Oasis 23 '10
Con Report by Pagadan
Oasis 23 Con Report
by Joy V. Smith
This year we (my sister and I) got a ride with a friend to Oasis; it was at a new hotel in downtown Orlando.The hotel was great--with everything on one floor except for the con suite, but getting on and off I4 coming and going was harrowing! We couldn't even get off at our exit going in and had to take the next one and wandered around lost and bewildered before getting directions at Burger King. Fortunately we weren't far from the hotel, which was a relief to us all. Friends and family who'd accompanied us had a good time exploring; one friend wondered what was going on in the gaming room. Role-playing games, I told her, but I'm not sure she was much enlightened. Later I picked up some gaming sheets to give her.
We got there early Friday (May 28) before the con registration opened so my sister and I registered at the hotel and put our luggage and tote bags full of freebies (to donate to the charity auction and the freebie tables) in our room. Then we registered at the con, and after the rest of our party left to brave the trek to I4 (they turned too early and got lost again), we brought down some of the freebies (fanzines, SF magagines, etc.) since it was too early for the charity auction (Andre Norton scholarship) donations to be dealt with.
Then we checked out the dealers room--they were still unpacking--and the art show. Great art though the lighting left something to be desired. (They had brought in extra lights.) We took the auction items down later and stowed them away. I didn't catch any of the afternoon panels; and we decided to have supper in a hotel restaurant--Spectators, a sports bar, where we had Philly steak sandwiches--expensive, but very good.
At 7 pm we went to the opening ceremonies. It started late, as so often happens as everyone slowly gathers. Also, the guest writers, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, were surrounded by fans. They're among my favorite writers, and I caught them later and admired Steve Miller's tote bag, which has a quote from their Liaden universe books--the family motto: I Dare--with the appropriate tree and dragon graphic.
The other guests of honor were Richard C. Livingston, Artist GoH; Rob Balder, Filk GoH; and Michael Hinman, Fan GoH. (Livingston couldn't be there because of work.) The ceremonies included awarding Juan Sanmiguel a chair con tee shirt, for doing such a great job as the convention chairman. And Susan Cole was awarded a registration tee shirt. (Juan accepted it for her since she was, naturally, still at the registration table.) Patricia Wheeler, club president, also received an appreciation gift.
After the ceremonies was the chili contest, a regular feature; some were definitely hot! There was a table full of water pitchers and glasses nearby--and some delicious brownies! The first panel I caught was at 8 pm--The favorite characters and books of panel authors: Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, and Lee and Miller. Bova's favorite character is Jamie Waterman in his Mars novels; Jamie is half Navajo and half Mayflower. (I love that description!) Bova went to New Mexico to pick up the atmosphere of Mars. Sharon Lee's favorite character is Daav yos 'Phelium. (A favorite of mine too--among many.) Steve Miller's favorite is Kenzil in stories I haven't read. (I plan to get them.) McDevitt's favorite is Chaka Malana [not sure of spelling], who's a character in one chapter of his novel, Eternity Road, a post-apocalyptic novel.
They discussed other characters, their writing, and their favorite novels. Interesting background; and another favorite character(s) of Lee's is the Clutch turtles. (Oh, yes! Fantastic aliens!) Bova's favorite novel (of his) is The Immortality Factor; McDevitt's is Time Travelers Never Die; Lee's is Barnburner (mystery); and Miller's is Fledgling (a recent Liaden novel).
After that panel, which I really enjoyed, it was on to Alien Artifacts, where a group of "experts" in various fields examine--and disagree about--alien finds, which can be anything--including a little promotional silver top from the freebie table--or every day objects--or parts of them. Craig Caldwell was the moderator, and the panelists were Rob Balder, Michael Conrad, Lee, Miller, and Jeff Mitchell. Balder's persona's name was unpronounceable, and he was a construct because the real person was too busy to be there. Conrad's character was his recent favorite, a redneck--whom he does very well. (I still miss his psychic personna though.)
There are disagreements among the experts and political and adult humor. All the panelists are witty--even the newcomers, who quickly got into the spirit of the panel. The top was variously identified as an energy storage device, a gambling device, money, a high tech bullet, and a moon crater digger. And the redneck said about another artifact--Put this in a Petrie dish, and it'll grow into a Wall Street trader. One item was a substitute pet. A couple other fun comments were: I don't think I've seen one of these ever; that's how long it's been. And If it ain't broke, there's no point in lending it any money. Afterwards we went to the con suite for a soda, and then back to our room.
