RavenCon was this past April 20-22 in Richmond, VA. It is a convention focusing on “genre” fiction – sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery – in literature, as well as other media. This year was only its second year, but it has already been highly praised for the quality of its content and it’s organization. Guests of honor have included Terry Brooks (New York Times bestselling author, most noted for his Shannara series) in it’s inaugural year, and Robert J. Sawyer (Hugo and Nebula award winner for Best Novel) this past year.
Laura and I have had the pleasure of doing science panels during the last two conventions. Unsurprisingly, Laura’s focused her talks on NASA and space science, while I’ve been doing medicine and infectious diseases. These seem to have gone very well, and been excellently attended. I have been asked why a “science fiction” convention would have panels dealing with science; if you really need me to tell you that one needs to have a good understanding of objective scientific fact in order to write great fiction, then you’ve got a bit of life-pondering to do.
Here are some of the things I found great about RavenCon, in no particular order:
- Although I was unable to participate, the high school outreach, organized each year by Tee Morris, is brilliant on so many levels. A group of convention guests goes to Monacan High School near the convention to visit with the students. Laura had the opportunity to talk NASA with an astronomy class, which was very cool. She documents her experience here.
- Laura did two space-related talks, and I did a pandemic influenza panel entitled “The Once and Flu-ture Plague.” We also did a kaffe-klatch together, which was interesting and different and good. Everything was well attended, and everyone came with plenty of questions, which is the whole point, of course.
- Meeting Robert J. Sawyer was excellent. His latest novel, Rollback, sounds fascinating, and it’s going to get prioritized near the top of my “to read” list, I think. If you want to hear an great interview he gave Tee at the convention, check out the Special Edition #010 episode of the Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy here.
- Getting a chance to hang out with many of our favorite podcasters and authors is always a treat. I finally got the chance to meet the Geeklabel guys, and catch up with Tee Morris, Tony Ruggiero, “podcasting’s own” Rich Sigfrit, Paul Fischer and Martha Halloway, Rich White, and Stuart Jaffe, among many others.
- Laura has Flickr photos from Ravencon here.
Overall, an excellent and successful experience! Laura and I both look forward to participating again next year, and hopefully work with the convention organizers to expand the science track a bit more.
But now, Balticon looms…