All Quiet – Philcon 2016

It has once again been a week since I returned from Philcon and I could almost just re-post last year’s review. I went back and read the post convention review I did last year before I started in on this one. This review and that will be remarkably similar.

There were differences and they were notable, but the portion that continues to worry me is the attendance. It was dead there. I mean to the point where I wondered if the convention was actually still open a couple of times. I can only believe this desperately low attendance drove some of the other factors. I know the sales numbers were crushingly low for a couple of the folks in the vendor’s area. There looked like a lot of no-shows in there. The art show was slim pickings, including a couple of no-shows. The artist guest of honor had 4 or 5 sections and beyond that there were only a handful of artists on display. I won’t disparage the quality – they were and are fine artists, it just seemed to be very small. The freebie and flyers area in front of the vendor room wasn’t full – and there’s ALWAYS somebody looking to get word of mouth out there that way. I continue to worry for this con, but they seem to survive.

My schedule was decent for the weekend. None of the panels had huge attendance. Lots of empty seats. My favorite panel was the first one on the list – the best of military science fiction. I was really looking forward to being on that panel with Barry Longyear, but alas he was unable to attend… no-shows are starting to feel like a theme here too. Anyway – if you haven’t ever checked out his work, see if you can dig up a copy of “It Came From Schenectady”. The forward of the book makes me laugh every time I read it. It’s from the early 1980s and still works. That’s just the forward. The stories are wonderful. There’s some really good stuff in there.


The programming was good. It was in fact better and more timely than the past 2 conventions I’ve been invited too. There was a dud of a panel in there that I consider a tremendous missed opportunity, but that had everything to do with the moderator and nothing to do with the topic itself. All in all I think I held my own. I have made panel suggestions for next year and I think the panels will continue to be strong.

I didn’t stay in the con hotel this year. It’s the first time I’ve stayed off site for a con. It worked and was a really good thing to save the expense of the hotel. What else it did was pretty much eliminate any shenanigans or chances for weird encounters late at night in the hotel. No pizza, no elevator roulette. Just quiet really.

I actually feel like that’s as much review as I need. There just wasn’t much. I hope to go back again next year – and I hope a lot of folks join me.


It’s difficult to believe that my next convention is less than a week away. I’m very happy to have been invited to be one of the guests at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society’s annual gathering.

It has taken me some time to sort of get into the groove with this convention as opposed to others, but I’m now at a point where I really look forward to seeing folks and having interesting discussions. I don’t know that any experience at Philcon will ever top Defend the Pizza. That’s a tough act to follow, but who knows right?

I hope you get out to the convention. IF you’re looking for me, here is my con schedule:

Fri 7:00PM in Plaza II (Two) – The Best of Military SF
Fri 8:00PM in Plaza V (Five) – Learning to be an Effective Panel Moderator

Sat 12:00PM in Plaza IV (Four) – The Changing Nature of Fandom
Sat 7:00PM in Executive Suite 823 – The eSpec Books Launch Party, Hour 1
Sat 8:00PM in Executive Suite 823 – The eSpec Books Launch Party, Hour 2


Birthday Time

There are times when I think that I should be posting more here than I do. I probably should. Thing is, when given the option I’m all in for family stuff. My kiddo is only going to be this age once and I’m not going to miss it.

Yesterday it was party time! She’s going to be 12 years old this week so we took a group of friends out for a day of party fun. Off to see the new movie Trolls first. Wasn’t my first choice for the weekend – but all the girls really wanted to go. Having been in the packed theater I suspect a certain Marvel movie will have serious competition for top spot of the weekend. I also have to say the cloud character has a part in the film that totally cracked me up.

After the movie it was off to the local game cafe for an entire afternoon of friendly competition and super fun table top games!


IF you’re in our area the Game Table Cafe is a worthy place to hang out. The girls all but destroyed their supply of chocolate chip cookies and took all the cold soda from the counter fridge. We played “MEOW” as a starter (right up their alley) and then ran through a bunch of other fun games. I think there may have been a “Connect 4” tournament that came out of the whole thing, but I’m not sure. I was beaten soundly in round one by one of the girls and couldn’t get back into a game!

After hours of games and fun invaded the pizza shop at the end of plaza for pizza and fries. Don’t think that growing boys have a monopoly on eating big. Those girls left the pizza trays spinning!

After the pizza there were a couple of gifts, but that wasn’t the focus of the day. We all went and had fun together. It was a great time. Totally worth every missed deadline and every missed post here.