|Science Fiction Convention|
|Focus:||science fiction, fantasy|
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Convention Report: 29
MileHiCon is a general SF con that has lasted well over a generation and has become a Denver institution. From 1969 to the present, it is still going strong. In fact, there has been a Beetem on the ConCom or Con Staff of every MileHiCon since the very beginning. The guests keep coming back year after year, and not just because they may be on the ConCom. This year's guests included, in absolutely no particular order, George Johnsen (co-producer of B5 and Media GoH), Mike Resnick (GoH), S.M. Stirling (GoH), Liz Danforth (Artist GoH), Ed Bryant (Toastmaster), Mike Stackpole, Bob Vardeman, David and Daniel Dvorkin (one of the few father- son writing teams in SF), John Stith, Connie Willis, S.P. Somtow, and many more that I've probably forgotten. Events at MileHiCon included the usual Art Auction, Costume Contest, panels, gaming, videos, Vampire Birthday Party, Literacy auction, and doll masquerades, as well as the infamous Critter Crunch (robot demolition derby). The Critter Crunch's fame (or infamy) is spreading - a version of it was hosted in an Atlanta convention this past year! The 24-hour Con Suite was fully stocked with many well- appreciated snacks, and folks congregated there and conversed with any and everyone until the wee hours of morning.
Short BibliographyOf course, this year, one of the events included the Denver Blizzard. It started on Friday, proceeded to close the city as well as Denver International Airport (or Denver Incompetent Airport), and finally cleared by Monday morning. Except for those that had to leave on Sunday (Mike Resnick ended up taking a domestic odyssey to get back to Cinncinati), or those who never made it to the hotel until Sunday (Ed Bryant missed most of the con!), it didn't affect the con much. Aside from the lack of cleaning staff, the restaurant's lack of some service staff and varieties of food, and the ever-present weather reports on the hour (more or less), that is. Let's face it, how often do fen venture from the hotel during a con? Although Connie Willis said that she and her family did stock up on candy from the vending machines, just in case... By the end of the con, the official nickname of DonnerCon was coined and chosen.
This year was the first year Iíve gone to MileHiCon, although Dee has gone almost every year. Of course, for her, itís practically a family reunion. I started my MileHiCon visit by helping Rose (Deeís sister) with the Green Room for the guests and panelists on Friday night. The Green Room was abandoned after it became obvious that no one else was going to make it after Friday night. I then helped out on Saturday morning being a Program Track Manager. This was actually irrelevant given that all the guests knew exactly where they were supposed to be, what they were supposed to talk about, and, in the occasion that they were pinch-hitting for someone stuck in the snow, what they could fake. As a result, I missed most of Fridayís panels, and on Saturday morning saw lots of little bits of panels.
The panels covered everything from how to write to NASA to fannish birds and the bees. (I didn't attend that one; I find that some zines tell me everything I need to know, and much I didn't want to know...) Dee served on an Alternate History panel with S.M. Stirling and Mike Resnick, who debated and explored the ramifications of writing an Alternate History story. Other panels discussed lost Golden Age SF classics, SF turkeys that got published, Dracula at 100, Shared Worlds, Tolkien and Fantasy, Cloning, and Mars exploration. Of course, other panels/games sandwiched the more "serious" panels: Spicy Campfire Stories, Science Fiction Pictionary, Alien Talk Shows, and the Science Trivia Bowl, for starters.
But enough about the panels. How were the guests? Each and every guest, panelist, speaker, and artist can be best described as fannish and fun. MileHiCon is the type of con that the guests mingle freely with the crowds, and where you can sit and talk with an author or artist for hours. I talked until the early morning with S.M. (Steve) and Jan Stirling about anything and everything, from Terry Pratchett to Santa Fe. I watched the B5 bloopers with David Dvorkin and his wife. I reminisced about El Paso cons and fandom with Bob Vardeman, and chatted about pulps, movies, sports, and SF with Mike Resnick. I found myself next to Daniel Dvorkin while hurling the usual abuse at the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I never did get that snowball fight going, tho... only Mike Stackpole and Daniel Dvorkin were interested. Oh well, what a waste of snow. Connie Willis regaled us with tales of collaboration and the real stories behind her fiction. Mike Resnick told us tales of the Silver Age of Fandom, and handed out advice to would-be writers. Steve Stirling described battles and foreign climes, and Bob Vardeman told us about some very interesting parties he went to at WorldCon this year.All in all, an absolutely fun and worthwhile con to go to. Year after year, and itís well on the way to being generation after generation.