A Brief Report on ConDFW XIII

ConDFW XIII was held over the weekend of February 21-23, 2014.  The author GoH was Kevin J. Anderson, and the artist GoH was Alain Viesca.

Yes, I realize I’m a little late in getting this post up.  It’s been hectic.


People came from all over the galaxy to attend ConDFW

This was the second year ConDFW was in its new hotel, but since I wasn’t able to attend last year, it was new to me.  And a little confusing at times.  This is the same hotel as Fencon.  Every now and then I went looking for something and it wasn’t where I was expecting it to be.

I’ve only missed two ConDFW’s, and I can say that this one was a little different.  For one thing, the attendance didn’t seem to be as high as it has been in the past.  Some of the panels I attended had almost as many panelists as people in the audience, and many in the audience were panelists with that hour free.

Still there were some good panels, although the ones I was most interested in were all scheduled opposite each other.  That’s the way it always seems to work out.


Katherine Eliska Kimbriel reading

First a couple of negatives.  I don’t know why, but the art show had hardly any works on display.  Perhaps this was due to the low attendance, I don’t know, but there were more empty panels than there were ones displaying art.

The con suite has never been the strong point of this convention, at least not in recent years.  The first few years it was pretty good, from what I can recall.  This year was an all time low.  There was hardly anything out, including cheap snacks.  After a couple of disappointing passes through the room, I didn’t bother to go back.  If there was one thing I would suggest the concom work on for next year, it would be the con suite.


A reading featuring (l. to r.) Adrian Simmons, William Ledbetter, and T. M. Hunter

The best part of the convention was hanging out with friends.  Even if I had known my finances were about to get really tight, I probably would still have gone.  It’s the people that make the travel and expense worth it.  I roomed with Lou Antonelli as I often do.  No complaints there.  Especially after he hosted a room party Saturday night and gave me some of the left over beverages to take home Sunday.  Thanks again, Lou.  I’ll not try to list everyone I got to spend time with because I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out.

I attended more readings than I have at recent conventions, which was a positive thing.


My acquisitions from the charity book swap.

One thing that was great was the charity book swap.  You didn’t have to swap anything.  Mass market paperbacks were a dollar.  This year there were a number of titles from the late 70s and 80s that were in great condition.  I loaded up on replacement copies for a number of titles and filled in a few gaps.  As you can see from the photo on the right, I got some early Asimov Presents the Great SF, a couple of nice titles by Harlan Ellison (which I immediately started rereading in the room), and an almost complete set of H. Beam Piper.  In hindsight, I wish I’d grabbed more, like some of the Ballatine Best of series, but I wasn’t sure which ones I had multiple copies of and decided to go for the ones I knew I only had single copies.

And speaking of books, ebooks certainly were making themselves felt in the dealer’s room.  There were only one or two vendors carrying new titles from major imprints, and their selections were limited.  There were a number of authors selling self-published titles.  At one time there would have been at least one large table with a wide selection of titles across the board.

On the whole, it was a good convention, if a little different from what I was expecting.  Fencon and ConDFW are very different conventions in many ways, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area is lucky to have them.  They are both great conventions, and I hope they last for many decades.  I’m hoping to make it back next year, but the distance is a factor as well as the expense, so we’ll see.

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