V for VCON
Voilà! A vortex is on the verge of visiting Vancouver. Veer into the vanguard to save. Voyage to its venue for a vacation from the vestiges of the vanilla. Venerable veterans and verdant virgins alike will welcome VIPs and other versatile vocationists. Together, a vibrant village of variety they vivify. Vivid vistas hang in view, vendors vie for the valuables of your pocket vault, verses are voiced at volume with verve, and valourous victories and violent vexing vanquishes are vaunted. Victuals, viands, vodka, and vino flow in the vicinity of the voluble, their vociferous and vehement reverberations, and their eavesdroppers. The vain vogue in vestments of velvet and velour for a vote–or just vamp vivaciously in vinyl for voyeurs. Vile verbiage is valiantly vocalized verbatim while their vulgar vignettes are vaguely revised vaudeville-style. Receive a verdict–validation or veto–of your verbosity from veritable viceroys of vocabulary, or vow to quiver under their vigilance. And can a viral idea vouch for and make visible a believed vast array of vintage vials, virtual vessels, and varied souvenirs now veiled in fan vestibules? Various other activities are available for the most voracious: view videos, vibrate vigourously to volatile rhythms, or merely veg in a vantage point to revel in the vibe. Verily, this venture is no vapid, venal vehicle with but a veneer of veracity; its virtue and vitality comes via valued, vital volunteers. Vindication: this year is version 31; this visual of violet and vermillion is its visage; its website, its vade-mecum; and you may call it VCON.
[Expansion to initial entry]
VCON is the annual Vancouver-area science fiction, fantasy, and gaming convention, happening this year from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 October, at the Executive Airport Plaza in Richmond. The guest of honour this year is writer Barbara Hambley. All-weekend memberships are $50 until after this Friday (15 September), then they’re $60. There’s a VCON preview at BIFF on that last day.
The big thing about VCON is that it’s fan run. It’s not an event put on by, say, the producers of a tv show as part of the marketing for the show and to sell merchandise. The organizers are almost all locals, as are most of the dealers. Guests and attendees, well, many are locals too, but the idea of course is to play host to fans coming in from outside the region. But it’s an event run by fans, for fans, and the biggest tell is that it doesn’t sell tickets, nor admission, but memberships. Those who attend are seen not as an audience to be passively entertained but members of a club, people with common or overlapping interests, who attend to to meet others participate. And even to help out, to work, where needed–to volunteer.
Back in July, a comment to the post Richmond the science fiction capital of Richmond quoted a list of movie and tv sequels as summing up everything that was wrong with science fiction today. I argue that science fiction encompasses more than just movies and tv and even if franchised sequels do represent all that’s wrong with science fiction, then all that’s right with science fiction is represented by fans who come together, in real-life, face-to-face meetups, whether small informal ones or large, painfully organized ones. And in the Vancouver area at least, this happens frequently and regularly. VCON’s big, but just one out of many such get-togethers of fans. Its focus is to have no focus. It isn’t a Star Trek convention, nor a comics con, a gaming con, an anime con, or any kind of ‘special-interest’ convention, but a general science fiction and fantasy one, bringing together all the different areas of fan interest. A kind of rainbow gathering, if you will.
As an exercise, feel free to try to match a V-phrase in the opening V-paragraph to a corresponding section on the VCON website (GOH and panelists, art show, dealers’ room, filking, gaming, hospitality, masquerade, turkey readings, writers’ workshop, master classes in writing genre fiction, museum of the imagination).
(Disclosure: I’m on the organizing committee of this year’s VCON.)