Con Review: Trinoc*CoN 2005

Trinoc2005by Cindy Hutchins


July 15-17, 2005
Durham, North Carolina

Trinoc is a con of polar opposites. There was really cool but poorly organized programming, and enthusiastic but small attendance and a friendly, but mostly invisible staff.

Programming was great, the panels I attended were interesting and the critter contest (create a costume for a plush bear and then enter it in the Masquerade) was too cute. They also had a lot of crafty stuff for people to do. The major problem was finding out where it was. There was no schedule in the programming book, just boards in front of each room announcing the schedule. This meant you had to run to each board to find out where any event was. Even guests seemed to have trouble figuring out where they were supposed to be.

Attendance was down, even the bartender for the hotel commented on this. I understand that they had some competition so maybe a new date is in order. Or maybe it’s still fallout from their last date change.

The staff, the ones I saw, were all very friendly. A couple of times when I asked where an event was held, I was referred to a board. Politely. But it wasn’t really the info I wanted. Moderators in the panels were knowledgeable and knew when to go with debate and when to move on and the people helping with the craft panels were very hands on and available. Unfortunately, there was no way to discern who was on staff and who wasn’t. I only saw three people all weekend that I could identify as staff members and this was mostly because they were standing behind the registration desk.

All this combined to cause a fair amount of frustration for people. I saw (and heard) many people searching frantically for where they needed to be.

The Gaming Room… Gaming was well attended, more so then the rest of the convention. Trinoc used to be a mostly literary con but is now drawing more gamers. Not a bad thing, but they may want to start billing themselves as a gaming convention. I walked through the room a couple of times and discovered that the Gaming Dealers were in the Gaming Room. Logical, right? I do game but not at cons and had I not been searching for the Dealer’s Room (which wasn’t to my mind very clearly marked) I would never have found them. Fortunately, it turned out that Gaming Dealers were the people who had what we wanted to buy.

I did get some face time with Joe Lansdale at the Nth Degree room party, one of my all time favorite writers and perhaps the coolest guy in the universe, so I had a great con.

No one was angry or disappointed, just… somber. Trinoc has so much going for it, a bright, creative staff, a good central location and great taste in guests. If they work out a couple of what are really minor bugs, this will be a wonderful little con.


Con Review: Trinoc*CoN 2004

TrinocCon2004by Michael D. Pederson


Trinoc*CoN 2004
July 23-25, 2004
Durham, North Carolina

Here’s a con that’s hard to classify. Trinoc*CoN runs the largest gaming room that I have ever seen at a small con but they aren’t a gaming convention. This gives them some wonderful opportunities. Lots of gamers pumps up the attendance, which means more cashflow for the con, so what you end up with is a 500 person con that only has half of that number participating in programming events. This means that Trinoc always has the feel of a very small intimate con yet they still manage to fill their room block and can afford to bring good guests in. This year they had Sharon Lee and Steve Miller as their Literary GoHs and Jael as Art GoH plus the usual assortment of other great pros and semi-pros. For me the highlight of this con is always its superb Literary Track. I was scheduled for five panels this year and we had a fine turnout and lively discussion at all of them. Another unusual feature of Trinoc this year was the attendees themselves. I saw very few of the regulars from other North Carolina cons (Stellarcon and ConCarolinas) that I attend. Instead I saw lots of friends from New York, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, Georgia, and Texas. Like I said, it’s a tough con to categorize but I always have a good time there.


Con Review: Trinoc*CoN 2003

Trinoc2003by Michael D. Pederson


Trinoc*CoN 2003
August 1-3, 2003
Durham, North Carolina

Summer conventions are tough. Who wants to compete with the beach, amusement parks, family vacations, or Pennsic? Well, Trinoc*CoN has bucked the system by successfully moving their convention from its well-attended October dates to the first weekend in August. Guests this year included Lawrence Watt-Evans (Literary), Ursula Vernon (Art), and Bruce Baugh (Gaming). Trinoc*CoN has built a reputation as a literary convention so I was surprised and impressed to see how much of their programming was dedicated to gaming, anime, and web comics. A very large (and well-ventilated) gaming room was kept open 24-hours as was the anime room which had the coolest sound and projection system that I’ve seen yet at a small convention, plus it sat up to 250 people. A good portion of Saturday night was spent crowded around the Nth Degree party room with several book dealers and the literary chair, discussing potential guests for next year’s Trinoc*CoN. I am always impressed to see that kind of interactivity between the con staff and the attendees. Trinoc*CoN 2004 is scheduled for July 23-25 ( Expect to see me there, even though I couldn’t get a good answer on why a capital “N”.