Capricon XX

Capricon XX was held over the weekend of January 27-30, 2000 at the Arlington Park Hilton (which was in its very last days as a Hilton, since it had just been purchased by Sheraton and would be changing its name on the Monday immediately after the convention). The con's theme was Armageddon, probably because of the concerns about Y2K and societal meltdown as a result of mass computer failure (although that turned out to be one of the biggest non-events of history, with more accidents caused as a result of humans scrambling their wetware with alcohol at New Year's Eve parties than computer software failing because of the assumption that dats would always begin with 19-). In keeping with the theme, the program booklet was done in the style of the "emergency preparedness handbooks" that the government put out in the 1960's to help the populace prepare for nuclear war and other disasters.

We arrived at the hotel relatively early and connected with the dealer's room people to find our tables. With the help of some gophers we were able to load in our merchandise relatively rapidly. Then we just had to get it all set up and ready to do business before the dealers' room opened to the public. I also got my art on the art show and we got checked into the hotel and moved our personal belongings into our sleeping room.

In the afternoon I had two panels. The first was "Predictions: Nostradamus to Heinlein" with Carol Mitchell, StevenSilver and Richard Chwedyk. We talked about various writers' attempts to forecast the future, and how they have come true in surprising ways while completely missing other things that have become commonplace.

The second was "Post-Apocalypse Comics" with Bill Roper. We talked about various comic book series set in post-apocalyptic settings, from Judge Dredd to Kamandi. We discussed the different kinds of catastrophies and their treatments by comic artists, from the scientifically implausible (remember the Atomic Knights, who were supposed to be living in a future where atomic war had killed off all the plant life on Earth, but had no trouble with the oxygen running out) to the thoroughally thought-out.

After that I hurried back to the dealers' room and helped get our dealers' tables closed. Then we drove down to the Woodfield Mall area to get supper at the Mongolian stir-fry place we'd liked when we were at Windycon in November.

After supper, we came back to the hotel to take a soak in the hot tub. We made the unhappy discovery that the area around the hot tub is paved in sharp little stones that are painful to walk on.

After that, we went around to the various parties. As always, Capricon had excellent parties, which were all held on the top two floors. You could just go up there and walk up and down the corridor. Several of the area conventions had promotional parties, and General Technics (the mad scientists) had their suite going. We hit most of the parties before we turned in for the night.

Saturday morning we got up early and had breakfast in the con suite. Then we went down to the dealers' room and got our tables open. While we were sitting waiting for customers, I did some sketching of characters from the story I was working on. I also did some writing on that story.

Then I had my third and final panel, "End of WHOSE World: Earth as Self-sustaining Entity" with Jeffrey Liss, Uncle Vlad and Richard Chwedyk. We talked about how the end of human civilization, or even the extintion of humanity as a species, didn't have to necessarily mean the end of all life on Earth. We speculated about what kinds of successor species might evolve after the demise of humanity, and how they might view the ruins that we left behind.

After the panel was over, I went up to the con suite to score something to eat. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon in the dealers' room sitting table. Between customers I pressed on with my story in progress.

After the dealers' room closed, we went out to find an Italian place that was supposed to be in the area. We were getting snow, and when we couldn't locate the Italian place at its supposed address and came upon a Baker's Square, we decided to settle for that. We had a fairly good meal, but by the time we headed back, the snow was getting really heavy and the streets were scary. My car skidded a couple of times, but I was able to keep it under control and get back to the hotel safely.

Then I went to the art auction, which was rather apathetic and disappointing. The really fun moments came when they auctioned off various Hilton signs and other Hilton-specific materials for charity. There was a lot of bidding on those, mostly because one particular Capricon some years back had suffered a bad experience with the management of the Arlington Park Hilton. After the art auction was over, we went to the hot tub to soak, braving those uncomfortable stones on the way in and out. Then we headed upstairs to make our rounds of the parties. We visited most of them before calling it a night.

On Sunday morning we got up early and got our stuff gathered up and out to our vehicles so we could get checked out o our sleeping room. Then we went down to the dealers' room and got our tables open for business. I also retrieved my unsold art from the art show and took it up to our tables in hopes of selling some of them directly.

Because we were getting more snow and a bad storm was forecast, we started packing early. We were able to get gophers to help us carry stuff out, and we parked the van under the hotel entrance overhang so that we wouldn't have to carry our merchandise through the falling snow. With the help from the gophers, we were able to get loaded early, and since the weather was getting worse, we decided not to even go up to the con suite, just hit the road.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.