Con Review: SheVaCon 13

Shevacon13by Brandon Blackmoor


SheVaCon 13
February 25-27, 2005
Roanoke, Virginia

SheVaCon was great, as always. Here are some high spots:

Registration was a breeze. There was no line at all at 5:00 when we arrived. We got our badges and then checked into the hotel. The Holiday Inn Roanoke Tanglewood is a terrific hotel. The room was large and included frills like a refrigerator, microwave, and Wi-Fi.

We didn’t do much Friday night but roam around and go to a few panels. I attended a sparsely-attended workshop on miniature painting by Bob Snare. I learned quite a bit, to my surprise. Turns out I have been doing washes and dry-brushing wrong all this time. Well, maybe not wrong, but his figures definitely look better than most of mine. I’m going to try his technique on the next few I paint.

Lots going on Saturday. In the morning to early afternoon, I ran a Champions game, “The Testament of Dr. Destroyer.” Five people played: only one had ever played Hero System before. To say the game was lively would be an understatement. I am sure the other people in the room would have liked us to be quieter. Fortunately, I don’t think any of them were actually gaming. SheVaCon isn’t really a gaming convention, alas. Maybe they’d attract more gamers if the game listing on the website was kept up to date. The SheVaCon website is under new management this year, so hopefully, it will be better for 2006. Another thing they could do better is post the game schedule on-site in a legible format. What was posted near the game room was like a tenth-generation Xerox copy of a Gantt chart. It also did not help that the RPGA games were in the convention area, and anything else was hidden away on the fifth floor, without any indication of its being there. All in all, the con could do much better in the gaming arena.

After the game, I visited the Con Suite, which was terrific, as always. I do wish people would let the hot dogs finish cooking before grabbing them, though.

SheVaCon seems to attract a literary crowd, at least in terms of guests. Most of the panels that I attended were concerned with the art and science of science fiction writing and publishing. Interesting stuff. I did not get into the Masquerade itself, because it was standing-room-only by the time I got there. Still, they all had to walk by me in the hallway to leave, so I got a good long gawk at the costumes. The ones which stand out in my memory were Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmations, the evil fairy Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and the character Rayne from the Bloodrayne computer game. These were all good, but the one that really impressed me was Rayne. She pegged the costume exactly, and she matched it physically, right down to the hair.

There was an unusual event on Saturday: the world premiere of a movie called Apocalypse. Wow, was it bad: real Mystery Science Theater material. But the people who put on the show, which included the director and a few of the actors, were all good sports, and treated us to a terrific catered dinner.

The high point of Saturday, of course, was the Nth Degree party. SheVaCon’s schedule for Saturday night didn’t amount to much more than various people reading their own stories out loud, which has never thrilled me. I’d much rather talk to them one-on-one at the party. Various folks associated with Meisha Merlin Publishing were in attendance, and were a pleasure to chat with, as always. The Writer GoH, L.E. Modesitt, was there as well. And I had the opportunity to pick up a book for a friend: A Million Shades of Gray, by John C. Hertel. How many parties have you gone to where you can get a book signed by the author right in front of you?

Sunday is the day to browse the Dealer’s Room and spend any leftover cash that somehow hid in the bottom of your pockets all weekend. I came really close to buying some Reaper miniatures, but didn’t, since I’ve been spending way too much on stupid, ugly, plastic HeroClix to use as figures in our Champions games, and I need to take a break from spending money on gaming crap for a while. My wife picked up a book on writing, The Complete Guide To Writing Fantasy.

After that was saying good-bye and feeling bummed because the convention was over: that post-convention malaise.


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