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MidSouthCon 17

Copyright 1999 by Leigh Kimmel. Permission granted to reprint for non-profit fannish publications.

MidSouthCon 17 was held over the weekend of March 26-28 at the Four Points Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. We got an early start and arrived at a little before noon on Friday so we'd have plenty of time to get stuff in and set up before the dealers' room opened.

That was when we discovered two nasty little surprises. First, the dealers' tables weren't assigned -- they were first come, first served, catch as catch can. Second, several of the tables that were supposed to be eight-foot were only six feet long. We did manage to get two tables in a fairly decent position, and a quick talk with the person in charge of the dealer's room got a pro-rated refund for the missing two feet of the six-foot table we got stuck with.

So we got everything hauled into position and set up in time for the dealers' room to open. I also got my art on the art show, although not without a little trouble and nervous moments because I hadn't gotten any paperwork ahead of time and there was some question about whether space would be available. However I did discover that the con did have an excellent con suite, although they were a little late in opening.

That evening it was time for my first panel -- Win Lose or Draw. This was a variation of the familiar game, but in which the titles of well-known sf/fantasy novels, short stories and movies were the subjects to be guessed. I did fairly well, although there were a few stumpers. I won a package of six big cookies as a consolation prize.

Then there was barely time to grab a bite of called-in pizza for supper before I hurried off to my second panel. This was "Writers come in Assorted Styles," with Beecher Smith, Gary Hollerman and CS Williams. We talked about different approaches to writing, and in particular how we dealt with the problem of evil in our books.

After that a quick look around determined that there were no parties to be seen, so we decided to turn in early for the night.

The next morning, after a quick breakfast we headed down to get our tables ready for another day. Things were fairly quiet, unfortunately, and I was able to get quite a bit of writing done on a short story that I had been noodling about for a while. I did periodically go over to check my stuff at the art show, and I was quite happy to discover that two of my plaques had sold for the quick-sale prices. This would be some welcome income for someone who was already quite strapped for cash.

In the late afternoon it was time for the art show. I sat in on it, although I didn't have anything up for auction, because I wanted to see what kinds of things were being sold. There were some really interesting pieces going for pretty good money.

My next panel came immediately afterward, "Artists: Comic vs. Canvas." This got into a discussion of the problems with several well-known comic book artists whom some of the panelists considered to be copying other artists too extensively, to the point that each scene could be linked directly to specific scenes in other people's works.

Afterward we made a quick trip to the con suite before turning in early, since there weren't any parties that night either.

Sunday morning we got up and got our personal belongings packed and out of the room. Then we went down to the dealers' room to get things ready. I also had two panels. The first was "A Look Inside an Artist's Mind," which was a sort of Artists' Jam in which we were given paper and markers and asked to do an impromptu mural on a specific theme. When it was done, we all signed it and the art director packed it away to be auctioned as a charity piece in the following year's auction. The second, "Which Author would you Like to Meet, Marry or Murder?" was a chance for everybody to name their favorite heroes and villains among the science fiction community, with a lot of discussion (all of it friendly) about the flaws of certain well-known pros and BNF's.

Then it was time for the dealers' room to close. We got everything packed back up and carted out just as the sky was threatening rain. When everything was safely stowed for the return journey, we made one last quick trip to the con suite before heading off on the long trip back north.

Copyright 1999 by Leigh Kimmel. Permission granted to reprint for non-profit fannish publications

For permission to quote or reprint in other publications, contact Leigh Kimmel

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