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What's up with Capricon?

Does anyone reading this know who's running the 2005 Capricon? I know the staff changes around every year (in general, a good thing) but I just heard about a policy change they've put in this year that made my jaw drop.

Greg Ketter (from DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis for those who have just joined us) just told me that Capricon returned his check for tables, saying that they wanted more new blood and felt that there were too many book dealers anyway.

This would have been his 25th Capricon. That's right - he's been to every single one. I was trying to work out with other long-timers whether he is or is not the ONLY dealer to have participated so long. I should ask Steve Salaba, who would be one of the few other contenders I can think of.

I think this was a very poor decision on someone's part. Do they really feel that books are no longer part of science fiction? Or that Mad Science (this year's theme) is only about gadgets and sparkly stuff? There were only four book dealers last year anyway - how many fewer can they be planning on!

I wasn't at all sure I'd be able to afford going this year anyway, since for the first time it would mean flying in. Now here's one more big reason not to try too hard.


Dec. 11th, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC)
Barb and Ray do the convention t-shirts. This means that they pretty much have to get a table.

Gretchen is on the committee and is the only filk dealer. (We've been hucking since 1986, so I think we get to count as old guard at this point too. :) )

La Paloma has been at Cap (and Windy) before, but not in the last year or two as I recall. She's a desirable dealer when she's in the room.

I don't recognize some of the other new dealers (which is not to say that they're either bad or good dealers). (I've been helping Gretchen maintain the Capricon dealers mailing list for the last few years, so I know who she's been mailing to and who has requested information in the past.)

It appears that there's no games dealer at all. This won't bother me personally, but may cheese some folks off.

And Steve Salaba and Marty both got shown the door. Much as I love Steve, I somewhat understand moving him out since Bast's Garden is there, but Steve's puppets are -- as I recall -- substantially different from what Bast's Garden carries. I'm actually a bit more disappointed in them dropping Marty to replace her with other clothing sellers since Marty's not been around for long and can hardly be classified as stale.

But I'm just an opinionated guy. :)
Dec. 12th, 2004 02:03 am (UTC)
I sympathize with wanting to make changes - it's natural to take on a new job and do it differently than the old guard. But I think these particular changes were very poorly considered.

I know it's quite likely that they weren't even the product of careful choices. Many dealer rooms are determined by just the one person choosing from the list of applications. And if that person doesn't have much history behind them, they may not even be aware of what they are letting in and what they are excluding.

Some of my dismay is more personal - I think it's a crying shame that Greg would get tossed out after showing so much support over so much time. But there's an overall sorrow at the further marginalization of books. The number of places where one can browse shelves, actually hold a book in hand before purchase, is growing steadily fewer. Now Capricon is yet another place where that's the case.
Dec. 12th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC)
Gretchen tells me that La Paloma was actually in the room last year -- shows you how often I got around the room. :)

As I said to Mike on the GT list, my personal opinion is that not giving tables to Greg is a mistake since he works hard to bring material that is orthogonal to that brought by the other book dealers in the room, thereby increasing the diversity of books available in the room.

I believe that I heard -- but this is my faulty memory at work, so take that into account -- that the room was juried by Sunshine and Deb together.

Also, given the state of the economy and what it's done to some of our marginal dealers, having 15 more dealers than tables is actually a pretty good ratio. Last year, Windy -- as I recall again -- filled the room exactly with applications that arrived by the deadline. That's unusual, because we've attracted more dealers in the past than we've had tables for. (And, in fact, after the deadline we got a goodly number of requests, but those are less useful than the timely ones.)


after all
Alice Bentley

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