walk in. Terri and I talked about the differences between shorter and longer works, and I tried to add some thoughts about the commercial versus artistic needs of the market. We kind of ran out of steam after a while, but the audience member seemed happy with what we had said.

After we finished with our panels, Nomi and I had lunch with Keith and Terri, and we talked about cons, and writing, and the Bronx. Afterwards, Nomi and I drove home and decided that we were too tired to go out anywhere else again. So we watched lots of season five of Stargate SG-1 on DVD instead, as we're hoping to catch "Wormhole X-Treme!" before the 200th episode airs this weekend.

Copyright © Michael Burstein

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December 2016

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