In my last post, I talked about a sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention I was a little nervous about attending. It’s called the Necronomicon. And it was this past weekend. I am happy to announce, the nervousness was unjustified.
Let me recap a bit of my last post, even though I’m sure you just clicked over and read it because I put that little linky-thing up there ;). When I went to the Necronomicon last year, the first attendee I saw as I walked in the door was a woman wearing a t-shirt that used Jesus in a derogatory way in order to make a zombie joke. And then later, the main guest speaker started his speech with several jabs at Christianity, followed by his argument as to why Christians have no business writing sci-fi.
The rest of the people, and the rest of the convention, last year were awesome. But I guess I was afraid that those instances were the first signs of more anti-Christian stuff to come.
I’m SO happy to report that was NOT the case!
I mentioned a few panels I was afraid might lead to anti-Christian discussions based on their titles. But I was wrong, at least as far as I was there to hear those particular panels. I was splitting my time between writing panels and science panels, which meant not participating in all the science panels. BUT, the ones I did attend impressed me with their theological neutrality.
There were two instances I remember quite clearly in which an audience member made a comment regarding scientists’ “responsibility” to make sure people of certain beliefs (no, the word “Christians” wasn’t used, but it was strongly implied) are forced to see the “truth.” The scientists on the panels tactfully answered the question in such a way that acknowledged the person’s concerns but did not openly agree with them, and then the panelist moved on to the next topic immediately. ALL other questions that were of true scientific nature were answered in full. ALL other questions that involved basic ethics were answered in full. I truly felt the panelists recognized when a hot-button question was asked and diffused the situation before it started, keeping the discussion focused on fact.
Yes, of course the panelists all spoke about science from a billions-of-years, evolutionary standpoint. But they did so in a way that didn’t come across as anti-Christian, or anti-religion. As a matter of fact, several panels included mention of religions and spirituality—such as how they come into play when you are talking about population control or research into immortality—and it was all handled quite gracefully and respectfully.
I really can’t tell you how happy this all made me!
And on another note, the writing panels actually included a Christian author, soon to be published by Zondervan. Heather Burch, author of the upcoming Halfling Trilogy, spoke at a panel about writing for teens. Also on that panel, and another I attended, was a publisher who mentioned her faith on several occasions (although her publishing house is not, from what I can tell, anything but secular). Lastly, an author whose table I visited pointed out that some of her books were “inspirational” and a look at the covers and titles confirmed they were definitely inspirational in the Christian sense of the word.
I want to point out, of course, that while those facts make me happy, too, I’m also proud of the Christian authors for not coming across as preachy, Bible-thumping scripture-screamers. While I believe we need to be shown respect at conventions like this, we need to be respectful in return. A convention like this needs to be neutral ground. A place where one person can say her fiction is Christian/inspirational and another can say hers is occult, and no one feels “invaded.”
(Just noticed I used female authors as examples for in the above two paragraphs. Well, guess what—an interesting little observation I made was that there were only a couple of male authors amongst a sea of female ones at this con. Hm….what’s that say about who’s reading spec-fic? Girl authors everywhere and not a bonnet in sight!)
One last little tidbit and I’ll let ya go. I found out what I need to do to get on the panels at the Necronomicon, so hopefully next year I’ll be posting about my personal experiences on the other side of the tables. Maybe I’ll even see some of you there!