Certain friends know me originally from my days writing essays and articles for various science fiction magazines in the Eighties and Nineties. (Don’t worry about which ones: without fail, they had all of the impact and influence of the CueCat and Microsoft Bob, and half the mockery value.) They also know that I quit in rather spectacular fashion in 2002, and aside from a couple of relapses (which were, without fail, catastrophic), I haven’t been back since then. These are the ones who sidle up to me and ask “So, Paul, if you state quite openly that you’d sooner get a hot Clorox enema than have anything to do with science fiction, then why do you do so many plant shows at science fiction conventions?” This is most often voiced by my best friend, who has been playing Adrian Edmondson to my Rik Mayall for going on a third of a century.
Well, I have several reasons. The first is that I still have a lot of friends in the business, and I’ve learned from experience that they can be in town but it’s almost physically impossible to get them to leave the convention hotel. The second is that many of these friends have kids (and, increasingly, grandkids), which gives me all sorts of opportunities to pass on horrible stories. “You know how your mom says she hopes you have a kid who’s just like you? Oh, trust me: I have tales that will curl your nose hair.” The biggest one, though, is that convention attendees and their family and assorted cohorts are a seriously underappreciated horticulture market. For the most part, their childhood memories of gardening consisted, as did mine, of having to do the zut work of weeding and cleaning in the garden without any opportunity to see a return. They don’t hang around garden centers because there’s nothing in it for them, and standard gardening options bore them to tears. However, show them that there’s more to carnivorous plants than the same old Venus flytrap, and they’ll attend regular shows just in the hope of seeing something they didn’t know existed but that they’re willing to buy right there and then.
Because of this, the Triffid Ranch has a regular presence at Dallas conventions, starting the year with All-Con in March and ending the con season with FenCon in September. In the future, the idea is to show off plants at conventions outside the state, but considering the cost of inspection permits to transport plants across state lines, that may be a little while.
Anyway, the first bit of good news is that Texas Frightmare Weekend, a horror convention in Irving, just announced the initial lineup for its 2012 show. Loyd Cryer of Texas Frightmare Weekend has been very supportive of the Triffid Ranch at previous shows, and I try to return the favor as much as possible. The 2012 guest list is still embryonic, so keep an eye on status updates. Since the convention moved to the DFW Hyatt at DFW Airport, thereby allowing an increase in display space, expect to see some surprises in arrangements and in new plants.
The second bit of news is a bit further off. Unlike most conventions, the World Science Fiction Convention moves to a new locale every year, based on bids made by committees and votes from current or previous attendees. As of today, the official winner of the bid for the 2013 WorldCon is Lone Star Con 3, located in San Antonio. Any excuse to go to San Antonio is a good one (it’s not quite as much fun as Fort Worth or Galveston, but at least it isn’t Austin or Lewisville), so I’ve already contacted the convention committee about Triffid Ranch dealer’s room space. Details will follow, but at least we have two years to worry about it.
That’s it for the moment, but should you know of a convention that could stand a hearty selection of carnivorous plants, feel free to let me know.