A Convention in the Dreamtime
Dreamcon 2015 Report
So — I’m dreaming. And in this dream, I’m at a science fiction convention.
And it’s not just any science fiction convention, it’s a science fiction convention in the Dreamtime. It’s like a Worldcon but none of the usual limits of time and space apply. It’s a Dreamcon and all the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers and editors throughout time are there, dead and alive. So there’s Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback and Mary Shelley and Kurt Vonnegut and Ellen Datlow and Arthur C. Clarke and Lee Martindale and Darko Suvin and Larry Niven and Jeff Vandermeer and Frederick Pohl and H. G. Wells and John M. Ford and Robert E. Howard and Samuel Delany and all the rest are there. And there are even gods in attendance. Hypnos and Hades are at this con. Apollo’s in the back trying to make time with both Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler at the same time. Well, He’s trying anyway. Even Harlan Ellison is there — but he only thinks he’s a god. *rim shot* Yep, Harlan Ellison. And me. Me.
I’m the noob, of course. And I’ve been totally gushing over Jack Vance but he’s taken it in good stride. I’m hardly the first guy who showed up at Dreamcon and went all fanboy over his favourite author, you know? Neil Gaiman’s still in the back chatting with Shakespeare after all.
So I get back from a couple of panels and everyone’s sitting in a circle. I see the god Ptah and Ptah lifts a goblet made of stars in my direction. I, wide-eyed, nod respectfully. Seated next to Ptah is Harlan Ellison who calls out to Shakespeare and Gaiman to come join the group or get a room.
Hey, we were all thinking it.
I find an open seat between Hypnos (who, the night before, DJ’ed the most amazing trance techno rave I’ve ever seen) and Frederik Pohl and sit down. Everyone starts taking turns swapping jokes. And they start off with, “stop me if you’ve heard this joke.”
And these jokes — these jokes are amazing, like beyond hilarious, mostly because a lot of these guys are writers, great writers, mind you, and dead, so they’ve had a long time to work on their material. So someone, I can’t remember who, starts telling this joke.
There’s this high school in the South and it’s terribly old-fashioned and the only activities the girls are allowed are cheerleading and home ec basically. So after years and years and years, they finally elect a girl President of the Student Council and she’s going to give the Homecoming speech and it’s half time at the big game and the new student council president comes down from the bleachers and she sets one foot, I mean, one single solitary foot onto the football field and dies instantly. And then, the night after her funeral, she rises from the dead in the cemetery and says…
And that’s when I woke up.
All I can assume is that Hypnos stopped whoever was telling that joke because he’d already heard it.
And now, I’ll never hear the end of that joke. Well, maybe next year.
* * *
Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Saturday at 1 pm CST on WGSO 990 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.