I spent a wonderful weekend at Shore Leave 40, a Star Trek/general sci-fi and fantasy convention held in Hunt Valley, MD. I’ve been going to this convention since the mid-1990’s, and it’s always a fun time.
I was fortunate enough to run three panels this year. The first was Not Your Grandfather’s Fandom, which discussed the changes in fandom and sci-fi and fantasy in general over the last four or five decades. This was something I did last year as well, and it was just as well-attended and enthusiastically participated-in as it was before. The second was How Tabletop Gaming Changed Media and Literature, which was a neat topic wherein I discussed how games like D&D might have taken ideas from Tolkien and others, but they became crystalized in a sort of “generic fantasy setting” through the spread of D&D (itself largely enabled by the fandom community). The third was Trek and Transhumanism, which discussed how various transhumanist technologies have been treated in Star Trek over the years. This one got the most feedback, and led to some fascinating and in-depth discussions. Next year I’ll break it up into two separate panels, as we didn’t have time to cover everything in as much depth as I or the audience would have liked.
William Shatner was the featured guest, but there were tons of others, and as usual they had a well-stocked game room and cosplay was to be found throughout the con. There’s also a Masquerade contest and a live-DJ dance party on Saturday night, as well as a huge dealer’s room (with overflow into two other areas). I cannot recommend Shore Leave highly enough if you’re anywhere in the area. And now, some photos!