Con Review: StellarCon 34

stellarcon34by Michael D. Pederson

 

StellarCon 34
March 5–7, 2010
High Point, North Carolina

This year’s StellarCon was something of a letdown. Problems started early. Guest invitations weren’t sent out until a month before the convention and my schedule wasn’t sent to me until two days before the convention (with a note saying that some panels were still in need of panelists). This might explain why there seemed to be far fewer programming guests than in years past, as well as fewer panels to attend. That’s a true shame because StellarCon has always put together an extremely good programming grid. In addition to having fewer panels to choose from, the organization was horrible. Information on the pocket program seemed to be randomly listed; believe me, we tried to make sense of them but activities weren’t grouped by times, rooms, genre or alphabetically. According to the pocket program, there was one panelist who was supposed to be in three places at the same time. It made for a very confusing weekend.

That’s not to say that there weren’t a few highlights. StellarCon booked a trio of Star Wars authors as their main Guests of Honor—Aaron Allston, Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn—and the three were highly visible and very accessible all weekend. The guest roster was rounded out by Doug Chaffee (Art GoH), Steve Long (Gaming GoH) and Regina Kirby (Fan GoH). From a personal standpoint, I was very excited to see the return of Inside the StellarCon Studios. This was the fourth year that StellarCon has run the panel—after a two-year hiatus. It’s a fun and interesting format for the GoH presentations and it doesn’t hurt that I always get to host it.

Also on the plus side, it was clear that next year’s concom knew that there were problems. As early as Friday afternoon they were running around making plans for next year and assuring people that things would be better. Their first formal act was to book Todd McCaffrey as next year’s Author Guest of Honor.

 

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