Dragon Con 2018: The afterglow lives on

DragonCon2018CLFA salutes Dragon Con staff and volunteers for another marvelous celebration of science fiction and fantasy that we as fans and creators have come to know and love. We were gratified to note that, unlike several high-profile cons who over the last few years struggled to maintain their original spirit, DragonCon remains a place run by and for the fans, open and welcoming to all.

It was especially encouraging to see the wide range of creators, publishers, and affiliated professionals represented at the Third Annual Dragon Awards. While it is naïve to hope that divisions within the fandom can be healed over a single weekend, it appears possible that we all can put aside our differences, if only temporarily, to acknowledge and reward the top creative achievements in the SFF field, as determined by our fans and supporters.

CLFA congratulates our long-time member Sarah A. Hoyt on a well-deserved win in the Alternative History genre for Uncharted  (co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson). As in prior years, several CLFA members made it into the finals, competing against the heavy hitters like Brandon Sanderson, Stephen King, and Andy Weir. In our opinion, it truly was the case that sometimes the nomination is an honor in itself. Best of luck to all, and we hope to see you on the list again next year and for many years to come!

Many of our members have participated in the panel discussions, and once again Dragon Con came through in terms of representing all of the fandom when it came to the selection of topics and panelists. While some of the topics and themes were certainly controversial, all voices had the opportunity to be heard. This should be the case everywhere, but especially when it comes to the creative field that is built around using our ideas and imagination to create new worlds and imagine the possibilities of real-life societal progress. Unfortunately, we can’t list every CLFA member who participated in panels due to the limits of space, but kudos to all for presenting and discussing the countless creative ideas and topics in a cordial and entertaining manner. Special shout-out to Larry Correia and his lovely and gracious (and funny) better half for the “Spotlight on Larry Correia” fan experience. And who could forget John Ringo and Mike Massa at the “No Kidding, There I Was…” military-themed true stories panel? (No, we will not re-tell them in this post; you had to be there).

Sadly, these are times full of strife and division, where families, life-long friendships, and professional relationships break up over ideological disagreements. Creative fields in general and SFF fandom in particular seem especially vulnerable, which is disheartening in view of how much influence art and storytelling have on the society at large. It is, therefore, especially delightful to note that Dragon Con remains a wonderful refuge for those who only want to connect with fellow fans and have fun together. This is what true diversity look like. This is how you provide a welcoming place for everyone that includes ample opportunity for both self-expression and learning. Here is an example of resounding success that can and should be studied by some of our corporate giants who have lately been trending towards ever more stifling and exclusionary policies. And for us at CLFA, here is encouragement and hope that our culture, and our society as a whole, can rediscover the things that unite us and rally around them instead of finding new ways to splinter and more issues over which to disagree. Geeks may or may not save the world (science fiction is somewhat divided on the subject), but with Dragon Con we have a glimpse of how it could be made better. And perhaps for that alone, we should be thankful.

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