Not all first year fandom conventions can be great. In fact, as they are logistical and scheduling nightmares, few are. And fewer still survive to enjoy a second year to get it right. I am proud to say that Huntsville, Alabama’s Rocket City NerdCon is one of the few. I sincerely hope that it will not only continue but thrive with each passing year.
Who am I to make this proclamation? Well, I had the privilege of appearing as an author guest at RCNC this past weekend. And I am happy to report that it not only met but exceeded my expectations, which were quite high after hearing that it would be located at the main branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, a spacious facility run by a dedicated staff.
Knowing that I had to be a part of convention history in the making, I stocked up on muscle relaxers and ibuprofen, strapped on my portable E-stem device, and rocketed toward the Rocket City. Greeted by the courteous, helpful convention staff, a combination of library workers and volunteers, I received mechanical assistance to help me load-in my books and materials to my table on the second floor, which kept me from having to take a half dozen trips to the car.
As I set up my displays and promotional materials, I surveyed the aisles of books around me. I felt humbled and thankful to be present among volumes produced by masters of my chosen craft. Whether it involved escaping into a fantastical world crafted by writers of fiction or pouring through dusty reference materials for research purposes, libraries have always felt like home to me. And as an adolescent harboring dreams of becoming either a professional writer or Indiana Jones, I had been to this one before. Returning to it for Rocket City Nerdcon as a published author and seasoned field archaeologist felt like Odysseus returning home, without all of the nasty business of a bunch of guys hitting on my significant other.
Like home, familiar faces welcomed me, familiar odors greeted me, and even a familiar band played in the background while I tried to convince people passing by to read The Cycle of Ages Saga and other unforgettable products from Dark Oak Press. On display before a sea of strangers, I experienced a level of comfort that I am unaccustomed to most places in the Deep South, even in my favorite haunts like libraries, museums, and deep woodland archaeological sites. After months of near isolation, depression, and creative blockages, the result of pain and suffering from an injury on one of those remote excavations, I feel restored by these familiar, even familial energies summoned forth by the powers responsible for this amazing first year convention.
For that, I am thankful to all of those involved in its planning, preparation, and execution. From chairs that provided adequate lumbar support for my herniated discs to a top notch convention staff, I cannot say enough good things about Rocket City NerdCon and hope that this is just the start of another fine tradition for the city of Huntsville. And a recurrent second home for wayward writers like me.
In addition, I would like to thank the fans and those who chose to take a chance on the weird, wild stories written by those published by Dark Oak. And I would like to thank my good friend Donovan DeArment and his family for sheltering me at their home and helping me with my table over the course of the weekend. Know that all of you are associated in my heart and mind with such a happy moment that the very thought of it will propel me higher than Peter Pan himself.