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Thanks to my publisher, Grace (pictured with me), I had the opportunity to attend Dragon*Con this year. Simply put, this is a large sci-fi/fantasy convention held each year in Atlanta. In fact, it's many conventions rolled into one, including horror, anime, real-life science, and even "skepticism" (we backward religious folk know what that translates to). I'm not sure if skepticism is a genre of fiction now or what, but I did note that religious work was almost completely unrepresented. The two of us were there to see if Splashdown Books could change that.
The imbalance between skepticism/religion wasn't so surprising. As Christ has been pushed out of scientific circles on the one side, and the fanbase has become more agnostic on the other, it was only natural for the sci-fi/fantasy community to throw all things godly into the "myth" box. The recent work that is Christian is a far cry from being attractive to these audiences (why oh why is Ayn Rand on my Top Novels list and nothing Christian?). A big part of this problem is that 18-34 males (plentiful at Dragon*Con) are not a target audience for big Christian authors and publishers, even supposedly sci-fi/fantasy ones. I've read that work. Now I know how people feel when they try light beer.
There was a ray of light on the second day of the convention, when they had the parade through the streets of Atlanta (awesome in itself). There was a group called Fans for Christ, which I'll provide a link to . They're basically there to show the convention-goers that not all believers are so quick to judge. Christians can be into High Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons, Anime, even Goth culture without compromising our faith. (Never been involved with goths myself, but one of Grace's other authors does write to that audience. Shucks, here's another link .) They even invited me to a church service right at the convention on Sunday. I'd already made church plans with a local friend, but just the thought of a church service being held at the Con warmed my heart.
Actually, the skeptics probably had a service too. Just replace the Bible with On the Origin of Species, and "God lovingly created" with "Nature lovingly created", and they're good to go. ;)
This was my first convention since, I suppose, going to car shows when I was a kid. I didn't know what to expect and there was certainly enough to keep me busy. In the end, I got to soak in maybe a fifth of it. I suppose I'll be back sooner or later; sooner if Splashdown is involved. That aside, as an author, I'm not sure I got that much out of it. I don't focus on marketing, don't care who is selling oodles of books (unless I like the books), and aren't willing to pay $40 for someone's autograph. The atmosphere in general, though, I did value. I could feel the creative energy there. It was enough to make me wonder about the conventions in South Florida. Perhaps a day trip to one of them would be a good investment.
Just to think... All these people could become Caffeine readers! :D
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