Consuming Louisville’s Carnivorous Correspondent Jay Garmon gives us the inside scoop on Louisville’s sci-fi convention in his occasional column “ConGlomeration Chronicles.”
Here’s a paradox for you: It’s now chic to call yourself a geek, so why do so many self-described geeks shy away from perhaps the ultimate geek activity — a science fiction convention?
Don’t tell me it’s because you don’t actually like science fiction. Avatar didn’t gross $2.7 billion (and counting) because you don’t like sci-fi. Lost didn’t draw 10 million viewers per week and make JJ Abrams a household name because you don’t like boundary-stretching entertainment. JK Rowling, Charlaine Harris and Stephanie Meyer aren’t buying private islands with their quarterly royalty statements because you don’t care for a touch of the fantastic in your book club selections.
You guys love science fiction, fantasy and horror. So it isn’t the media or the genres being celebrated at a science fiction convention that keeps you away.
Is it us, your uncloseted fellow geeks? I promise there isn’t one cliche or stereotype about the average sci-fi convention-goer that isn’t A) overstated and B) far more true of sports fans.
Creeped out by costumes? Believe me when I tell you that the guy in the carefully handcrafted chainmail armor and wool tunic is far more interesting — and far less violent — than the facepainted hooligan in the Peyton Manning jersey screaming for the opposing quarterback’s head on a pike.
Social awkwardness put you off? Again, the chainmail armor guy can probably recite you an Elizabethan sonnet — possibly in Elvish or Klingon — while Captain Facepaint is more likely to regale you with tales of the reserve flex receiver on his second fantasy football team.
And the infamous geek smell? I promise that eight hours of cosplay and filking produce a more fragrant aroma than an equal time tailgating, public binge-drinking, and screaming school fight songs from the nickle seats.
So if it’s not the people that should be keeping you away, and it’s not the subject matter, then there’s really only one explanation for why you’ve never been to a science fiction convention.
You don’t know what you’re missing.
Here’s a sci-fi convention in a nutshell: A 50-hour theme party with a few hundred smart, creative, passionate people talking and singing and dancing and gaming the weekend away, with the most successful and thought-provoking books, movies and TV shows providing our inspiration. But I’m biased in my descriptions, perhaps the same way you could be biased in your assumptions about sci-fi cons.
Why don’t you tell us what’s keeping you away from ConGlomeration, Louisville’s local science fiction convention. Maybe we can fix it, and maybe you can finally cross the threshold into true, unrepentant, joyous geekdom.