The The Trionc*coN 2004 Report

"Trinoc*coN is an annual speculative fiction conference held in Durham, North Carolina, that supports the exploration of the science fields, their related technologies, and celebrates those creative arts that strive to answer the great 'What if?'. Trinoc*coN is dedicated to the promotion of imaginative inquiry into all aspects of speculative fiction and scientific exploration--its past, its present, and especially its future." Since Trinoc*coN is practically in our back yard, we dropped by for this year's edition. The con ran July 23-25, 2004, at the Durham Marriott and Civic Center; however, we were only able to attend on Saturday, July 24th.

For the first time that I can think of, I actually got to sleep late on the day of a con. Gasp! I wasn't sure what time I needed to be there, but I knew I could at least sleep in later than I usually do on work days. About 1PM, I drove down to High Point, NC, to pick up my publisher, David Allen of Plan Nine Publishing, who was also a guest. We hopped into my spiffy Honda Civic Hybrid and sprinted down I-85 to Durham, arriving around 2PM.

I spent most of my time at the con talking with other cartoonists, and there seemed to be quite a few of them. The first that I ran into were Erin Lindsey (Venus Envy, whom I met at Dragon*Con 2003) and Jenn Dolari (A Wish for Wings), sitting at their shared table in the Art Show room (as well as in the picture to the right). I eventually ran into old acquaintances T Campbell (Fans!, Rip & Teri, and too many other projects to count) and Jamie Robertson (Clan of the Cats), who I spent most of my day talking to.

At 3PM was the Trinoc*coN Web Comics Summit, where practically all the online comics guests were gathered in one place. In the picture to the left, you'll find (from left to right): Brad Taylor (writer, All Grown Up), myself, Jamie Robertson, T Campbell, David Allen, Kittyhawk (Sparkling Generation Valkrie Yuuki), Ursula Vernon (Digger), Kevin Volo (colorist, Sorcerer of Fortune), Erin Lindsey, Jenn Dolari, Coy Powers (artist, All Grown Up), and Mitch Calhoun (webmaster, All Grown Up). The "summit" was an organized free-for-all, with Jamie leading with open questions and letting everyone share their thoughts on the matter. Of course, as you might expect, getting that many people who think they're funny (actually funniness being open to debate) in one place led to quite a few interesting discussions. Things were topped off with some questions from the audience.

As I mentioned, I spent most of the day talking and networking, primarily with T Campbell and Jamie Robertson. However, I did get to spend a little time talking with the All Grown Up guys, as well as strolling around and checking out the dealers room and art show. At 7PM I sat in on the Web-Publishing and E-Zines panel, on which David Allen was a panelist. In the picture to the right, you'll see: Jenn Dolari, T Campbell, one of the literary guests (who's name escapes me, unfortunately; if anyone remembers, please let me know), David, and Coy Powers.

At 9PM I participated in a thought-provoking panel entitled "Self-Censorship: The Better Part of Valor?" It was a very interesting panel, but unfortunately very under-attended; it was scheduled opposite the charity auction, so there were only two people in the audience for most of it. It was interesting primarily in the amount of how much the panelists all seemed to agree that self-censorship is useful, even despite the wide range of backgrounds we all came from (Internet cartoonist, fantasy author, RPG publishers, and painter). Sadly, I don't remember who all was on the panel, nor do I have any pictures from it. Sorry. However, I can leave you with another group shot from the Web Comics Summit; I'll leave it up to you to figure out who's who.

Shortly after the Self-Censorship panel, David and I hopped back in the car and sped back to the Piedmont, getting me home around 11:30, with just enough time to brush my teeth and collapse into bed. Whew!

What little I got to see of Trinoc*coN I really enjoyed. I really wish I was able to come on Friday and Sunday, as well as spend more time at the panels and exhibits. For any sci-fi/fantasy fan in the Research Triangle Park area, I highly recommend this con for its variety and small but cozy feel. Maybe if they'll invite me back for next year, I'll get to plan ahead and be there all weekend.... ;)

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