For most of my life, I have been a closet nerd, quietly reading my books and watching my shows, thinking that I was pretty much the only one who pondered weighty topics like “When Obi-Wan told Luke he didn’t remember owning a droid, why didn’t Artoo start beeping ‘WTF, old man? How about all those times I saved your bony ass?’

But as the Internet got rolling, I realized there were entire quadrants of the web totally devoted to the same geeky stuff I liked.

The Lurkers Guide,  Marvel A-Z,, the Banzai Institute. Some were corporate sites set up to promote a company’s Sci-Fi properties, but others were lovingly maintained by individuals who loved this stuff as much as me.

OK, more than me, since they spent thousands of hours, not to mention dollars, maintaining their sites.

But these days, maybe because I’m a contrarian, I’d much rather hang with real people than in forums or chatrooms. Which I got to do this past weekend at ICON, Iowa’s first (and best) Sci Fi and Fantasy convention, which was this past weekend in Cedar Rapids.

At ICON, I often find myself in large groups where not a single person answers the question “Who’s your Doctor?” with the name of their physician.

Getting to sit on a panel with writers like Jim C. Hines and have dinner with artist Lar Desouza (not to mention meeting his alter ego, Sailor Bacon), is just icing on the cake.

Unlike big conventions like Comic-Con, which emphasize movie and TV stars, ICON remains mainly about writers, and year after year, attracts some of the genre’s best, led by ICON founder and UI Writer’s Workshop grad, Joe Haldeman, who has won many Hugo awards.

A perfect atmosphere for someone now out of the closet, not only as a nerdy Sci-FI fan, but as a nerdy Sci-Fi WRITER. 


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