The past many years, I've regularly attended, usually with Tara and recently with Derrick, Capricon, DucKon and Windycon (working for DucKon, of course) as well as Worldcon most year. This year, however, it is looking like we'll only make Capricon and DucKon.
However this year we cannot afford to go to Worldcon. We had been planning on going to Archon/TuckerCon/NASFiC, but between the problems with the main hotel's booking policies (which caused the overflow to fill up extra quickly) and the fact that Tara didn't get the time off she would have needed to go for more than just Saturday and Sunday, our chances of going to that have dropped to nearly zero. (We still have our memberships, but no practical way to use them).
Windycon is usually on the same weekend as the November National Karate tournament in Schaumburg. When Derrick was first competing in the tournament, and the first year I was competing this wasn't much of a problem because our classes were early in the day. Now, our classes are likely to both be after noon (probably against each other if they don't change the base schedule, but that is another story). Given that at least the current Windycon hotel doesn't have enough parking, and that anyone who arrives back at the hotel after Friday sometime, or possibly early Saturday, has to park on the far side of a busy road in an unsecured, dirt (in November often mud) lot, this makes it highly unlikely that we will bother going to Windycon for the few hours of Saturday that we would otherwise be able to make.
So, this leaves me with only Smofcon that I plan on attending between now and Capricon next February, and Tara won't be at Smofcon. While still on the (for the most part) post-con high, I'm feeling like I'd like to get to some other con or similar event sooner than eight months from now.
What am I looking for?:
- Something close enough to Chicago to allow for driving without taking more than one or two days of vacation.
- Something with decent programming so that we would have the chance to attend some panels that we find interesting.
- Something where at least a few of our friends are attending so that we won't be entirely meeting new people. (I've been to several cons where I hardly knew anyone and still had a good time, but knowing a few people is always nice)
- Something that won't break the bank -- so something like World Fantasy, or any other con that costs more than a Worldcon to get in the door, is probably out.
- I'd prefer something with a more general focus than a media or limited media (Trek, Stargate, etc.) focus, and absolutely do not want to attend any for profit "Gate Shows."
One possibility might be GenCon, but the only other time we were there, I didn't find a whole lot of programming there to make it worth our time. I've never gamed at a con, and Tara isn't much of a gamer, so the gaming events don't have a lot of attraction. Similarly, I'm not sure I'd really enjoy a big Comics Convention (such as the San Diego Comic Con which I didn't attend the year I lived in San Diego -- it conflicted with an opportunity to spend time with my parents at a vaulting fest in Los Angeles/Burbank and the Miramar Airshow), or DragonCon.
So does anyone have any suggestions?
FWIW we WILL be at Denvention in 2009, and are planing on making the 2009 Worldcon in either Kansas City or Montreal, and the 2010 Worldcon that we expect to be in Australia, so the next few years might not find me as desperate. Plus, baring serious financial, vacation or time limitations, I fully expect to visit quite a few cons between Denvention and the 2010 Worldcon doing my share for the 2012 bid.