Archon 28

Archon 28 was held over the weekend of September 30 to October 3, 2004 at the Gateway Convention Center and Holiday Inn in Collinsville, Illinois, one of the Metro East suburbs of St. Louis. This is one of the larger annual conventions in the Midwest, and always a great time.

We got up early on Thursday morning and headed west. We arrived in good time and got checked in. We stayed at the Comfort Inn, one of the less expensive motels on the north side of the convention center complex.

Then we went to the convention center and got my art checked into the art show. We also had time to go back to the hotel and get a soak in the hot tub before registration opened. When we returned to the convention center, we were alarmed to see an enormous line running clear out the door. However, that turned out to be the line for people who weren't pre-registered. We were able to breeze right through.

We went to a panel entitled "Exotic Mythologies." The panelists talked about a wide range of ideas, including the universal archetypes that underlie myth and the way in which stories develop into myths as they persist through multiple layers of cultural development.

After the panel was over, we went to the art show and looked around. There was a lot of fascinating art on display, and we probably wouldn't get much time to look once we got set up in the dealers' room. We also enjoyed the refreshments that were set out for the artists' reception. We also went over to the Holiday Inn and checked out the Demicon party, which had a pirate theme. However, their new date conflicts with another event we always do, so there was no possibility of our considering attending it.

When we got back to the hotel, we took a nice soak in the hot tub. It was actually hot, which is a difference from a lot of conventions where they seem to deliberately turn it down when a convention comes. After that we turned in for the night.

On Friday we got up early and got the free continental breakfast the hotel set out. Then we headed over to the convention center to get our stuff loaded into the dealers' room. Although we were told that we would be able to start loading in at 9AM, we ended up having to wait more than half an hour more before the doors actually opened. This delay put everything behind, so that we were still scrambling when the doors opened to the public at 2PM.. At that time I also had to hurry off to the signing by Alan Dean Foster. I carried a box with all our stock, and ended up having to go through the line several times before we were done, but he was quite understanding about dealers wanting to improve the marketibiity of their books.

When I got back and put the books back into our stock, I gathered up books for the Ben Bova signing an hour later. There weren't as many people at that one, so I was able to get all the remainder signed at once once the line went away. We chatted a little about the problems of being a dealer, and how it really hurts when a bad actor swipes an item from one's table.

The rest of the afternoon we stayed at our tables and did business. We actually did some pretty brisk business, although the last hour or so was slow. When the dealers' room closed, we headed back to our hotel to get supper and go down to the hot tub to soak. Thankfully, the hot tub was still quite hot, and really helped work on the aches and pains of having carried in so many books. Since it was so late, we didn't try to go back to the Holiday Inn to visit the parties, but just turned in for the night.

Saturday we got up and ate the hotel's free continental breakfast. Then we headed over to the convention center, only to find the doors still locked. Although the convention center was supposed to be open at 9AM, they made us stand shivverring in the cold for an additional five minutes while registration got their act together.

We got our tables opened for business, then were able to look around the rest of the dealers' room before it opened for the public. Sales came in spurts, with lull periods between other periods of intense activity. I had a little fun speaking Russian with a young woman costumed as a flight attendant for Aeroflot. (It's quite possible that her uniform was an authentic one, since a lot of Soviet-era uniforms and decorations have been sold to Westerners to raise badly-needed hard currency).

After the dealers' room closed, we went back to the hotel and got another good soak in the hot tub. It was actually even hotter than it had been on earlier nights.

After supper we went over to the Holiday Inn to check out the parties. One was a reception for a wedding that had been solemnized at the con. We wished the happy couple well. There was also a Hogwarts Faculty Mixer and a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy party. A couple more parties weren't open yet, but we were tired enough that we just went back to our hotel and turned in for the night.

Sunday started bright and early as we got breakfast at the hotel. Then we got our personal belongings moved out of our sleeping room and checked out before heading over to the convention center to open our tables for business.

Sales were slow at first, but became better later. However, I got no sales in the art show, so I ended up taking all my pieces back home with me.

We got one really good sale right as we were ready to start packing. It gave us much-needed money, but also delayed us so that we ended up packing franticly even after the dealers' room closed. However, they were slow getting the loading dock door open, so we didn't really lose that much load-out time.

We were able to borrow a convention center cart, so we actually got our stuff out fairly quickly. In spite of the delay, we still got on the road only a little behind schedule.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.