My First Discworld Convention

So this weekend I went to NADWcon: The North American Discworld convention.

I know what you’re thinking. Technically there shouldn’t be a “W” in that acronym. But without it, they’d have to call the convention NADcon, and that would attract the entirely wrong sort of attendee.

Truth is, the last thing I needed in my schedule right now was another convention. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cons, I do. I love hanging out with other geeks, being on panels, doing readings and signing books. It’s a good time.

But conventions tend to be expensive, exhausting, and time-consuming. Any two of those are hard to deal with, but all three together can be a crushing combination. Especially now that little Oot is in the picture. He’s sentient enough to miss me, and I feel guilty leaving him for days at a time.

Luckily, this con was in Madison, which is pretty much my backyard. I can drive there in less than two hours, and Sarah and Oot can come along with relatively little hassle.

But the real reason I was willing to go to this convention was the fact that Terry Pratchett was attending.

I’ve talked about Pratchett’s books on the blog before. Most specifically, his book Nation, and the Tiffany Aching series.

I haven’t bothered mentioning him much more than that for the simple reason that I assume you’ve already read his stuff. If you read my books, you read fantasy. And if you read fantasy, you know about Terry Pratchett. Q.E.D.

Anyway. Suffice to say that I’m a Pratchett fan. I’ve been reading him for more than 20 years, and the thought of getting to see him in person was too much to pass up.

The convention was a different experience for me. I’m used to cons where all different types of geeks get together and revel in their nerdery. You’ll see someone dressed up as Harry Dresden chatting with a hot vulcan girl. You’ll see a catgirl playing Catan with a kid wearing a Dalek outfit.

But at this con, the focus was all Pratchett, and 98% of that focus was Discworld.

That means no catgirls. Many feegles.

I did a tiny signing and a tiny reading. I wasn’t really an official part of the convention because I don’t have anything to do with Pratchett (other than liking him a bunch.) But that itself was nice in a way, as it meant I could spend time with my family.

Cool things:

  • There was a guy there who did crazy-cool balloon animals. I’m not talking about a hat or a poodle or shit like that. I’m talking about Death Riding A Motorcycle.

Or Granny Weatherwax:

He also did a cool dragon for Oot:

This picture doesn’t do the dragon justice. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that it’s awesome, and it looks like it’s breathing fire.

  • I got to hear Terry talk about writing and tell stories.

A lot of the biggest panels were ones featuring Terry himself. Including one about his work on The Long Earth with Steven Baxter.

  • Swag.

I bought a copy of Thud! and some coins and stamps from Discworld. It’s cool to see things like stamps from a fictional world. They’re an odd combination of souvenir and artifact. I’d love to make some coins set in the Four Corners world….

  • Neil Gaiman.

Neil made a surprise appearance at the con where he and Terry spent a couple of hours talking about Good Omens on a panel. It was cool watching them tell embarrassing stories about each other. They knew each other back in the day, back before they strode the earth like titans.

Oot slept through the panel, which was nice, as that meant Sarah and I both got to listen to it, as opposed to having to tag-team and take turns watching him.

He woke up at the very end, just as Gaiman was presenting Pratchett with an award. After looking around bleerily for a moment, he correctly sensed the mood of the room and burst out with a preemptive “Yay!”

It was a sentiment pretty much everyone shared.

It was a good time overall. Oot made some kid-aged friends and got to climb stairs, so he was happy. Sarah got to go to a con and bum around State Street a bit, so she had a good time, too.

But for me, the high point of the weekend was on the last day of the con, when I got Terry Pratchett’s autograph.

More about that tomorrow,

pat

This entry was posted in conventions, Oot, Sarah, Tales from the ConBy Pat33 Responses

33 Comments

  1. ktsmom
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Forgive me for being an out of the loop old lady, but… why would the title “NADcon” attract the entirely wrong sort of attendee?

    • GoodTriumphs
      Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

      NAD is a slang term for the male parts also sometimes refered to as the “berries” from the “twig and berries”

    • Klaxon
      Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

      Nad is a shortened version of gonads. Nadcon would thus be a conventional of nuts.

  2. Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    That sounds like a really cool convention!! Some day I’ll go to one of these awesome conventions held in other states.

  3. bookwyrmpoet
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    nads is a slang term for a part of the male genitalia, which is why the wrong sort of people might attend by mistake

  4. Matilda1782
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Oh. My. God. I am so completely jealous. I want a discworld balloon. I want discworld stamps. And I want Terry Pratchett’s autograph. The Discworld series were pretty much the first sci-fi/fantasy books I got into. I own every single one, and even bought some of his books when I was in England that I couldn’t find here. If I had to pick one series that was my favorite, that would be it (sorry, Pat, even though I absolutely love your books!). How is it that I live in Mosinee and did not know about this?? Also, btw, I have read this blog for a long time, but never went through the registration process to be able to comment. This post prompted me to do so. That’s how absolutely jealous I am. :)

  5. darthmonkey
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    I had a great time there as well. Incidentally, please do make a coin set. It would be a great thing to have from your books since the coinage is mentioned a lot.

  6. He without a clever name
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Glad you guys had a good time. It’s nice that you can still go to such things and be a part of the crowd and get all geeky with everyone. Seems like a very good level of celebrity to be.

    The newspaper-type clipping of Gaiman is awesome.

    Unrelated, but for the Gaiman fans on here, I recently discovered Dreamhavenbooks.com, which has a Neil Gaiman section where you can get signed Gaimans. Sites legit as Gaiman posted about it in his blog, specifically that you could get signed American Gods from there if you were so inclined. Apologies that this post turned into a mini advertisement, but it made my day, so I thought it might make some of yours as well. Now to go wait on UPS guy or gal.

    • Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. I highly recommend Dreamhaven. They’ve got a nice selection of rare and signed books. All very realistically priced….

  7. Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    It was a great con, and it was so much fun that you got to be a part of it (I highly enjoyed your reading and Coffee Klatch).

  8. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    I love that you used Q.E.D. in the blog. I feel that it is an under appreciated acronym.

    Sounds like you had a blast, looking forward to stories :)

  9. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Oh also: coin set for Woldbuilders in the Tinker’s Packs next year? I think so.

  10. metalhobbit
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    I am insanely jealous of you…

  11. DietchyPeach
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    anybody other than me find the first few chapters of A Dance with Dragons a little not to great?

  12. CapitanaCanija
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    I am so jealous! I wanted to be there! And now I’ve seen it, I want a Granny Weatherwax with the “I ain’t dead” note! Mi favourite Discworld books are those which are about the city Watch, buy Granny Weatherwax is the best character in all the series! (it could be just because my first Discworld book was Equal Rites, but I have read all the other that have been published in spanish, and I love her even more now!)

  13. Erzberger
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    I´d go to NADcon. Out of morbid curiosity.

  14. Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    Sounds like a whole lot of fun :-)
    (matilda, you can order discworld stamos and such from The DiscWorld Emporium in Wincanton. They ship worldwide

    • Matilda1782
      Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

      Thanks Marjorie. But it would be so much cooler to get them from a Discworld convention :)

  15. schmiddynick
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    That sounds amazing. Although I must admit and my girlfriend agrees with me on this sentiment that things like stamps and other such artifacts from the Four Corners world of your books would be incredible. The things I would to be able to get my hands on a gram… Suffice it to say I’m an avid fan and collector of prop replicas of all sorts.

  16. pablohunny
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Awesome. I have tried to explain my deep and abiding love of Pratchett to many people and they either get it with a single word, or they refuse to understand. I envy you deeply and wish I didn’t feel so much like a stalker every time I think I could maybe get his signature :)

  17. taylor_s
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Discworld is a series I keep meaning to delve into… after I read The Wise Man’s Fear, I’m either jumping into that series, or American Gods (which piqued my interest after a comment you made about it).

    The troubling part for me with Discworld is where to start – a seemingly common issue. There’s apparently multiple great starting points, but deciding is tough when you know nothing of a series (such as in the graph here: http://boingboing.net/2007/09/30/pratchetts-discworld.html ). Any recommendations for that?

    I also have troubles reading books after ‘The Name of the Wind’ – superb story, great immersion and setting, and amazing, poetic writing. I’m working on Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ right now, as I’ve been anticipating the just-released book for a half-dozen years… and while I love the story and complexities, the actual writing makes me miss Kvothe.

    • Little My
      Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

      I usually give people Reaper Man or Wyrd Sisters to start with, when I’m evangelizing. I think they capture the flavor and are not particularly dependent on earlier stuff. Small Gods is also brilliant. Most of the books can really stand alone but I think the earlier ones can help you appreciate references, or cameos, in the later ones. And the later ones often tackle more serious issues along with the humor. Not that that’s a bad thing.

      • taylor_s
        Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

        Thanks for the tip! That gives a good idea to look for to start.

  18. emilyesse
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, this is Emily, Chair of the con. I am so glad you had a good time at NADWCon2011! I wish we’d gotten a chance to actually meet. If only someone had pointed you out to me, I certainly would have come over to say hello. :) Anyway, thanks for participating in our programming – I heard great feedback about the panels you were on and how well-structured they were. Well done!

    All my best,

    Emily

  19. Eedamme
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:49 AM | Permalink

    Sending you and yours kind and happy thoughts Pat. Hope all goes well tomorrow.

  20. cinnkitty
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    I had some friends at the convention as well. He was dressed up at The Librarian and she was dressed up as Kelda. They presented Mr. Pratchett with this amazing Discworld quilt she had made. She said he liked it so much that he was going to put it in his luggage (carry on that is). :)

  21. dash2481
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Actually, I am not a huge fantasy fan. I love Tolkien, of course, and, to a lesser degree C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. I guess I also enjoyed Neverwhere and Stardust by Gaiman, but I don’t consider myself being really ‘in’ to heavy fantasy. That’s what I love about your books! They are great books that just happen to be fantasy. And, yes, I did lump you in with the greats like Tolkien and Gaiman. Don’t let it go to your head. :)

    • dash2481
      Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

      I meant to add the following quote before my comment:
      If you read my books, you read fantasy.

      I am not quite used to the WordPress tags.

  22. Melody
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, I just wanted to say I agree with this person. I am fully NOT a fantasy reader. I’m my own kind of geek, and everything else on my top 10 reading list looks a little bit like Gone with the Wind, Kushiel’s Dart, Outlander, The Pillars of the Earth, The Hot Zone, The Stand and The Thorn Birds. Sometimes a great book is a great book no matter which genre it belongs to. I have a close group of four, myself and three other friends.

    1) Reads Fantasy and Historical Fiction almost exclusively. Loved the Historian and introduced me to The Name Of the Wind
    2) Reads Romance and Historical Romance – I showed her The Name of the Wind – she loved it
    3) (myself) Reads a little bit of everything, but mostly Historical Fiction and Historical Romance as well, with a few Mysteries and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.
    4) Has read 2 books in the past year, not a huge reader

    All of us, loving different genres and styles of books have loved the two current volumes of the Kingkiller Chronicle. I have lent your book to my step-mom and many of my friends from different ages and interest sets.

    Just so you know…. not just fantasy readers read your books Pat!

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    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

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