Sunday, March 27, 2016

And the choosing begins . . .

The best thing about 221B Con, the absolute best thing, is that you rarely have to be bored for any given hour of the con. With usually four or five choices of programming going on at any moment, it's hard to find one's self without something of interest going on. And that's also the worst thing about 221B Con.

The schedule for the con has come out, so con-goers can start planning their days (and finding out if the panel they signed up to be on is at the very same time as the other panel they wanted to see). This year, as I only put in for one panel ("Old School Shipping: The Many Wives of Classic Watson"), I'll have to miss choosing between writing dilemmas, fanfiction, costuming on a budget, and trivia. Costuming would have been my go-to if I was free, and writing dilemmas sounded like fun, too. But then, as experience has shown, any panel at 221B Con is ripe with possibilities. The panel names are often quite . . . understated?

Not sure if that's the word I want (a writing dilemma), but that's the thing about looking over the con schedule. A lot of it looks like the map of Silver Dollar City I saw when I was thirteen . . . being a little humble in showing the wild rides that awaited at each location.

This year, my goal is to attend some things that are outside my bubble, maybe not go for too many repeats of last year's favorites, and try to expand my Sherlockian universe a little bit more, as every 221B Con has done for me. The web series showings are hard to pass up, as are the podcast recordings . . . even though they are the one part of the con you can get to later. Fortunately the con never does too much counter-programming against the podcasts. The David Nellist session is also probably a must-see, with only "Con Etiquette" and a craft session going against it. (Nellist fans, I'm assuming, must be considered well behaved folks by the con organizers.)

But even with a rough guideline in mind, there are a lot of hard choices ahead. From the very first session, "AU and Crossover" versus "Watson's Colleagues: Doctors in the Canon" versus "Mary Watson nee Morstan," I can see I'm going to be missing something. Luckily, I'm taking the good Carter with me this year, so in some cases we can cover double the territory and I can at least get first-hand reports on some of what I miss.

It would be interesting to someday see an actual consortium of web-reporters coordinate to do write-ups of every single panel at a 221B Con. Perhaps I'm betraying a writer's bias here, but recordings of the whole thing will always be problematic, as not everyone wants to have their words, vocal reactions, and occasional slips locked in for posterity. But a simple report of the more interesting points out of each session, collected together? Might be a worthwhile reference.

So many great thoughts and ideas pop up at these conventions that it's impossible to catch them all, of course, just as it's impossible to get to even great session that will happen next weekend. But as Sherlock Holmes once said in his Stan Lee moment:

"Excellent, Watson! Compound of the Busy Bee and Excelsior. We can but try -- the motto of the firm."

And it doesn't get more "Busy Bee and Excelsior" than rolling through a 221B Con.


  1. If you decide on the Trivia perhaps you David and I can triple-team the youngsters and perform like the Lady Huskies in the NCAA Woman's Tournament. I noticed you didn't mention Elementary, My Dear Watson – Come discuss CBS’s detective duo, as a 'must do' panel. Must have been an oversight.

    1. Don't know how well we'd do on "new Canon" trivia!

      Last year's Elementary panel was so enlightening that I don't know if I'll need a second dose, but we will see!