Interviewing the organizers of CrossingCon is the easiest gig ever. They are so excited about the work of author Diane Duane, and so excited about the convention they are putting together, that the interview (me, in this case) really has nothing to do except nod and take notes. I had such a great time listening to the group who are clearly good friends talk about their upcoming convention. I’m sure that anyone who attends the con will be warmly welcomed and will have a great time! Here’s some highlights from the interview.
I did an interview via Skype with Holland, Eli, and Claudia, three of the board members of CrossingsCon. CrossingsCon came about because of a tumbler group that the three are on. Someone proposed a meetup…which turned into an idea for a series of meetups. Finally, according to Eli, someone said, “Hey, why don’t we have a Diane Duane fan convention?” Thus, the very first Diana Duane fan convention (specifically devoted to the Young Wizards fandom) was born. It will be held June 24-26, 2016 at the Courtyard Newark Downtown in Newark, NJ.
I can tell that Eli, Holland, and Claudia are true fans because they seemed even more eager to tell me about Diane Duane than they were to tell me about the convention! The Young Wizards series starts with the book So You Want to be a Wizard, first published in 1983. Currently, there’s a total of nine books, plus short stories. Duane has released an updated version of the series, in which she updates the technology and corrects some inconsistencies. She also took the opportunity to improve her depiction of a character with autism, pointing out that she was much better educated about autism now than in 1983. These revised books are known as the “New Millennium” editions. If you are wondering where to start, all three of my interviewees were adamant that the New Millenium edition of So You Want to Be a Wizard is the way to go.
This series has touched so many people’s lives. Because it started pre-Internet, fans usually read them without realizing that there were so many other fans. When a tumblr fan group started, it launched a tight-knit, supportive community of fans who were thrilled to discover that they weren’t alone in loving these books. In the books, wizards refer to each other as “cousins” and this has become a name for Young Wizard fans. In keeping with this familial term, the online fandom is warm, personal, and inclusive.
In coming up with ideas for CrossingsCon, the board is concentrating on fostering that personal, inclusive feeling. They haven’t finalized a schedule, but are planning a tour of sites in Manhattan that appear in the series “So You Want to See Manhattan?” They are also looking at having panels and speakers, but having a greater emphasis on opportunities for people to connect socially. They expect a small group this year and although they would be happy to be surprised, a small group is just fine with them.
If you are interested in CrossingsCon, you can find more information at their tumblr page and be sure to check out their new IndieGoGo Fundraising Page! Rewards include Holland’s homemade pumpkin bread, and stretch goals include having Mark Oshiro (who is reading the series as part of Mark Reads) and Seanan McGuire attend CrossingCon as guests.
People have based their own ethical systems on the Wizards series, which is about “how to be good in a world that is evil”. It has a diverse cast of characters who deal with both magical and mundane problems. Eli pointed out that the characters know that they can’t stop all bad things from happening, but the points of the books is that every little bit you can do is helpful. “Every little bit you o is your part you have to play in defying entropy.” I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of photos from CrossingsCon of online friends meeting at last!