A few years ago, someone (Sherwood Smith, I think, but I might be wrong…) started posting on LiveJournal as one of the big cons approached — World Fantasy or Worldcon, I don’t remember which — saying that she wasn’t able to go, and she was bitter, listening to all her friends chatter on about the approaching event.  She started hosting “Bittercon”, an online discussion about all the panels she would dream of being on, if only she could be on panels.

Spring forward a few years.  Most of our MW regulars are at ConCarolinas this weekend.  I, alas, am very far away from ConCarolinas.  I won’t be able to join in on the panels.  I won’t be able to hang out in the bar with my new and old friends.  I won’t be able to put faces to so many names I love conversing with here.

I am bitter.

So, for those who *are* around today, this weekend, whenever you read this, let’s play a game.  What panel would you like to see at a science fiction and/or fantasy convention?  And which no-more-than-five authors would you want to see on the panel?  (Yeah, for purposes of this discussion, those writers can be living or dead…)

(I’ll be somewhat out of pocket on Friday, so don’t fret if I don’t respond to your posts immediately!)

And for those of our colleagues who are at ConCarolinas — raise a glass for me!


20 comments to Bittercon

  • sagablessed

    “What panel would you like to see at a science fiction and/or fantasy convention?”
    Two actually. 1) Multi-tasking, or how to work on more than one WIP at a time.
    2) How to find the genre and/or age group that is best for you to write in.

    And which no-more-than-five authors would you want to see on the panel?
    1 You
    2 Faith
    3 David
    4 Ursula K LeGuin or Lucienne Diver
    5 Marion Zimmer-Bradley

  • sagablessed

    And while not bitter, I am sad I cannot be at CC this year. Maybe next year. Hope you can be there then!!

  • How not to be bitter when you can’t go to cons. It can be an online one. But everyone on the panel would be all like, “Nothin’ for ya. We’re having a blast though! Wish you were here!” They could do it while at the room party over video chat just to add insult to injury. 😉

    Kidding. 😀

    An interesting one might be The Modern Hybrid Author. Chuck Wendig did a blog about it recently that I enjoyed. It’d be all authors who are in one way or another published in traditional, small, and self markets and how they got there, what ups and downs they had, what was difficult about how they did it and what was easier than they expected. Not sure who all to put on the panel, but it should be a nice mix of people who went traditional first, those who self-published first, and those who went more small press first. Those extremist authors who poo-poo either method need not apply.

  • For the last few days I’ve been completely cranky, and your post helped me realize why–I thought I was going to get to go to ConCarolinas this year, but I couldn’t make it. I’m cranky because I’m here, not there!

    If I were at a con right now, I’d like a panel on finding a unique way to approach a common trope/theme/type of character. How do you write about vampires or alien invasions or zombies or a governess in a scary mansion and make it different from all the other stories with similar starting points?

    My dream panel for this has way more than 5 people! I’d start with everyone who has ever posted here on MW, and ideally add in Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, John Scalzi, Jim Hines, Connie Willis, Kat Richardson, Jim Butcher, Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire, Ursula K. LeGuin, Sophie Littlefield . . .I could go on all day, but I won’t 🙂

  • Yeah, BitterCon! I wish I was at ConCarolinas too.

    How about a panel called “How to Write Miracles and Divine Beings without Being Schmaltzy.” I could use help with that.

    I also want a panel called “Humans are Weird! The 7 Weirdest things human cultures do and how to rip them off for your novel.” I’ve been reading books about the South Sea Islands and thinking “this real life stuff is far stranger than stuff I would write in my novel” and then thinking “I have t use this!”

    Then I want a follow up panel called “No Shit, There I Was…Harebrained Things We’ve Done.” Panelists could tell us all the implausible/bizarre/youthful folly things they’ve done or seen happen.

    Panelist picks – John Hartness (because you know he has some great stories in this line), A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Douglas Adams, J. Maarten Troost, Mark Twain, Rachel Aaron.

  • Razziecat

    Mindy, this is a great idea! I would love to be at the con this weekend but it was not in the cards 🙁

    I’d go to the panels Sarah suggested!

    I’ve always felt that religion hasn’t been addressed much (or very well) in science fiction (and not happy with the way it’s done in most fantasy) so I’d love to see a panel on “Beyond the Evil Goddess/Barbarian God: How to ‘Get Religion’ in SF & Fantasy.”

    Authors I’d love to see (on any panel) would include Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch, Lilith SaintCrow, Carol Berg and Lois McMaster Bujold. And, of course, everyone from MW!

  • Add me to the BitterCon membership list! 🙁

    My panel choices would be: Believable Big-Bads, The Nature of Evil, and Where’s The Advantage in Destroying The World. Hmm. I’m sensing a theme here. Is my bitter bleeding over?

    Panelists: Mindy, Razziecat, Sarah, Sisi, Daniel, sagablessed. I’ll just sit here in the audience and listen. 😉

  • Razziecat

    Oh, I forgot to mention Kate Elliott!! 🙂

  • I have a really interesting religion/Deities in my epic fantasy romance trilogy. I hope it will be published some day. I need to get the first book revised and start the second. Maybe I can weigh in on that subject in the future.

  • quillet

    ConCarolinas wasn’t in the cards for me 🙁 but I can afford a ticket to BitterCon! 🙂 Count me in, and I’ll go to all the panels everyone’s suggested. Sounds awesome. Also add one about layering mythology into world-building, with J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Guy Gavriel Kay and Tom Shippey.

  • Sorry you couldn’t be here. It’s one of the only things missing from this con (well, you, Lucienne, and Diana). I agree, it would be awesome if you could make it next year, though. 🙂

  • I’m feeling bitter too. Let’s do a panel called, “Too Interesting to Miss.” It will be fabulous. Who knows what we’ll talk about, but you know it will be too interesting to miss.

  • I wish you could all have been there with us. I got to hug Jason Carter (Marcus Cole, from Babylon 5).



  • ::grin::

    These all sound like *amazing* panels — and I’d go to this con in a heartbeat! (Especially since I sort of stacked the desk by asking the question in the first place, and so many of you have placed me on your panels of choice 🙂 )

    Seriously, though, I look forward to addressing *some* of these topics in future MW posts!

    Until then, I look forward to con reports from the folks who were at ConCarolina!

  • Mindy, they’ll open up guest applications later in the summer, so we’ll remind you to apply. We would LOVE to see you at ConCarolinas!

  • Fireheart1974

    As the Programming Director for ConGregate, I am shamelessly stealing some of these! I do like the ideas that were generated at Bittercon!

  • Misty – I’ll keep my fingers crossed that dates work out. (It’s always a bit of a challenge, falling on or around my anniversary…

    Fireheart – Yay! I’m glad that our fiddling around might have some concrete advantages for other con-goers! Where is ConGregate?

  • Sagablessed: “4 Ursula K LeGuin or Lucienne Diver”. I think that’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever received, the idea that I’d be an acceptable stand-in for Ursula K. LeGuin!

  • Fireheart1974


    It will be in Winston-Salem, NC (July 11-13, 2014). ::Insert shameless plug::

    It’s being put on by a bunch of “former”/current conrunners all across the southeast who couldn’t let running cons stay out of our systems!


  • Fireheart – thanks for the info! I have family near there so maybe… Sigh — so many things to fit onto calendars!