Dragoncon 99 was held on July 1-4, 1999 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta,
Georgia. Major literary guests included Anne McCaffrey, Kevin Anderson,
Rebecca Moesta, Fred Saberhagen, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ann C. Crispin,
Nancy Collins and Caitlin R. Kiernan. It was estimated that
attendance was over 20,000.
use of facilities improved this year. Consuite include an Internet Lounge.
All programming was held at the Hyatt, unlike last year were it was broken
up between the Hyatt and the Merchandise Mart. The Dealerís and Exhibitorís
Room was all on one floor at the Apparel Mart, not broken up into two areas
inaccessable to each other. The only problem was having main programming
all located in the same place each night. This was really a
problem on Saturday when Masquerade and the concerts were held in the same
hall. It took too long for Masquerade to empty out that delayed the
set up for the bands playing that night. This caused the first concert
not start till after midnight. Holding the concerts in a separate
area from the main evening program could solve this.
There was always something to do at night at Dragoncon. Several concerts
were held. The most interesting concert being Grand Moff Tarkin's. This
group dressed as Imperial characters from the Star Wars saga
and performed a heavy metal set, which included a metal rendition of the
Imperial March. Other groups included Gwar, Godhead, Changeling,
Cruxshadows (from Tallahasse) and the singer Voltaire. DJ Gallifrey
and Legion (also from Tallahasee) ran the Dragon dances were the music
varied from retro, alternative, industrial and gothic. On Friday, a banquet
was held to award the Julies, given to those for lifetime achievement in
the SF/comic field named after writer, editor, and agent Julius Schwartz.
This year recipients were Anne McCaffery and Will Eisner. Animae
and other video rooms always ran.
There were several interesting film presentations. Before Grand Moff
Tarkin's concert the film The Dark Redemption. This
film made by Australian fans takes place on the spice mines of Kessel a
few days before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.
The film explains how Leia got the Death Star plans and why Han Solo had
to dump Jabba's shipment. Boba Fett, Palpatine and Mara Jade, a character
created by Timothy Zahn for the book series appears in the film.
The film had some good but moderate effects. Supposedly the film
has the approval of George Lucas. John Hudgens presented his
last Babylon 5 music video. The opening sequence was
heavily inspired by the Star Wars films and used The Duel
of Fates from The Phantom Menace. The crew, which
produced Babylon Park, made a new film, called Frightspace (www.infinicorp.com/babylonpark).
Beneath the Blood and Guts. Taking the Bite Out of Dark Fantasy
discussed the state of dark fantasy and horror. The panel consisted
of Richard Lee Byers, Nancy Collins, Keith DeCandido and Caitlin
R. Kiernan. The panel began by defining the difference between horror
and dark fantasy. Most agreed horror was an emotion and dark fantasy
is a genre. Byers went further and felt dark fantasy was not objectively
real while horror is anything scary. DeCandido cynically said that
horror stopped selling and the publishers started calling it dark fantasy.
Kiernan agreed since her editor labeled her novel Silk fiction,
which she felt helped sales. While adult horror is doing badly young
adult horror, thanks to R.L. Stine's success, is doing very well as is
dark fantasy comics thanks to Sandman. The only problem
with writing for young adults and comics is the restrictions that are imposed.
DC Comics has been sued for being the source of copycat crimes. It
was asked whether, because of Littleton, the 50s Senate hearings on comics
will happen again. DeCandido felt it was highly unlikely because
it is harder to suppress things now and because the original hearings are
not looked upon favorably now. Video games may get more scrutiny,
but Collins felt this may lead to less game inspired movies. When
asked if they felt a need to self-censor, Kiernan said she did once for
a story on necrophilia. Collins felt self-censorship is a matter
Brad Linaweaver was late for the Optimism vs Pessimism panel.
Victor Koman, replacing Dafydd ab Hugh, discussed his views.
