I had a great time attending Capclave 2013, which was held this past weekend in Gaithersburg, MD (at apparently the world’s oldest Hilton Hotel). The image to the left is a dodo, Capclave’s “mascot,” which is usually accompanied by the tagline: “Where reading is not extinct.”
According to the WSFA (Washington Science Fiction Association – the group the runs the convention) folks that I talked to, the presence of George R.R. Martin at the con more than doubled the expected attendance from 400 people to about 850 people, including a lot of Saturday walk-ins. Nevertheless, it never felt crowded to me…unless you were one of the people waiting in line for a George R.R. Martin signing, where his line wrapped around the interior of the hotel.
One of the funnier moments of the convention occurred Saturday night when George R.R. Martin, the Guest of Honor, accepted his gift from the con for being a guest. He mentioned a real-world project that aims to resurrect extinct species using reconstituted DNA. He noted that the mastodon was first on the list, but that the dodo was in the top ten — this drew some laughter from the crowd. Then he said, “Screw the dodo, let’s bring back the dire wolf.” This got a huge wave of laughter from the crowd, since everyone knows that the dire wolf features prominently in his novel, “The Game of Thrones,” as well as subsequent volumes in the series (plus the TV series).
I was only able to attend the convention on Saturday and Sunday. Since the convention was (relatively) local for me, I ended up driving to it each day. So I spent a good amount of time commuting through pouring rain.
Anyway, I spent most of my time at the convention in workshops. I’ll have separate posts about the workshops, since I have some good notes that I think might prove useful for other writers.
The workshops were obviously a highlight for me. More than one person told me they viewed Capclave as a “writer’s con” more than a “fan con.” I attended the following workshops:
Allen Wold’s Writer’s Workshop (2 sessions, totaling 3 hours)
— David Bartell, Andrew Fox, Allen Wold and Darcy Wold
Area 52 Military Science Fiction – Getting it Right (2 sessions, totaling 4 hours)
— Ron Garner, Brian Shaw and Janine Spendlove (all active or former Marines)
Creating Your Ebook (1 session, 2 hours)
— Neil Clarke, Hugo-winning editor of Clarkesworld magazine
— (2013/11/06) Some of his CSS from the session is now up on his blog
Plus, I attended some conventional panels that were also useful to writers, including:
Online Writing Tools
— Jaime Todd Rubin and Bud Sparhawk
Aircraft Carriers in Space!
— Christopher Weuve
Self-Publishing and You / DIY Publishing
— Jennifer Barnes, Andrew Fox, Jason Jack Miller, Betsy A. Riley and Steve H. Wilson
I also ended up having my picture taken with John G. Hemry, author of the Lost Fleet series, and Carolyn Ives Gilman, author of award-nominated novelettes like Arkfall (which I got her to sign) and last year’s The Ice Owl. I promised both of them that the picture would end up on my blog, and so they both will by the end of this week.
Overall, an excellent convention. I had a great time, got to work on my writing skills in a workshop, absorbed a ton of useful information for writers, bought some excellent books, and met some sterling people. Plus, the Philcon and Kansas City parties were very welcoming, and the Dark Quest Book Launch was a lot of fun, too.