Back from DragonCon!

Bridget and I flew back from Atlanta on Monday. This was (if I recall correctly) my 5th DragonCon and her first.

If you’ve not been to DragonCon, you should go at least once, just for the spectacle. I love it. It’s a 70,000+ person four day nerd party. Ask people who have been to both, it is a bigger party than Mardi Gras. At one point the costume parade takes over all of downtown Atlanta.

No matter what geeky thing you are into, there is stuff there for that. Movies, TV shows, comic books, books, video games, whatever, there’s a track for that. There are panels for everything. And unlike some cons, DC panels aren’t stuffy. They tend to be big, loud, boisterous, and fun. Some are educational, some are just goofy. Sometimes both, like on a survival panel where they ran cheap Costco tequila through a water purifier to A. show the science of how water purifiers work and B. make good tequila. I don’t even drink and I thought that was cool.

If you’re part of the Baen family, DragonCon is one of our big gatherings. It’s kind of like a family reunion for our gang of misfits and miscreants. I got to hang out with a lot of friends, too many to count off because I’d be bound to miss some of them.

DC likes to put me to work, so I was on a ton of panels on a bunch of different tracks. Between panels, signings, and various business meetings I had about 8 or 10 events per day. So for me, I go to DC to work, but it is really fun work.

Because Son of the Black Sword won the first annual Dragon Award for Best Fantasy last year, they asked me to be a presenter for this year, and I was able to give out the award for Best Military Sci-Fi or Fantasy, a very competitive category with a bunch of excellent authors in it. The winner was Richard Fox, who I spoke with afterwards, and it turns out he’s a really nice guy.

John Ringo and I won the Dragon Award for Best Fantasy for Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge. In this case I did the opposite of campaigning (for the record, the Dragon is awesome and WANTS authors to campaign for their stuff!) because I won last year I kept telling everybody not to nominate me again, because I wanted to share the love. But Grunge got nominated, only it was a collaboration, and in this case, it was Ringo’s baby. It was his idea, and he even wrote the rough draft before I was ever involved. So I was really happy to win, just so I could hand the award to John to see the look on his face. The guy is awesome, has entertained millions of people, and it is damned nice to see him get some award recognition for once. Congratulations, man, you earned it.

The Dragon Awards were great, and one of the things that I noticed was that every group in fandom was represented. There were nominees from big publishers to indy, living legends to new guys, and everything in between. There were winners who are total bad asses who have traditionally been snubbed by other snooty awards. This was all about the fans and their enthusiasm.

This was truly a popularity contest rather than a politics contest. DragonCon set out to create an award that represents what is beloved by all of fandom, and that’s what they’re doing. They had twice as many voters this year as last year, and I hope they double it again next time.

There were many highlights. We had one panel just for the Monster Hunter Files anthology which is coming out next month, with Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, Jody Lynn Nye, Faith Hunter, and Quincy Allen.  I got to hang out briefly with my friends Laurell K. Hamilton and her people. I got to meet Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. I got to be on a panel with a bunch of bad ass super stars and I got most of the audience to Hooon (Jim started it!). I did a late night improv comedy panel, where a member of the audience got super drunk and kept F bombing us from the front row, so I just worked him into the act as our ship’s extremely angry repairman, named Popcorn.

Though if there was one thing that I was proud of, it was on the Magnificent Men of Fantasy panel, where it was a bunch of bestsellers talking about their work, in one of the large panel rooms with a big audience. I got there early for some reason and was the first panelist to arrive, so I just stood in front and started talking to the audience. Then the moderator came in, and made an announcement about how the DragonCon charity this year was the Special Olympics (plus they sent a bunch of money to Houston too) and how they were passing a donation bucket around, (and this is the important bit) about how the Young Adult Track was neck and neck with the Lit Track (the one we were currently on) in total donations so far.

You guys have to know that I will gladly beclown myself for charity. So I then went on a giant rant declaring war against the YA track, and how THIS WILL NOT STAND! Are we going to let ourselves get pushed around by a bunch of YA authors? They’ve already stolen all our shelf space in stores. Now some wizard kid with a lightning bolt on his head thinks he is going to out charity us? HELL NO! Down with Percy Jackson! A couple minutes into this, the DC staff brought me a microphone so I could really go on a rampage.

At the very end of the panel they were asking us for a single piece of our most valuable writing advice we could possibly give, and since I was last I said the most important key to success at being a pro author is GIVE MONEY TO DEFEAT THE AWFUL YOUNG ADULT TRACT! Out came the wallets. Somebody ran up and dropped in a big bill. I shouted HER NEXT BOOK WILL BE A HUGE BESTSELLER! After the panel they called me over to see the stuffed to overflowing charity bucket. Because nothing motivates my fans like laughter and spite.

