Conglomeration 2007

August 12, 2007

All in all, Conglomeration was a fun time. Some of the panels were ‘eh’ to kayleigh and I — “the power behind tarot cards?” — but GoH Ben Bova, like David Drake at Millennicon earlier this year, was very pleasant, and interesting and knowledgeable on a variety of subjects. kayleigh and I wondered aloud at the prospect of the both Drake and Bova on the same panel some day.

Bova’s “panels” were actually one man discussions. There was no panel at all, just Dr. Bova discussing the subject at hand, like space tourism, immortality and aging, or solving modern problems with technology, with audience participation. He did this with finese and good humor, and, as far as I’m concerned, a remarkable amount of patience with some annoying audience members. While letting the audience comment or ask questions, Bova didn’t let certain audience members hijack the discussion or distract from the subject at hand. The group around the previously mentioned Fartman, for example, did this last year at Conglomeration and at other regional cons I’ve seen them at. I cringe when a couple of them open their mouths and interrupt.

“I think that may have lost something in the translation,” Dr. Bova said in response to one’s rambling and seemingly unrelated comment. “I’m not finished speaking,” he reminded another who kept trying to interrupt him. I felt like standing up and applauding.  It must be very difficult to be a panelist or GoH sometimes.

In the hall between panels, kayleigh and Dr. Bova briefly discussed her suggestion that he consider attendance at Context soon, something he seemed open to. He admitted he’s usually in New Mexico during that time of year, and only attends one or two cons a year these days, but there’s always the possibility. He was also kind enough to autograph one of his books for me.

There was a hilarious “Whose Line is it Anyway?” show during the intermission of the Masquerade, and, as I said before, a very good “Artist’s Studio” interview with Dr. Bova at the start of the con (only soiled, in a very literal sense, by Fartman). And of course, kayleigh and I managed to pick up still more art for our walls.

Next year, Conglomeration moves to April due to scheduling conflicts. This should help them pick up some more attendees who go to other cons in the fall. Walter Koenig, of Star Trek and Babylon-5 fame, will be there, as will A.C. Crispin.

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