Archon 31

Archon 31 was held over the weekend of August 2-5, 2007 at the Gateway Center and Holiday Inn in Collinsville, Illinois, one of the Metro East suburbs of St. Louis. The early date is the result of Archon being the NASFiC, the "substitute Worldcon" for North American sf fans when the actual Worldcon is being held off the North American continent. Because of it, the con was officially lengthened to include the Thursday, which usually is a setup day but not actually part of the con.

Thus we drove over on Wednesday and stayed at another motel at the next exit east of the Gateway Center. The August date meant we were driving in the worst of summer heat, in a van with no air conditioning. By the time we arrived, both of us were tired enough that we just checked in, brought our personal stuff in, and took a nap.

When we woke up, we turned on the TV and got an eyeful of a collapsed bridge on one of the news channels. My first thought was omigod we've been attacked again, but as we continued to watch, and moved between the various news channels, it became clear that the Minneapolis bridge collapse was the result of long-term maintenance deficits rather than terrorism. At the same time, as it became clear just which bridge in Minneapolis had fallen, we realized it was the same one we'd used when we went to Convergence in 2002.

Thursday morning we watched some more news reports on the Minneapolis bridge collapse as we got our personal belongings packed back up to head over to the Gateway Center. Events were becoming clearer, but it was still chilling to think about.

We got to the Gateway Center early enough that they hadn't opened yet, so we ended up sitting around waiting. Once they finally did get the big door opened, I was able to get a helper to assist in carrying stuff in, since my husband was in no shape to carry stuff in this heat. Because of the heat I made sure to give the volunteer a couple bottles of water and made sure he drank them to keep hydrated.

At least we were able to get set up in blessed air conditioning. Then we got checked in at the place we were actually staying for the con.

When the dealers' room opened, sales were fairly steady, which was welcome. We were open late enough that we had to slip our supper in to eat, rather than waiting until we got out. When the dealers' room closed, we headed over to the hotel and did some soaking in the hot tub to work out our aches and pains.

Friday we got up early to get the Comfort Inn's really nice breakfast. Then we headed over to the convention center to get our dealer's tables open. Sales were slow, but we got some spurts of business that got hectic.

We also ran into a little surprise with the Laurell K Hamilton signing. Usually you can only have a certain number of books signed at one time, but you're welcome to go through the line multiple times. Here they were using a line ticket system, limiting everyone to one time through the line. However, I soon found several friends to help and was able to get everything signed after all.

In the evening we went to the parties. We also checked out the artists' reception, which was bigger and fancier than usual.

Saturday we go breakfast and headed over to the convention center to get our tables ready for business. Sales continued to come in spurts, so I had time to write between customers. I was able to work through some particularly vexing problems and got some key insights I hope will enable me to push it through to the end.

In the evening we had supper and took one last soak in the hot tub before heading over to the main hotel for the parties. There were actually some good ones, which is unusual for Archon.

Sunday we had to get everything packed and out of the room so we could check out in time to get over to the convention center before the dealers' room opened. It wasn't any trouble for us, since we've got plenty of experience, but some of our roommates found it more challenging. Finally I took the van over to the convention center to make sure we got a good parking spot and I got the tables opened for business, while my husband dealt with the delay and got checkout successfully accomplished.

Sales continued to come in spurts, but we got several last-minute sales, even while we were packing. However, when it came time to load, we were able to get enough help that we got everything right out and loaded up. We even got on the road early enough that we could stop and eat supper at a rest stop instead of gulping it down on the road.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.