The Pros at Cons A Review of Convolution 2014: Halfway Home Part 1
By Jae Gibbs
September 25-28, at the SFO Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, CA
Day One: “What the Heck is Convolution?”
I had heard about Convolution when I attended Kubla-Con, a gaming convention which was also held at the Burlingame Hyatt a few months ago. The thing is when I heard about it, I didn’t hear much. What is Convolution? I was told it was just a general pop-culture convention, then a sci-fi and fantasy specific convention, then that it was about writers and finally that it was supposed to be focusing on sci-fi and the ways that fans of science fiction communicate and interact with one another. That still seemed very nonspecific to me, but I liked the concept and the location and I had heard something about a lot of the proceeds from the Con going to local charities, so why not, right?
As time went on I periodically would check the site to see if any more specific updates were added, but I was disappointed by the lack of user-friendly data on the site. I had a nearly impossible time finding usable links to the named guests’ websites, the accurate schedule for each of the days, or even a clear mission statement for the theme and reason for holding the convention this year (or how it related to charity, or how long this specific Con had been held at said location… ) so it was all rather frustrating, especially for Dave, who didn’t know if it was worth paying for a badge to go for just me or if he should (and would be able to) attend himself, or if we should try setting up a booth there this or next year. “I have no patience for bad marketing or poor web design,” he told me, and I was sad to agree. Things looked grim.
Due to all this plus unforeseen schedule conflicts, neither David nor myself were able to attend day one of Convolution, and that’s a shame. A friend of mine, author Fred Wiehe, was giving a lecture that day on something he knows a great deal about: Witches, Vampires and the Walking Dead (The Walking Dead image of The Walking Dead category.)
You can check out His book, “Alreric: Monster Hunter” on Amazon. This is how and when I realized that’s what this convention was all about: authors and artists and craftspeople taking their wares straight to the people and teaching them how to do these things themselves for fun and profit. It’s not just about going to Con to show off and argue and prove your fandom is better or your geek cred more true, it’s about community and education. That’s a worthy cause which feels very close to my heart.