04 Jul

What’s a Barbados Sci Fi Con like? AnimeKon Expo snapshots

It was like the ComicCon of the Caribbean!

People of all ages. Men and women. A full cross section of the region showed up to share in their love of all things science fiction in a wide variety of media.

One thing that struck me about the event was the shared nature of space. The main convention hall featured a large video screen and stage. Keynotes, announcements, some Anime spots, some fan-created mixups, Kinect video game dancing, a costume show, and a live band all were featured on the stage. Something was always going on!

Then throughout the booths there were people playing board games, videogames, selling comics, books, signing things, selling T-shirts, or promoting their services. There was a fusion or synergy that came out of that which I enjoyed. It felt like a giant family gathering at times, no matter how you choose to consume your sci fi!

Here’s a walk through I put on youtube.

Lots of enthusiastic people.

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Magic: The Gathering was being played right next to me. The crowds there kept growing, as players were often offering to teach newer players how to get started.

I met more fans of my work in Barbados than I dared hope. I love you all! What an unexpected treat to find so many people already familiar with my work. Often I’d start explaining the books to someone who stopped by to have them hold up a hand and say they’d already purchased or read one of the books or heard of me.

Barbados is one of the most literate nations in the world, and Bajans also love their Sci Fi (although one of their complaints was that local bookstores were not catching onto this, so they were all hitting Amazon up heavily to get their Sci Fi fixes!). One lady told me an anecdote about the time Isaac Asimov was on a cruise ship to Barbados, and gave a speech that she snuck out of school to go see! As a result of all this enthusiasm, I sold more copies of my books than I’ve sold at any single event before. I came with three full suitcases brimming with books, some 120-130 copies or so, and sold every. single. one.

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Some new readers swinging by to say hello!

The wonderful Karen Lord, author of Redemption in Indigo (winner of the Barbados Collymore prize, and the Crawford Prize here in the US), not only hung out on Thursday with me and Emily, but spent a chunk of time hanging out with me at the con. She’s on the right, chatting with a reader.

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Emily took this snapshot of me talking to Robert Sandiford. Karen had been telling me a lot about Robert, so I was excited to meet him and probably took up way too much of his time.

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And lastly, Barbados has a comic book industry that is growing. We traded books, and I’m flying home with some new comics to try out.

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When I set out and wrote Crystal Rain/Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose, there was a certain kind of niche reader that the books were truly aimed at. Science fiction readers, familiar with the genre and well read, and who knew the Caribbean. I love my US readers, don’t get me wrong, and I love all my readers. But people who’d read my books and were coming over were getting what I was doing on a whole different level, and it really charged me up to get to meet the readers I was writing those books very specifically for.

It was a roller coaster of a weekend and an amazing time.