Koman said he was a pessimist in the 70s due to Nixon, the SLA and other
events of the period. Many of the predictions made in 70s such as
worldwide economic collapse by the nineties never happened. Koman
feels he is more of an optimist now. He does see some problems with
the way the news is being presented now. Linaweaver arrived and made
the prediction that the world state will happen. He feel the United
Nations, despite its recent problems in eastern Europe, is doing better
than the League of Nations. He felt that by having an active
frontier, such as space, will keep freedom alive. Linaweaver agrees
with Heinlein, that while one is fighting nature all the time one does
not have the time or interest to make laws to restrict the rights of others.
He defined a frontier as a physical danger that provides somewhere to go
to. Linaweaver felt that man must either conquer nature or himself.
Peter David and George Perez acted as Master of Ceremonies at the Masquerade.
Masquerade started with David and Perez dressed as Jedis fighting Maul
with the Star Wars music playing in the background.
In the middle of the fight Perez's creation the Crimson Plague comes out
and Maul stops and leaves with her. David and Perez remove their
robes and David says "Knock it Off" and stops the music. The best skit
went A Figment of your Dementia. In the skit the Warner Brothers
and sister (Yakko, Wakko and Dot) explained Romeo and Juliet
from the original Klingon. There were several Star Wars
inspired costumes. Leah Levin won best Star Wars costume for her
recreation of Queen Amidala and baby Luke. Florida fans Christine
Antolak and Pete Simpson recreated the duel between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon
Jinn. Another group of Florida fans won best in show Star Wars-
The Sith who Shagged Me. This skit revealed Darth Sidious to
be Dr. Evil plotting to take over Naboo with a clone of Amidala.
Jedi Austin Powers severely injures Maul, who cries for help offstage and
reveals the Amidala clone is actually a man. Other notable costumes
included the evil Lily from Legend and the Joan Vinge's Snow
Participants in the Violence in Society panelicluded Con
chair Ed Kramer along with Brad Linaweaver, Victor Koman, Bob Trebor, Stad
Hughes and Jason Miller. There was a great deal of focus on the Littleton
incident and Kosovo. Jason Miller, lead singer of the gothic group
Godhead, felt the lesson of including outsiders was not learned.
Koman feels the percentage of crazies is the same but absolute number has
gone up because of population growth. He feels there is greater coverage
of violence because it is more rare. Koman also felt violence is
a part of us, the only question is whether it is defensive or aggressive.
He felt that if the audience is getting what in wants in violence on film
and TV, one should ask why do they want it? Linawaever, whose Doom
novels were confiscated as evidence after Littleton, asked why films and
TV are rated but not books. He felt this was because of class
issue. It used to be that the working classes had to protected from
dangerous images now the target is teens. Stad Hughes, who had known
serial John Wayne Gacy before his capture was asked if Gacy was reader.
Hughes said that Gacy was intelligent but not a reader. Actor Bob
Trebor, felt that if one found a creative outlet, explosions might be prevented.
He felt fans and con goers were an example of this. Kramer pointed
out how the news slants the views of violence. During the Vietnam War,
the public was shown the casualties of war, while during Kosovo bomb runs
from the air were shown. Koman felt some of this was due to government
restrictions on the frontline.
SF at the Doorstep at 21st Century was held on Sunday morning
with James Hogan, Kevin Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Fred Saberhagen, Stephen
Donaldson, A.C. Crispin and Brian Herbert. Donaldson thought panel
was SF as the doorstop to the 21st century, since he felt that SF helped
describe and shape the 21st century. Anderson pointed out how
some SF devices has become reality like palmtops. Herbert pointed
out his father missed a chance in patent the design for the modern tanker
which he described in one of his book. Hogan felt that most of technical
problems have been solved though the social problems need to be addressed.
Donaldson felt a predictions were made to prevent certain futures.
Moesta followed up by pointing that 1984 sparked discussions on privacy
and freedom. Crispin wonders how the information revolution will
affect society. Her big fear is that chat room short hand could be become
standard English. When asked if SF will be more optimistic or pessimistic,
Anderson said that there are so many sub generes now trends will be hard
Other programming included Brian Froud discussing the history of his fairy
books, Peter David reading from his upcoming fantasy novel and Kevin Anderson
and Rebecca Moesta explaining the technology of Star Wars.
The convention had a good mix of programming. Hopefully next year
they will solve the crowding problems at main programming.
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