RustyCon34 or What I Did On My Weekend

In January, each year, Seattle has a little SciFi and Fantasy convention, RustyCon. This year—its 34th—it was held January 13 – 15, 2017. The theme was “A Gathering of Guilds.” Hundreds of people gathered over the three days to express their love of science fiction and fantasy through events like games, costuming, an art show, writer’s panels and readings by authors from their latest works.

Special guests included Robin Hobb, a fantasy novelist known for Assassin’s Apprentice, Michaela Eaves, an artist and author, and Bill Doran, a professional prop maker. After having the chance to hear Hobb read from her new book, I had the good fortune to spend ten minutes alone with her, during which she validated my writer’s voice. I expressed my concern that the fantasy writer’s voice had changed in the years since I was a heavy reader of the genre–many new books I’ve read or heard part of have a very different feel from what I remember. My voice is similar to Hobb’s—she called it the fairy tale voice—”once upon a time…” No experience can compare with a novice listening to a master of her trade.

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Robin Hobb reading from ‘Fool’s Assassin’

I wandered through the game room, the art show and the marketplace, where I learned all about armor. I talked to an artist who draws anime and he shared some tools of the trade with me, like a flip book app on his Nintendo device for making animations.

Mainly, I went for the writer’s panels, of which there were plenty. If I had chosen to, I could have filled every hour of the conference with a different panel, usually being forced to choose between several. As it was, I went to thirteen over the two days I was in attendance. They covered diverse topics such as online publishing; world creation; writing characters—women, villains, powerful protagonists and antagonists; and sex—keeping it real, how far to go, relationships outside what might be considered ‘normal.’

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Robin Hobb, G R Theron, Tom D Wright and Shannon Dilley on the Creating Your World panel

Because the convention is so small, the panels were intimate gatherings of three to four panelists and a small audience ranging in size from ten down to one, me. In the smaller ones, it became just conversations among writers. I saw the same panelists on many of the panels, so got to know a few of them over the course of the two days. It was enjoyable.

One person I had met before was Elizabeth Guizzetti. She was one of the guest readers at a monthly writer’s group I frequent, Two Hour Transport, which meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at Cafe Racer in the University District of Seattle. They have an open mic followed by two invited guest readers. The genres are SciFi and Fantasy. I love to read from my book at the open mic–five minutes in front of a live audience. The guest readers are icing. It’s so much fun to have people like Guizzetti come to share with us, and to hear their works with their own voices. She read from her indie-book, “The Grove.”

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Elizabeth Guizzetti, John Lovett, Sienna Saint-Cyr and Rebecca Birch on the Bechdel Test panel

Guizzetti was on four of the panels I attended. Other frequent panelists I saw were Rebecca Birch, John Lovett, Timothy Trimble, Anthea Sharp, Tod McCoy, Tom D Wright, G.R. (Grant Ryddell) Theron, Sienna Saint-Cyr, Manny Frishberg and Richard Gilmore. They all had different things to add that enriched the discussions.

I’m so glad I got to meet and get to know all these storytellers. A number of them talked about going to NorWesCon (April 13 – 16 in SeaTac, WA). I hope to meet some of them again when I attend it and other local conventions.

Thanks to the dedicated organizers of RustyCon. I know it was a huge amount of work to put this together and run make a success.

Copyright ©2014-17 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

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