SheVaCon 18 (Feb. 26-28, 2010)

Whenever a newspaper writes about SheVaCon, a convention which has been going on for 18 years at various locations, the article always focuses on the most visible aspect of the con — the costumes. Here is an example from The Roanoke Times:

Science fiction fans dress up for roles at SheVaCon

For me, the major value of SheVaCon is the panels (it has more panels, and more varied panel topics, than any other similar convention in this part of Virginia) and seeing old friends in the SF community whom I probably see only once a year, at SheVaCon.

The major guests this year were Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” movies; authors Kevin J. Anderson and his wife, Rebecca Moesta, and artists Stephen Hickman.

Anderson gave a talk aimed at aspiring writers on how to be more productive. His advice included the usual recommendation to write every day. He shared some of his writing habits, such as dictating into a recorder while taking outdoors hikes and nature walks; switching from one writing project to another when the first project begins to become a little boring, and switching from the actual writing part (his favorite part) to research or editing, and getting out away from his desk and doing things new to him, such as a community college course in some topic with which he is unfamiliar, or going to some sporting or other event he does not regularly attend, simply to refresh himself with ideas that do not come only from reading SF or fantasy.

Not everyone on the guest list showed up, but there were plenty to fill the panels, and audiences at science-fiction conventions always have plenty of comments of their own so no panel topic ever bogs down. A few of the writers I remember best this year were David Bartell, who has scored a number of stories in Analog magazine; Pamela Kinney, whose output includes horror, fantasy and SF as well as non-fiction about “haunted” places in Richmond; Peter Prellwitz, who has churned out a large number of short novels; Allen Wold, who has a number of novels to his credit; Steve White, a Baen Books novelist, and Gail Z. Martin, a fantasy author.

There seemed, as always, to be something for everyone, whether the interest was in writing, art, gaming, costuming, movies, anime, or prowling the dealers’ room in search of books, games, jewelry, buttons, you name it. There was spirited bidding at the art auction for all kinds of artwork.

A sad note this year was the passing of Blair Grimm, who had worked with SheVaCon for years and who died Dec. 24, 2009. Gina Canady Adler, who found herself suddenly in the position of con chairwoman, stepped up so the convention did not miss a beat.

Next year’s SheVaCon is planned in Roanoke for Feb. 25-27, 2011. The only guest announced so far is artist Matt Busch. On-line pre-registration will get underway in April at the following site:

Paul Dellinger, Y-30 Staff