On Friday I drove over to the airport Hilton near Hartsfield-Jackson to purchase a weekend pass to AnachroCon (www.anachrocon.org), a small historical fiction convention held in the Atlanta metro area every year since 2009.
An Outsider’s History of AnachroCon
AnachroCon was launched around the time that the Steampunk Movement hit (around 2009 to 2012), and like most cons it enjoyed its moment in the spotlight.
For more on trends in fandom read ‘20 Years of Cosplay Trends at Dragon Con’.October 2017
From the outset, the convention’s stated focus was “steampunk, historical reenactment, time travel, and other related genres” – but still, it’s no secret there was always a very special love for Steampunk.
I’ve probably attended 4 or 5 AnachroCons – my bona fides in Steampunk were established back in 2007 when I assisted the infamous space pirate Captain Drew with the design, production, and promotion of his steam-powered rPhone™ and later his incredibly unexpected, highly unnecessary nuclear-powered rPlank™.
Once Steampunk hit the mainstream I moved on to new creative outlets, but I’ve always remained interested in how AnachroCon fares.
AnachroCon: Tracks & Panels
In sci-fi convention parlance “topics of interest” are referred to as “tracks”, and the history track for this convention has been around since its earliest days.
Per the unwritten rules of science fiction, the more garish the title of a panel the more likely you are to attract a crowd.
Some of my favorite past panels from AnachroCon include “The Influence of Ancient India on the Victorian World” and “Captain Rumpot and the Drunken Pirates of the Caribbean” (which became suddenly and especially messy a few years ago).
Friends in High Places
Since I’ve been so busy preparing for the 10th Anniversary of Cardboard*Con I had not planned to attend this year’s AnachroCon until I learned that so many of my friends had been made track directors. When all your friends start being put in charge of things you know that you’ve hit a new stage in life.
These friends were directing tracks like costuming, history, and Doctor Who – and our friend Boldar was spinning tunes for the big dance.
Since my schedule was so tight I only had time to attend during the evenings on Friday and Saturday.
AnachroCon: Friday, February 15th
I had a good long conversation with Doctor Who Track Director Roger Riddle about vintage Doctor Who fandom.
Later, I attended a panel featuring my friend Chad Gilbert discussing his side gig: paranormal investigations.
While I’ve recently become a fan of the long-running episodic ‘Supernatural’, I remain a skeptic of real-life paranormalists. However, it was entertaining to see Chad up in front of the room with the rest of his team from the North Georgia Paranormal Society, discussing some of the cases they’ve taken.
AnachroCon: Saturday, February 16th
The only event I attended on Saturday was a panel by professional anthropologist Dr. Mozingo-Gorman titled “The Real Planet of the Apes”, which provided a very engaging presentation and discussion about the behavior and cultures of Orangutans, Gorillas, Bonobos, and Chimpanzees. It was really great.
I missed out on attending my friends Foe and Tam’s costuming track, and I was way too tired to stay up for Boldar’s late night dance party.
Catching Up at Con
As my troupe of human nerds settles down more and more we don’t get to see each in person quite as often. People drift in and out to new circles and it’s easy to drift apart through nothing more than the sheer inertia of life.
Before the era of social media conventions were a great place to catch up in real life. I’m beginning to think that as people put less and less onto social media the old tradition of ‘catching up at con’ may return.
A “Convention of Learning”
As I was driving home on Saturday night I was thinking how interesting the panel on great apes had been and I was wondering if a convention devoted specifically to a wide variety of historical and scientific topics could attract an audience.
Practicing professionals, giving presentations about their field of study, aimed at the layman. The closest thing we have right now is probably AnachroCon, and I know that people go to sci-fi cons to escape the real world for a while.
Wouldn’t you be interested in a con devoted to topics ranging from biology to architecture, chemistry to world religion, computer science to cognitive studies? I would certainly be interested in attending something like that, and I might be interested in being a presenter on topics I know, but would defer to more credentialed people.
Heck, people could still cosplay if they wanted to. Why not?
BUT: I’m not organizing it, you turkeys.