Event date: 10 September 2022
Rose City Comic Con was one of the events that we attended during our 2018 Portland scouting trip, when we were seeing if this was the US city for us. We knew we wanted to come back again already, but once they announced who would be attending the book fair, I was particularly keen – Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm is one of my favourite authors in both her pseudonymic forms, and I was really excited about seeing her – to the extent that I didn’t even register that Brent Weeks, another author I recommend a lot, was going to be there, too! George enjoys John Scalzi’s work, and of course, the chance to maybe meet Terry Brooks was also intriguing.
Saturday the 10th dawned weirdly pinkish-orange from the wildfire smoke. We have been lucky this year – there were fewer fires than previous years, and hopefully, it will stay that way.
Still, it made it a bit concerning, as an asthmatic, knowing I would have to queue for hours. After George dropped me at the gates and went to find a park, I waited, and was grateful it wasn’t as smoky as I feared – although the camera lens could see it better than I could.
As I waited, sitting on a rock, an official asked me if I was ok. “Yes, I replied, I just have trouble standing for long periods, so I am saving my strength for the queue while I wait for my husband”. “Let me know when he arrives”, the man said, “and I will get you in through the ADA entrance”. Overwhelmed, I started crying – I had been so worried about that long queue, and the pain of standing and then having to walk fast to try to get to the panel.
The escort they assigned to us wasn’t very familiar with people who have mobility issues, though – he took off at speed and I had to almost run to keep up, which meant I was crying for two reasons when we reached the info desk and they gave us ADA bracelets. Still, though, it was incredibly wonderful to be at the panel in time to hear most of it, and not to be completely crippled by hip pain from a long queue.
The Convention Centre is a big building which feels kind of circular, but the circle doesn’t close – so you have to go all the way around, back and forth from A to E, instead of being able to cut from E to A. It feels like a lot of unnecessary extra walking!
Anyway, we took off through the halls to get to the panel room, which was, of course, at the other end of the building from the info desk – which was at the other end of the building from where we came in, lol.
After the panel, predictably, we had to mission all the way back to the other end of the building to find the Book Fair.
Now, this is one of those things you agonise about afterwards, because from the direction we approached the Book Fair, it looked like there was no queue for some of the authors yet – the queue we could see looked like it was all for Terry Brooks, which made sense. So, unwittingly, we skipped the line to see Robin Hobb. I have never queued for a convention signature – I don’t recall having anyone sign something for me, ever, except when I bought it from them directly at their stall at a trade event. The Convention etiquette of getting signatures, photos, etc is completely unknown to me.
I was so excited to see her and get my book signed, I didn’t see markings on the floor. There were lines of tape and tiny post-its on the floor to indicate where to line up for each writer – so that explains why we missed it. It doesn’t feel any better, though. I wish I could apologise to the people we accidentally cut off.
Once we figured it out, though, we bought a book each to get signed, and got into the right queue for Brent Weeks. The people there with us were kind enough to allow George to queue for me, so I could sit and rest my hip, which was amazing of them. It was a long wait, as the queues had filled up in the time it took us to figure out where to stand. I was very grateful for the seating provided, and got to watch as people asked for signatures and photos, so by our turn, I knew what to do.
George then queued up again to see John Scalzi, and get his book signed, too, then we headed into the fray at Artist’s Alley and the Makers’ Market. The crowds were pretty intense, so it was quite hard to stop and look properly at everything, but we still managed to get a great selection of prints to bring home.
The next massive queue was for food, and we will never do that again. George queued for 40 minutes, then I went to see what was going on and queued with him after fighting my way around through the crowd to see what was on offer. It took another 20-odd minutes to get to the front, each simple order taking over 5 minutes to place. Oddly, they gave me my part of our order immediately, so I took it and went to sit on the floor (there were no tables to be found). More than 45 minutes later, George appeared with his basic burger.
After eating, at last, we went and checked out the Wacom drawing competition, where I got to try out a Cintiq.
We considered checking out the Tabletop section of the event, but we were both just too tired to slog back over there.
Given I was out of steam, we decided to head home to give our dog a toilet break.
George went back out in the evening to see his favourite podcaster, Behind the Bastards, and took the Max to avoid worrying about parking.
I’m glad I didn’t go – the Max at night doesn’t feel like I would have a good time.
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