Capricon 19

Capricon XIX was held over the weekend of February 11-14 in the Hilton Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, a Chicago suburb. This year's theme was "Villains Rule," and much of the con's program focussed on the villains we love to hate. The famous Evil Overlord list was reprinted in the program booklet.

Getting to the con was somewhat difficult. On Friday I got a late start on the long drive from Southern Illinois, and was just getting to Champaign-Urbana when I started running into sudden snow squalls. While I was going around Kankakee, I got into one bit that was near white-out conditions. I then came onto a really nasty wreck, which delayed me even more while I waited in the snarled traffic behind it. I heard on the radio that there were accidents of varying degrees all over the Chicago area.

Because of the delays, I missed the first two panels I was supposed to be on, and arrived just in time for my third panel, "The Villain as Hero." In this panel we discussed several related concepts, including the fascination of the character with no restraints, the phenomenon of "the devil gets the best lines," and the antihero.

After that was done, I went down to the art show and got my art up. By the time I was done with that, the dealers' room was already closed, so I headed up to the con suite to get some munchies.

In the evening, there were a number of parties. There was a Babylon 5 party showing the final episodes of the fifth season. The MSFFA people were having their usual beach-theme party for the upcoming ToBeCONtinued..., the second coming of the new South Bend, Indiana, convention. General Technics, an organization for Chicago-area techies and wannabe mad scientists, had a suite.

The next morning I got some hours in as a gopher in the art show to earn my use of the gopher crash space. Since things were fairly quiet, I spent most of that time working on a piece for the artists' challenge and talking with my old friend Siobhan Murphy, who was in charge of the art show this year. In mundane life she's one of the senior partners in a new law firm, and she was telling me about how busy things are for her.

At noon I had my first panel of the day, "Hostile Takeovers." This was intended to be a discussion of the corporation as villain, but the other two panellists had more experience in real life corporate wrangling, and ended up talking primarily about recent bank mergers and the problems that happen when a company moves into an area in which it lacks expertise.

After that, I went up to the con suite, where I got myself some munchies and inked my drawing for the Artists' Challenge. After I got it done, I took it down to the art show and put it up. I also took a long look at the other things on the show, then went upstairs to look around the dealers' room before going to my next panel.

This one, called "No Place Like Home..." was about how authors use familiar people and places in their fiction. At first we talked about how we deliberately or unconsciously use our friends and relatives as models for our characters. Then we got to talking about the use of details taken from real places to lend versimilitude to an imaginary setting. That led into a discussion about the importance of knowing about a place in order to write about it, and we started talking about the interesting things in places we knew well.

I then went back up to the con suite for a brief break before my last panel, "Woman as Villain." In this one, we talked about the various kinds of women villains, how they have developed over the history of literature, and how they differ from male villains. We covered such elements as the "mother as villain" story, which deals with the young person's development of an identity separate from the mother; the "seductress" villain, which presupposes that female sexuality is somehow evil, and the idea of "woman as vessel of iniquity," as well as many other ideas about women as villains in literature and in history.

After supper, I hurried back in time for the art auction. There were a fair number of pieces which went for good prices. All of Cheryl Storm's dragon sculptures went to auction and got some heated bidding.

Then it was time to check out the parties. There were even more parties on Saturday night than on Friday. Tor had a party which offered some really good fixings. Duckon also had a party. The General Technics suite was open, and one of their members was demonstrating the inner workings of the Furby, the plush-covered "interactive toy" that was all the rage last Christmas.

Sunday morning, I went down to get my art from the art show, but found they weren't open yet. I headed up to the Green Room to check out some stuff related to my status as a programming participant. While I was up there, I got roped into a panel discussion on the end of the world. It covered just about every theory that has been put forth, although it never quite settled on what "the end of the world" meant -- everything from the end of civilization to the ultimate heat-death of the universe.

After that, I headed back to the art show, which had finally opened to check out art, and collected mine. Unfortunately nothing at all had sold, which made the show a disappointing loss for me.

Then I headed up to the con suite, where I spent the remainder of the con socializing with my fannish friends. Finally it was time to say goodbye and head back home.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

Permission is granted for reproduction in fanzines and other non-profit fannish publications.

For permission to quote or reprint in other venues, contact Leigh Kimmel

Last updated October 21, 2012.