For those reading this who aren’t in the southern hemisphere, Armageddon is the equivalent of Comic con. Basically, it’s a massive sci fi/fantasy expo and this year I went not as a visitor but as an exhibitor. How exciting! I love it when work and hobbies coincide.
Vaguely amusing coincidence (about to use irony but then realized that was the wrong word) with the title of the expo given that it was almost the title of the third book in the Rapture trilogy (tossing up between this and Apocalypse). Also, Armageddon (or the end of the world) is really the central thesis of all three of my books and that if it really happened, there would be no expo, no books and certainly no enthusiasts running around in costume.
Highlights for me were seeing the multitude of costumes and the amount of work and effort that had gone into them. I have the attention span of a goldfish at the best of times and I must admit it was very difficult for me to focus when I have Princess Leia and Darth Vader wandering past.
Signing books at an expo is an experience I’ve never had before. There’s a fine line between looking bored and looking creepy at these things. Occasionally, I’d have queues of people (and I would define a queue as being more than 3), but the majority of the time, I’d have one person I was chatting to and occasionally, no-one at all. During these times, I was seriously tempted to:
a) Play a game on my phone
b) Do some writing
c) Read a book
However, doing any of the above does not exactly engage you with my demographic so I found myself smiling at strangers in a way that I hoped was inviting but was probably, in all fairness, unsettling at the least. I loved doing the signing though and talking to these bright young sci-fi/fantasy fans who were just so enthusiastic. Kinda ran out of different things to write, but hey, if the muse ain’t with you, the muse ain’t with you.
It wasn’t all work though. I found the whiskey tasting booth by following my nose. Later, I found a bar. Later still, I had a go on the archery range (which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best idea after a couple of drinks). I even got my photo taken on the mock bridge of the Enterprise. Appropriate given that my t-shirt read ‘chicks dig Klingons.’
I did some celebrity stalking. When I say stalking, I mean looking, but hey, you know what I mean. The only person I was really interested in (or really recognized) was Amanda Tapping, only because I love Stargate and Stargate Atlantis. There was the guy who played Highlander in the TV series but I don’t know his name. There was an old Doctor Who (ditto with name) and some guys who used to be in Buffy. Still pretty cool though. What a great job for a B list celebrity; get a free flight (probably business class) and accommodation, get adored and worshipped by fans, have a few photos taken, sign a few autographs and then basically, you’re on holiday. If you’re from the U.S, you’ll probably take in Queenstown or explore the Bay of Islands etc etc. Wish someone would invite me to Comic con. I’d be there quicker than the time it takes me to write this.
I love people watching and I think that an event like this offers the best people watching opportunities. Also gives an author plenty of fodder for character development.
Basically, I loved it and I’m hoping I’ll get an opportunity to do it again next year. As I wrote in some of the books I signed, “Rock on!”
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.