How I Got My Money's Worth at Dragon*Con

G and I took an actual vacation (days in which neither of us worked!) to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, and man did we have a lot of fun. The cost was, on our scales, unthinkably huge, so I was determined to make the best possible use of our time. So worth it! G and I split up a lot of the time, so I can’t account for all of his adventures, but here’s what I did:


  • Read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and A Study in Scarlet to G while he drove to Georgia.
  • Climbed Stone Mountain at sunset.
  • Saw a guy propose to a girl in a walk-in fountain in downtown Atlanta.


  • Hung out with interesting people in the early registration line. Increased freckle count.
  • Walked all over downtown Atlanta looking at interesting things.
  • Ate a frickin’ amazing omelet at Landmark Cafe.
  • Fell in love with Pandora Celtica at their concert (and also heard Emerald Rose).


  • Learned how to cause and prevent session hijacking mischief at the Firesheep panel.
  • Listened to useful writing advice from Kevin J. Anderson, author of beloved paperbacks that Mom used to buy for me at the grocery store.
  • Had a local beer with the FDO to celebrate the All Pro release. Got my Kindle cover signed!
  • Bought gorgeous red contacts to go with my horns and taught myself to meet people’s eyes.
  • Learned how to follow someone on foot (it’s research!)
  • Learned how to pronounce Shanara from Terry Brooks.
  • Danced to Bella Morte and Voltaire, LIVE


  • G held a door for Edward James Olmos.
  • Met Mur Lafferty, fangirlled pitifully, and got my Kindle cover signed again. Life goal complete!
  • Learned to differentiate between small press, large press, and self publishing.
  • Saw a million crazy amazing costumes, including two xenomorphs, two life-sized wookiees, a flawless Obi Wan, about a platoon of stormtroopers, steampunk Boba Fett (my favorite!), an adorable Kalie, a dozen Mals, mage Hawke and Carver, the full cast of TF2, eight or ten Deadpools, Ms. Marvel, several Chis, many anime girls without pants, and a 15-foot tall screaming Nazgul.
  • Watched beluga whales play with someone dressed as Snoopy to the soundtrack from The Matrix at the Georgia Aquarium.
  • Sang along with Jonathan Coulton.
  • Danced to Abney Park and Freezepop. Undies (not mine) were actually thrown on the stage.


  • Heard chapters from Faith Hunter’s new books and won one of her old ones! Also got an arrowhead pendant that she made. I might have scared her with my red eyes.
  • Did more research on AI motivation for my current project at an expert panel
  • Learned how internet marketing works (although I still think the word needs two t’s)
  • Photographed Sherlock and Watson cosplayers, and learned nifty things about themes.
  • Had coffee with female Star Child in full stage costume.
  • Tried to attend the Cruxshadows concert, but we were too tired from all the fandom and we barely made it back to the hotel.


  • Discovered that I accidentally follow the hero’s journey properly in my current project.
  • Shopped for weird.
  • Bade farewell to my new con friends.
  • Read The Sign of the Four to G on the way home.
  • Made plans to come back next year.
  • Discovered a page refresh button on my mouse which necessitated rewriting this post more than once.

I’m sure I’ve left some things out. There were a lot of great people and sleep deprivation involved. I feel like a real person again. Can’t wait for next year!

R. E. Stearns