Choices! We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Choices! (Or How the Information Booths Can Help You Navigate Through Dragon*Con)

Monday night. Already I am anxious. I don’t know what I will be doing come Friday morning—and I must know. Choices. Too many options, I cannot see ahead. Panic.

Where to start: “Nimoy & Shatner” or “Write a Story in an Hour?” At least I know I’ll be remaining in the Hyatt for the next session, but will it be the Writing Track’s “Storytelling…Is it a Lost Art?” or Dark Fantasy’s “New Blood”? Then comes the 1PM, 2:30PM, and 4PM slots wherein I have eleven panels to attend.

I’d pull my hair out now…if it were long enough to grasp the roots and I weren’t distracted by the shining options Dragon*Con’s organizers set before me.

“Knights Templar,” “Women Warriors,” “Age of Conan,” “Fightin’ and Writin’,” “100 Way to Kill (Your Characters)”—parenthesis added—my day could be filled with blades and bloodshed. Oh, and I can’t forget to bring along those books for the “Book Swap” in Greenbriar. Swingin’ and Swappin’ might be more like it.

Then there is finding our own Eugie Foster (Daily Dragon editor; Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice), catching up and saying “Thanks!”; reacquainting with Laura J. Underwood (The King’s Wind), Nathan Jerpe (Legerdemain), Bill Ward (“The Wolf of Winter,” Rage of the Behemoth), and Larry Elmore (SovereignStone and the art of Dragonlance); meeting Rob Santa (Ricasso Press), Nancy Knight (Writers’ Track Director), and Richard A. Knaak (Dragonrealm). Not to mention all those other folks, the ones with autographing, reading, selling, and posing on the schedule. Networking with other members of the small press and the numerous authors and artists of heroic fantasy adventure is equally important. Of course, delivering the pre-bought copies of Rogue Blade Entertainment titles (Return of the Sword and the newly released Rage of the Behemoth) I brought along is a high priority. Busy times ahead it seems.

Map and Pocket Program a-hand—dueling kaleidoscopes of yellow, green, pink, and blue highlights somehow apropos—I sift through my options. Endless questions coalesce in unanswerable assault: Which hotel? What time? Which floor? Room number? Who’s speaking, reading? The panelists and sponsors? Topic? What are my other options? When will I eat?

Choices! Far too many of them. If only the Dragon*Con organizers had considered us attendees when designing the convention’s schedules/formats/locations/lines/topics/speakers/tracks/parties/travel. There should be a lifeguard station hovering above, scheduleguards perched on every side, lookouts ready at a moment’s notice to advise:

  • “Hil”? For Hilton (versus “H” for Hyatt), across the street.
  • “Grand Ballroom?” Sheraton.
  • “Robotics? Books? Folklore? Music? Comics? Beagle? Armor? Film? Art or Taxes? Art and Taxes? Publishing, writing, reading?”

Wait they did! There are harbors of reason and calm in the perilous seas of Dragon*Con information overload.

Information Booths are located in each host hotel to help you choose your path, schedule an efficient timetable, prioritize your choices, find the quickest routes, advise you on where to eat, and, of course, find the loo:

Hyatt – Ballroom Level – Hours:

  • Thursday: 2PM-11PM
  • Friday-Sunday: 9AM-10PM
  • Monday: 9AM-4PM

Marriott – Marquis Level – Hours:

  • Friday-Sunday: 9AM-10PM
  • Monday: 9AM-2PM

Hilton – Second Floor – Hours:

  • Friday-Sunday: 9AM-9PM
  • Monday: 9AM-2PM

Sheraton – Level 3 – Hours:

  • Thursday: 2PM-11PM
  • Friday-Sunday: 9AM-10PM
  • Monday: 9AM-2PM

Author of the article

Sometime artist, sometime writer, all time reader, all time dancer. Jason M. Waltz has spent almost 35 years dancing with words ~ writing tall tales, reading books of all sorts, telling and retelling those stories. And now reviewing and editing and publishing them. Heroic adventure fiction, from Westerns to fantasy to Fedora Fiction to thriller, is what he's all about. Owner/operator of Rogue Blades Entertainment -- THE small press publisher putting the SWORD back into swordplay and the HERO back into heroics -- he's come for his second go 'round with the beast named Dragon*Con. This time, he's determined to tame her, blade in one hand, stylus in the other.

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