As promised, I attended LibertyCon this past weekend. My wife joined me for the trip, so this post will be as much Chattanooga travel guide as Con report. It was a good trip. Chattanooga is a fantastic town—sort of in the mountains, artsy, and with a great food and libation scene. LibertyCon had a high number of authors of personal interest for a Con of its size and had an admirable literary focus. That was more than enough to balance out the usual Con complaints of standoffish attendees and panels with only the barest gestures toward the named topic. The Choo Choo was full but we stayed at a very cool, very close Airbnb rental, albeit one with a little local color added by a spot of black mold and a very, very odd host.
One of the first panels I went to was a fascinating discussion of various sword types, the advantages and disadvantages of those types, and what factors led to a particular type of sword in a particular time and place. This was the first of several panels I attended featuring Larry Correia. You may not know this from the Internet, but Correia is actually quite small in person—more Firbolg than Hill Giant.
I took a break from the Con to hit the town with my wife Friday evening. We started with wine tasting at DeBarge, then had charcuterie, cheese, and pork rinds along with coke and whiskey and peanuts at Main Street Meats, then another drink at the Flying Squirrel Bar (a very progressive establishment that isn’t afraid to serve a cocktail to a T-Rex). before hitting a session on boostrapping industrial capacity post-apocalypse. And then maybe another drink at one of the bars at the Choo Choo. If you read any posts by me on post-apocalyptic fiction you will see me complain about the lack of realism. And rebuilding society is one of the most fascinating things about contemplating a post-apocalyptic society to me. So that session was a highlight, even if it quickly devolved in the usual late night panel way.
I only went to one session on Saturday morning. That session was on Mars exploration and the big takeaway for me is that there is a big, big question about how Mars’ gravity will affect humans. We know what earth gravity (1G) is like for humans, and we know what no gravity is like for humans (bad). But we don’t know what low gravity (e.g., Mars, or the even lower gravity of the Moon) means for human health. It could range anywhere from being as bad as no gravity, which would end any hope of settling either Mars or the Moon, to actually be better, because of reduced wear on joints, etc. Then me, my wife, and Strider took a long break to See Rock City, hunt gnomes and fairies, check for any gatherings of gods, and try to spy as many states as possible.
The highlight of the afternoon sessions was a panel on the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate IP. While of course I knew there was a new Tarzan movie out, and about John Carter of Mars and Carson of Venus (a series I was able to round out at the Con—Book Haul SPOILER), I didn’t realize just how many characters and worlds he had created, or that most are featured in comics available online for a monthly fee. It was also interesting to see how many young people were in the crowd. Burroughs retains a lot of cultural resonance in an age when a long of great writers who came after him are forgotten.
More libations and victuals after, but nothing of real note except a waiter whose enthusiasm for beer instantly cured my humidity-induced surliness (we left Florida for Chattanooga to beat the heat and we did—it was only 92 instead of 99!). We headed back to the other end of downtown in the morning for coffee and biscuits and a quick look at the Tennessee River (as a mountain man, I was obligated to get together with it as I could) and Chattanooga’s Ogier-built architecture.
I caught one more very interesting presentation on what starshipyards will and would need to look like, but my main impetus to return was to grab some more stuff for the new place for my stuff I moved into. I picked up a Melissa Gay print, some Wheel of Time artwork I was unexpectedly able to get signed by the artist, some more pulps (of course), and a complete hardcover set of D.B. Jackson/David Coe’s wonderful Thieftaker Chronicles. And I got to chat a bit with Coe and get them personalized. I’m trying to shed some books. Well, let’s be honest, I’m trying to slow the rate at which my physical library goes by getting rid of some books as I go. But at the same time I want to refocus my library from every book I’ve ever read or just bought to the stuff I really love. So a full hardcover set of The Thieftaker Chronicles joins my full hardcover sets of The Wheel of Time and The Song of Ice and Fire (well, as complete as that one gets for the nonce). Brian McClellan’s flintlock fantasy ur-text Powder Mage Trilogy is up next, I think.