I’ll have to email the organizers once they get home and see if we actually did beat YA. 😀

This was the lovely Mrs. Correia’s first ever DragonCon, and she had a blast. Plus this was the first DC I’ve ever been to where the weather was nice. Normally it is like 100 and humid, but this was like 75 with a nice breeze. It was downright abnormal for Atlanta. People could actually wear their costumes all day and not die of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Dragon has an absurd amount of cosplay. I’m not a good photographer so I don’t take very many pictures myself, but just plug DragonCon costumes into Google and you’ll see what I mean. It is truly a spectacle.

Thousands of volunteers worked their ass off to make this thing run. If you know any con volunteers, thank them, because they are bad asses.

I’ve seen where there are some perpetually outraged whiners whining about the Dragon Awards on the internet today, and doing their best to dismiss or insult DragonCon… Here’s the thing, when seventy thousand nerds gather together to party so hard they take over four blocks of a major US city for four days, they truly do not give a shit that some random snoot thinks they are having fun wrong.

So for all the detractors, rather than waste my time arguing about how your butt hurts, my entire response to you is summed up in this photograph:

Correia & Ringo

Rock on, DragonCon. Keep on being awesome.

MHI Bullets for Charity
Forged In Blood, On Sale Now - I got to write samurai drama!

72 thoughts on “Back from DragonCon!”

    1. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Pournelle back in the early 2000’s at my parent’s church in Hollywood. Very gracious man to a thunderstruck fan.

        1. Speaking of Pournelle, we lost Jerry this morning. He apparently passed in his sleep. I’m kind of at a loss as to what to say about that. Think I’m gonna re-read Mote, or maybe Lucifer’s Hammer this week.

  1. As always, my wife and I loved talking to you Larry, and it was a real joy to meet and talk with your wife. You Sir, are a lucky man, she is a sweetheart. Let me know if she’s still interested in a tank, I’m working on importing some surplus Leopard I ‘s.

  2. You are a toe to topknot a class act Larry. Everytime I read something new from or about you my respect grows. Rock on Man. (I’ve said it before but again thanks for letting us in on Project Yard Moose Mountain)

  3. “Though if there was one thing that I was proud of, it was on the Magnificent Men of Fantasy panel”

    Magnificent men? MEN???

    Cue the wails and gnashing of teeth.

  4. “I did a late night improv comedy panel, where a member of the audience got super drunk and kept F bombing us from the front row, so I just worked him into the act as our ship’s extremely angry repairman, named Popcorn.”

    LOL. Now this, I really want to see a video of.

      1. I don’t believe that panel was recorded (it was in a much smaller room) and “Popcorn” ended up on the floor, leaning against a door, apparently eventually leading to a real-life “Airlock!”.
        Much amusement with the interpretive dance and the addictive sweat, though! 🙂

  5. Funny how you mention detractors of Dragon Con. There’s no way for me to know if this was deliberate, but there was an article, pretty close to the top, on the U.K. Daily Mail site today about DC and how someone dropped a chair of the ten floor onto a couple of cosplayers.

  6. Sounds like a fun time was had by all. Congratulations to yourself & John Ringo on the award, and yeah, glad that everyone especially fist timer Mrs Correia had fun.

  7. Wow. I just came across some really salty and bitter commentary from the pink-SF crowd about the Dragons. Keep in mind, these are the same people who said the Puppies should “go start their own award and leave the Hugo’s alone”. But now that the Dragons are pulling in double the voters that the Hugo’s are, suddenly the results are “problematical”.

    Here’s hoping Dragoncon keeps ignoring these idiots.

    1. They’re losing their shit all over the place out there. But, that is their ground state. Always looking for the next thing to freak out about. Monday it was the Dragons, by Thursday they’ll be on to the Next Big Outrage, and we will still be here, having fun wrong.

      1. They have good reason to be losing it. In its 2nd year, Dragon out voted Hugo by about 40%. Hugo participation dropped by 1/2 while Dragon doubled. None of the Hugo winners managed to get a Dragon, but all the Dragon winners have huge followings. Their much loved Hugo just became an also ran.

      2. For the last 10-15 years, they’ve been telling themselves that they were the future of SF/F. Their publishing friends all told them so, the awards they voted themselves all told them so, their online blogs and chat boards all told them so. But now the Dragon Awards and other events come along, and suddenly they’re forced to face the idea that not only do a sizeable (majority?) percentage of reading fandom ignores them, that same percentage overwhelmingly prefers the types of fiction they hold in disdain and contempt. One of the more outraged Dragon Awards critics I saw complained that the awards were “out of touch” with the rest of the SF/F field; the very notion that maybe they are the ones who are out of touch upsets them to no end.

