MidAmeriCon IIAugust 22, 2016 at 12:02 am | Posted in Conventions, Events, Star Wars | Leave a comment
Tags: midamericon, worldcon
MidAmeriCon II came to Kansas City, MO for the weekend of August 17 to 21st and brought along a nice selection of Star Wars authors. At least Star Wars is always at the forefront of my mind. The big draw for me was two fold: I’d never met Martha Wells, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, and they had a Star Wars themed Friday loaded with Star Wars panels. Unfortunately a handful of those Star Wars Day panels got re-scheduled to Saturday at the last minute, and I could only attend for Friday, but I still managed to have a blast.
The Kansas City Convention Center is a pretty big place, so the con had plenty of room for the exhibit floor. There was the usual mix of dealers, some odd and interesting displays, an autograph area, an art gallery, a couple food courts, and plenty of space for the publishers.
One of the biggest booths was the Wordfire booth where Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta and a bunch of other authors were hanging out, including Alan Dean Foster. They had a great selection of books from the authors and it made it easy to get autographs.
The area itself was pretty interesting. Outside the convention center was a neat looking fountain that stretched across a whole block. There were a handful of skyscrapers with some neat architecture, and I later found out the domed building in the distance was an Alamo Drafthouse.
Beyond the exhibit floor, the convention center stretches out in a couple directions. For MidAmeriCon II, there were two main areas where all the panels were taking place. One area was back toward the north end of the convention center where there’s a cluster of rooms. Then on the southeast side there was a multi-story area with panels taking place on the 2nd and 3rd levels. The Grand Ballroom/Tucker Stage was set for the big panels, which were unfortunately the cancelled Star Wars ones, so I didn’t get to experience what that room was like.
Since it was a Friday, there wasn’t a lot of people there early in the day, but it did get busier later on. Nevertheless, I found I was able to go to panels back-to-back throughout the day as the lines weren’t bad at all, unless you were going to a George R.R. Martin panel. That was the only one I noticed a humongous line for. Among the panels I was able to attend was Queer Star Wars, Star Wars Tie-Ins, Why “A Long Time Ago…”?, Changing the Medium, and The Secret Life of Novelizations. The panels included various Star Wars authors including Martha Wells, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta and William C. Dietz.
The Queer Star Wars panel actually turned out to be very interesting as Martha revealed that she received a lot of pushback when she tried to put a bisexual character in Star Wars: Razor’s Edge. In Star Wars Tie-Ins panel, former Del Rey editor Stephen Saffel shared some interesting stories about how they tried to add consequence to the books and the challenges that involved. Why “A Long Time Ago…”? was a lot more random as they quickly knocked out the topic of the panel in the first ten minutes then moved on to other random topics, many submitted by the crowd. Changing the Medium was another highlight panel which I’m glad I was able to attend. It wasn’t specifically Star Wars focused, but Star Wars came up a bit. A lot of the focus was on the challenges of writing content in different mediums, ie. taking the Pathfinder RPG game, the Star Wars films, or videogames like Halo and Mass Effect, and turning books out of them. They talked about the stipulations of the IP holders, contract negotiations, and they shared some interesting stories they’ve experienced.
The last panel I attended was The Secret Life of Novelizations, which featured Kevin, Rebecca and Stephen Saffel. This one wasn’t solely focused on Star Wars, but rather tie-ins in general, and was another fun one to experience. They talked about the different properties they’ve worked with, how those franchises differed in what they could and couldn’t do, and the challenge involved with modern movie novelizations and the levels of secrecy.
I managed to get audio, and even a little video, of some of these panels, so I’ll be sharing that later. We’ll also be featuring some interviews with Martha Wells, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, so there’s plenty more that will be out in the following weeks. If you ever get the chance to go to MidAmeriCon/WorldCon, it’s worth checking out. The panels are pretty good and they had a good turn out on authors. My only regret was that I was only able to attend the one day, so you might want to keep that in mind.