This is an Intervention

Hey everyone. First off, many thanks to those who sent post cards to Lucy Keitt's kindergarten class. They're coming in all the time now and the kids are thrilled.

I want to say some things about cons in general, and Intervention in particular.

Most of you probably don't go to (m)any SF, gaming, comics or anime conventions, especially those of you outside North America or maybe the UK and Australia. But cons are a huge part of my social and professional life.

I mean, this is me away from a con:

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And this is me at a con:

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Which of these two Robs looks happier? (This is why you should have come to MarsCon, MN btw.)

Cons are wonderful things. I do as many as 20 of them a year. And frankly, though I am usually on the program and I try to give my best to entertain the attendees and make it worth their badge price, I never do the real work behind a con.

Putting on a con is tough. They're mostly done by volunteers who manage the thankless jobs of registration and running websites and checking badges and putting cookies in the con suite and wrangling the guests and printing the program book and hundreds of other needed tasks. Consider this a blanket thank-you to the thousands of people who have put on the hundred-plus cons I have been to. I know it's hard work, and that's why I have never let myself get pulled into it.

But Harknell and Onezumi have. Presenting the first-ever Intervention. Rockville, Maryland. Weekend of September 10-12, 2010.

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I could write a book about SF conventions. And if I did, there would be a chapter about the perils of first-time conventions. Here's a story.

In 1998 I went to a first-time event called "Northeast Supercon." This thing was booked to a gigantic resort hotel in the Catskills which has since literally fallen to ruin. But it had like 36 holes of golf and 20 tennis courts and 4 Olympic pools and looked a lot like the place in The Shining.

They got a bunch of TV guests there, John DeLancie, Erin Gray and Gil Gerard, some Voyager and DS9 actors. They said they expected 2000 attendees.

They got around 80 people.

The concomm disappeared at the con. I think they might have just left. The 80 of us had a great time, holding a party in this cavernous bar where the taps were working and nobody gave a shit. We hung out with the actors, who were all pissed, but still kind of amused. Obviously the event never happened again. I can only imagine the financial ruin for the organizers.

So, um, let's not let that happen, okay? That would suck.

See, some cons are decades old. Balticon, where I have been a guest for the last 7 or 8 years, is more than 40 years old. And PhilCon (the longest-running SF convention) was started during the Roosevelt administration. Because of this, they have certain things going for them: organization, experience, a treasury, and an existing base of attendees.

First-time cons have to start from scratch, and the hardest part is just making people want to go there at all. So I am asking you to plan now to attend Intervention if you can, and consider donating to support it even if you can't. Here are some good reasons.

1. Harknell. Ladies and gentlemen, I paid Harknell nothing to create erfworld.com. This entire site exists because he made it and maintains it and develops it, free of charge. When we launched, Jamie and I decided to offer up a small percent of the ad revenue, and I continue to send him that on a volunteer basis, but it's only a little token. It's a tiny fraction of what his time and expertise is worth on the open market. He does this site for much the same reason he and Oni are doing Intervention: for the love of webcomics. They're betting their own financial asses to bring this con to life, and if you like what Harknell has done for Erfworld, it's a good time and way to pay him back for his hard work. Please become an Intervention sponsor now, and/or book your registration.

2. Erfworld Party. I'm planning to do only a couple of these a year, but I think Intervention would be a great place for another Erfworld room party. It's the same hotel as the Capclave party, and that worked out well. I will try to convince Xin to fly in again, and Jamie Noguchi will already be there, promoting his new comic, Yellow Peril. So it may be another chance to get sketches and autographs from all three Erfworld creators. Also, I will have the BOOZOOKA this time:

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That is a glowing tube of liquid win on my back. Part of Party Rob's transformation into an actual superhero (or supervillain, depends on who you ask, and how bad their hangover was).

3. It's like the opposite of disaster relief. Look, there's a lot of suck in the world. Lately and always. I continue to contribute (and ask you to contribute) to relief in Haiti and Chile, and to do what you can to help your fellow human beings wherever you can. But I'm not trivializing that when I say that sometimes you also have to play for gains, instead of just covering losses. If you help make Intervention happen, you're adding a bit of awesome into the world that wasn't there before. We're going to have lots of pics and video of the parties and the dances and the panels and the guests up after the event. So even if you can't go, please help make it happen and you can see what greatness you have wrought after the con. Thanks, all.

(Photos by Baron Dave Romm and Davroz)

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