  8. Larry, it was so nice to see you and Ringo win this year. Two years in a row now, something I read made it on the nominations of an award, and eventually won the prize. That is such a welcome change from the usual state of affairs, and you’re handling it with your usual high class and humility.

    Stay awesome, big guy.

  9. i got to see you like 5 times in the crowds wondering, food court, vendor hall…all over! Thanks for always saying hi back!

  10. Congrats on the well-deserved win, Larry and John. I’m loving all the MHI collaborations I’ve seen so far.

    And once again, it’s a real joy to have an award where there are *multiple* things worth voting for on the ballot.

  11. Glad you and the spousal unit had a blast at DC. Good on Ringo and you winning.

    Popcorn? Bwahahaha

    How did the Kaiju Lit panel go? Any fun stories?

    And of course keep us posted on who won the donation race. Correia at next DC, “The beatings will continue until we beat the YA crowd!!!” 😉

  12. I was thrilled last year when the Dragon Awards were launched, honored to be a finalist for Best Sci-Fi Novel and hopeful that they will continue to grow with each passing year.

    Congrats to both Larry and John on the well-earned win!

  13. The improv panel and weapons in sci-fi panels were awesome…I’m going to try to make a point of making every panel John and/or Larry have at future DragonCons. Had a hard time breathing a time or too.

  14. I managed to make the Kaiju Lit, Monster Hunter Files, and Magnificent Men panels – all were great.

    I also gave Larry a teddy bear version of Agent Franks after Kaiju Lit, because it seemed like the thing to do at the time.

        1. No bolts in the neck, but he does have an eye, arm, ear, and leg from a donor bear, the arm being darkened. He has an FBI jacket style jacket with “MCB”, a shirt, overhand-knotted tie, and sunglasses.

          I also added a “vein” discoloration to one cheek (minor) and some hints of orange to the eyes.

          Larry may have pictures along at some point.

    1. I can see the t-shirt now. . .”Minion of the International Lord of Hat, Fear our Laughter and Spite feeble ones”

      Or something like that, I swear I had a better idea but the coffee that is currently sustaining my consciousness just ran out.

      1. I think Larry’s going to have to copyright “Lord of Hat” now as well. Because Hate is one market, Hat is entirely another.

        1. Oh crap! Lol. I hate it when I make stupid typos and not notice.

          Needs to be at least plural. Or maybe the International Lord of Hateful Hats?

          1. No reason to over-specialize. “Hat” covers both plural hats and the general nature of being in the state of Hat, with Hateful Hats included.

          2. Could we get him a pointy hat and proclaim him Lord of the Dunce?


            Someone told me to say that…?

          1. Oh! Black and green would be awesome! My 2 favorite colors. Especially if there is some way to work in the ILOH logo!

  15. Glad to hear The Dragon Awards doubled the amount of voters this year. I plugged it pretty decently on my site and did what I did to contribute. Hopefully next year it’ll get even bigger!

    Also hopefully next year I’ll be even closer to being on the nomination list, if not on it! 😉

  16. Welcome back to Austin .I just got back today from Atlanta/Dragoncon. Yes that was awesome . Atlanta is a very good Host city . real nice work you have done

  17. Happy to hear that both you and the lovely Mrs. Correia had a good time, especially given how hard they worked you this year. I think I saw you on four panels, plus a signing or two, and know I had to miss a few because of scheduling conflicts. (So many panels, so many awesome people, so little time, so tired).
    Also, congrats on the well deserved Dragon award. For a hoot I compared the nominees for the Dragons and Hugos, and wow, there’s almost no overlap, not just in winners but in nominees. In my copious spare time I’m going to compare the sales ranks of the two sets of winners. I have a sneaking suspicion that’s where the real butt-hurt is coming from.
    Finally, please tone down the praise of Dragon*Con. Yes, it’s awesome, and having more Correia fans anywhere is a good thing, but it’s already impossible to get a room anywhere near the con, let alone at one of the four host hotels, and eventually the fire marshals are going to figure out just how many people we have crammed into those hotels.
    Hope to see you next year.

  18. Congratulations, Larry. Loved that you guys had a ball. Attending the Dragon Con is on my bucket list. It has to be. I live in New Zealand.

    Oh, and I saw the vitriol after the ceremony by accident and just rolled my eyes. It really doesn’t take much for butts to hurt. Sometimes they have to manufacture hurt to explain why they feel so unhappy with life.

  19. I already had a man crush on John Ringo, but after seeing the Inigo Montoya t-shirt, I wanna have his babies.

  20. Congrats on MHM : Grunge winning! (I voted for it).
    Did a mini-review of Sinners today on my blog (link on my name) & wanted to ask – is how Chad & Milo work together similar to how you & John Ringo collaborate?

  21. It’s good that you got to see Jerry Pournelle and very sad that he passed soon after getting home. A great man has gone.

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