A Quick Symposium Report: LTUE XXVII

This year's LTUE was fantastic. I vaguely remember Life, The Universe, and Everything: The Marion K. "Doc" Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy from its early days at Brigham Young University. Massive crowds thronged the Wilkinson Center, the entire Garden Court was given over to dealers and the art show, and I think attendance was around 2,000. Those were the late 1980's. For the last four years of THIS decade however the event has seemed to languish. I've attended regularly, and while it's been fun seeing my friends and local pros, there haven't been many attendees. Maybe three hundred? There have been some wonderful GoHs, but it didn't seem like the University population really cared at all. Last year Orson Scott Card spoke, and that drove attendace up to around 800... for his address anyway. It was cool, but it didn't boost attendance at other panels, and I really didn't expect much of that to carry over into high attendance this year. Well... it DID. Or SOMETHING did. Some of it was probably halo-effect from Stephanie Myers' success (the Romance panel was packed, for instance.) But attendance was up across the board, and panels were not just well-attended, but were expertly presented and moderated. The symposium really shone this year. I learned a lot (which is half the point of attending) and people seemed to learn a lot from me (which is the other half.) I also made money (this would be the third half, because I'm not good at fractions), which I really didn't expect to do since I only sold Schlock merchandise during my one-hour signing. But that single hour was profitable. Not "a day at WorldCon" profitable, but definitely "a really good hour at Comic-Con" profitable. More to the point, I think that this year's event breathed new life into the symposium. If you're local, it's definitely worth attending. If you're a BYU student with any interest at all in a creative vocation, be it illustration, writing, animation, or even music or game programming this event is not just worth your time -- it's worth several times whatever else you might be doing on campus during those days. Skip class. I didn't plug LTUE very hard this year, and I must now own up to that being both a mistake and a disservice to locals who read my blog. Next year, expect better from me. Oh, and plan to come. Skip class. Seriously. I'll write you a note.