Saturday morning we went to the early show in the video room to see Monsters vs. Aliens, which I hadn't seen. And then The Middle Man, a cancelled TV show (one season), which I'd never heard of. (Thanks to Arthur Dykeman for the background.) It was fun and different. Someone in the audience compared it to Firefly, another good show that was cancelled before more people had a chance to see it. We thought about going to the breakfast buffet in the restaurant afterwards, but it was too expensive, so we went to the dealers room, where I bought a book of SF cartoons, and went back to the art show and voted for my favorite artwork.
At ll am, I went to the trivia contest, which is a lot like Jeopardy. My partner and I didn't do real well, but I still won some dealers bucks, which I spent later on more books. The winning team was impressive! After the contest, which is always a lot of fun, my sister and I went to the con suite for soda and snacks before going to the Lee and Miller panel at 1 pm. We caught the end of the Sexuality in Science Fiction panel Interesting ideas for relationships and romance. It's not just naked babes and sales. Michael Conrad postulated a relationship between a merman and a pterodactyl woman, whose meetings were brief....
The Lee and Miller panel started late as the previous panel ran late, as they tend to. I enjoyed learning how they met and started writing together and their personal background. (Steve's grandmother gave books as gifts; and his stepfather was a jock…) Afterwards we caught another The Middleman episode. (I've since ordered the DVD of the series from amazon.)
Then it was on to the charity auction where I had a chance to get my name into one of McDevitt's books. Tempting, but expensive. There were also books and groups of books, magazines, a game, jewelry, prints, and two Ben Bova mss. Checked out the video room and watched parts of a couple old TV series (The Scarlet Pimpernel and Captain Midnight). And went to our room, checked out the freebie tables for new stuff, etc. before going to the masquerade. I visited with a vampire slayer before that. There was also a dessert buffet beforehand--a table full of marvelously delicious brownies and cookies! People wandered back and forth with blissful looks upon their faces.
The contestants and judges slowly gathered for the masquerade. The judges were Patricia Wheeler, Rob Balder, and Rob O'Brien, a Walt Disney costumer. The contestants included Terri Wells as a beginning mad scientist; Don Myers as Don of the Dead (earlier he had a chain saw through his back, but it got too heavy); the Grim Reaper (very impressive; he sure reminded me of DEATH in the Terry Pratchett books): Melissa, the vampire hunter; and more.
While waiting for the judges to return with their decisions, the chili contest winners were announced. The Fan's Choice was Chili con Hombre and the Cthulhu (hottest) winner I didn't catch. And the charity auction brought in $692.00. Now it was time for the winners of the masqerade contest:
#1 was Lonnie Johnson (I think); #2 was Melissa Sleeman, Vampire Hunter; and #3 was Don of the Dead, the zombie.
Then I caught the end of the zombie panel, which included werewolves at the end, while waiting for filking at 9 pm. Unfortunately there was a problem with the sound system. Apparently the filker was using recorded music instead of an instrument, and I was disappointed with the microphone quality also, and we left.
We got up early Sunday morning before anything opened or started, so we checked out the video room (Thanks, Arthur) and watched some of Green Lantern: First Flight. Later we went to the con suite for soda and a sandwich and then back to the video room to watch part of Up, which I've been wanting to see again, but we had to register for next year's Oasis and check out of the hotel. (We left our bags at the desk.) We got back to the video room in time for the closing credits of Up. Drat. I bought a book from an author, who signed it; and then caught the end of the Romance in SF and Fantasy panel while waiting for the How to Sell Your Work panel. The panelists were Glenda and Tony Finkelstein, Chris Berman, Gary Roen, and C.L. (Cheryl) Wilson. They shared their stories as to how they first got published. Networking, joining a genre organization, going to cons and meeting people there all help. The Finkelsteins go to 12-15 cons a year to sell and network, and they're now working in films also. Some of the panelists first connected with the others at cons. Lots of interesting background.
After that panel we visited the con suite and the video room, where we saw parts of Rocket Robin Hood, a really old TV cartoon, which had been edited by Tom Reed with funny captions. I missed Fantastic Four to get to the next panel at 1 pm. Before that I caught the end of the Oil to Acrylic to Digital art panel, where they were excitedly discussing the use of computer programs… It's just a tool!
I enjoyed the stories shared at the How to Make Sure Your Manuscript Gets Rejected panel. Panelists were Jaclyn Dolamore, Jack McDevitt (moderator), Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Gary Roen, and C.L. Wilson. Advice included: Don't look unprofessional, Know your market and the requirements. Do they want a cover letter? A query? A partial? A synopsis? Help the editor!
That was the last panel for us. I wanted to see the new Dr. Who episodes (fresh from England), but our ride called just as the first episode (it was a two-parter) started. Pfui! But it was time to make our way to I4. Do we turn here? Here?! We finally made it to I4 and home though, and you know that I'm looking forward to next year!