This was my fourth year attending the Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium. Per LTUE.net, this is the purpose of the event:
LTUE is a symposium on science fiction and fantasy, centered around writing, art, literature, film, gaming and other facets of speculative fiction.
I’ll admit, after last year I came close to skipping the con in 2018. I’ll say Meri talked me into it.
I’m glad we attended for many reasons, and I’ll get into some more detail on that momentarily. First–
I’m a writer of speculative fiction both in standard prose formats and for role-playing games. You’d think this con would be right up my alley, and the first year I attended, you’d be right. I was very new to the world of writing, and EVERYTHING was relevant. Over the years, I’ve learned more, and less of the information was relevant. A shrinking amount, really. There were still nuggets, quite a few, but as a more experienced writer with published work and a group of experienced writer friends, they were much fewer and farther between (at least in the formal sessions and panels).
As Stephen King says in On Writing:
“You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”
I buy this line more every day.
The game track needed a boost. No. It needed resuscitation. There were only SIXTEEN game-related sessions out of 294 total sessions. Many hours there were no game-related sessions at all. Also, some game panels were woefully underpopulated. Several only had two panelists.
There is a ton of potential for crossover between game design and fiction and art, and those topics were barely touched.
I could go on.
The art room was sad and small. I don’t know if the con didn’t market appropriately to get the art room filled up or what happened there.
I’ll end with the good because I have sincere hopes that LTUE will return to form and keep the things that worked well.
All the brilliant and friendly creators and authors who attended and lent their talents and knowledge to folks in attendance.
Jo Walton’s keynote. Fantastic.
The Writing Fantastical Fantasy panel.
Two-thirds of the Board Game Recommendations panel.
Everything I attended that my writing group buddy Richie Franklin was involved in: the poetry panel and the Method Acting and Character Creation sessions in particular.
Meeting many wonderful people in person for the first time: Ben, Dan, Brian “Fitz”, Jim, Dan, Martin, Natasha, Rock, JC, and probably a couple I’m forgetting.
Seeing and hanging out with folks I already know: Alan, Richie, Steve, Dan, Drew, Shannon, Scott, Eliza, Emily, Dan, Angie, Michael, Yoxani, Rachael, Meri, Robin, Kassie, Emma and the rest of y’all. Ya animals.
Many of the art sessions my girls attended. They were delighted with their experience. My youngest also got a “best friends” picture with her favorite author, Brandon Mull.
Playtesting Old West with Ben Woener was phenomenal. Super fun game. You’ll want to watch for his Kickstarter next month. This game is amazing.
That’s it, folks. I’ll probably be attending FyreCon in Layton, UT on June 21-23. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be on some panels or teach a class. Hope to see some of you there!