Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WorldCon gimmicks

There's a couple of fun things I did at WorldCon, "jest fer grins" as we say in Texas. I took my portable Smith Corona Classic 12 typewriter, and I propped up an Etch-a-Sketch on the platen. I photocopied small version of the covers of "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets" and taped them on the Etch-a-Sketch, and then claimed the set-up was my antique iPad.

The gag went over well at the Steampunk panel I moderated Friday, but I didn't do it twice. There was simply a problem with logistics; the typewriter was too heavy to lug around a lot. It otherwise stayed in the hotel room until I left Monday morning.

The other gimmick I tried was a lot easier and went over well. I have an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock in my home office. It's not an antique - I bought it last year at the local hardware store. It's the classic design; brass body, round face with large white numbers on a white background, and the two bells at the top with the little hammer between them.

I was proud to be a finalist for the Sidewise award for alternate history this year, and so I decided in honor of the event I'd put the clock to good use. I hung it on a lanyard and wore it all day Friday and Saturday until the Sidewise awards presentation. It worked out well. A few people made comments about Flavor Flav, but most people took it in stride, and when they asked its significance, I told them.

In addition to good self-promotion, it turned out to be good promotion for the Sidewise awards, so I was able to give them a boost, also. Friday I wore a jersey all day (my "Mad Scientists Union Local" shirt) but Saturday I wore a black suit with a blue Texas-themed tie, and the clock stood out even better then. I told some people I was the mad scientist Anachronism Antonelli.

I think I may have given the Sidewise awards administrators an idea with the clock; maybe they'll pick up on the theme in the future.

Now that I think of it, I suppose the suit was a gimmick, too. I decided that, since so many people dress so informally at conventions, I'd swing the other way, and on Saturday wear the suit because of the Sidewise awards. One friend commented that "Lou is cosplaying as a normal person."

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