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King Emilio sits upon the Iron Throne… at Romics 2014.
The Long Week
By Chief Boatswain’s Mate Emilio Desalvo, GNS Glory (CLAC-09)
2014.05.14 CE / 346.02.21 AL (MNB) – The week between March and April, 2014, has been quite tiring for me, but in a pleasant way. It started an hour east of Rome on March 27th, with the opening of DeepCon 15 in Fiuggi, Italy, organized by the Deep Space One club. DeepCon is not a large convention, but it is extremely friendly, both for the convention attendees and the guests, but it’s more an excuse to meet old buddies. This year the Honor Guests were Dominic Keating (better known as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed of USS Enterprise), the author Ian McDonald (known for his Chaga Saga and other works), Emiliano Longobardo, (author of the Italian webcomic Rusty Dogs), the illustrator Franco Brambilla, and Keiran McGreevy.
After the inauguration, the first panels and the first dinner (all meals are covered by the convention fare), DeepCon turns for the rest of the evening into the “EatCon,” where everybody turns up with some gastronomic specialties from his town or area, sweets, salumi (plural of salame), cheeses, wines, liquors, so that we can get a taste of every part of Italy and all the other nations of our guests.
Taking a bite of crostata at “EatCon.”
While the guests were pampered (wined, dined, toured around monuments in Fiuggi and surroundings, enjoyed the hotel’s spa, etc.), DeepCon gathered speed. Panels ranged from such diverse topics as 3D printing, presentation of new SF books and comics, the use of comics as a pretext for movies, Orlando according to Virginia Woolf and Alan Moore, and other fun topics. On Friday night we also had a concert by the marching band of the City of Frosinone, and they promised that next year they will give us more music from SF movies and shows.
It culminated on Saturday with the meeting with the Honor Guests, the Gala Dinner, the Cassiopeia Prize and the Masquerade. At the Masquerade, I was honored to receive the Presidential Prize for my RMN Service Undress Uniform. This came after a tie for the Prize from the Honor Jury which went to Andrea Borgi for his Steampunk Batman costume. The Prize from the Popular Jury went to Silvana Varlec for her costume as an agent of Warehouse 12.
Each evening the hotel's bar was filled as usual with people chatting and playing games, while the barman was kept busy. The only thing that really lacks at DeepCon is sleep. Since I have started attending at DeepCon 8, I have always been press-ganged into the security detail. This year, it was not a lot of work, given the low number of participants, but I always fulfilled my duty in a proper TRMN attire, with my black beret and my Roll Pods t-shirt.
Chief Desalvo on a rare break from security detail at DeepCon.
I also brought some of the newly printed TRMN flyers, and distributed them among those present. I doubt that this will bring a recruitment surge out of Italy, given that nothing of the Honorverse has been translated in Italian, (with the exception of Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington), so I tried to target the few literary editors I met.
Not a week had passed since the end of DeepCon that the Fiera di Roma opened the spring session of Romics, probably the largest comic book festival held in Rome, from April 3rd to the 6th. If DeepCon can be considered a large gathering of friends, Romics (in either Spring or Fall), is second in size only to Lucca Games, as a commercial festival of comics and games.
Yes, Romics is THAT huge.
On Friday afternoon I attended in mufti, since I was arriving directly from the office, and I simply walked around, looking at the stands and the costumes. Sunday was indeed so popular, that I found myself in a traffic jam both arriving at and leaving Romics. Should I find the architect that designed it, I have a few pointed words to tell him… with a large club. The two buildings were so filled up that one had sometimes to be extremely rude, to advance.
I was again in my Service Undress Uniform, and I toured through the two main buildings, giving away flyers, and answering the few questions I was asked. Given that I did not have a table (€800! EEEEK!) and that the Honorverse characters are mostly unknown in Italy, I often had to explain where and how to obtain the first two books. I doubt more than a few new readers were gained.
I will conclude with the motto that has been “appropriated” after the first edition of the DeepCon, and has always been made true by all the participants. Deepcon: Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.
Chief Desalvo between Tweety Bird and Sylvester at Romics 2014.
Copyright © 2014, Bureau of Communications, The Royal Manticoran
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MCPO Marcus Johnston, RMN – Acting Director, Manticoran News Bureau. All pictures used with permission or used in a way that qualifies as fair use under US copyright law.