Living in Salt Lake City is really great for a geek like myself. There are so many geeky things to go and see and do, it’s fantastic. A lot of things are probably not as well-known or as well publicized as Salt Lake Comic Con, or Salt Lake Comic Con’s Fan Xperience, or FantasyCon. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth going to and checking out. In this edition of Geek on the Street, I took a trip down to the Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium, which was held at the Marriott Hotel in Provo, Utah. This was my experience.
First of all, it takes a lot for me to venture down south. There’s a weird feeling in Utah County, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Something happens when you cross the Point of the Mountain, and you are just in a different world. That being said, this symposium, combined with the possibility of taking Frontrunner down, which is a real live train, none of this Trax stuff, was enough for me to take the trip.
Unfortunately, that is the last picture I will have in this post. There are a couple of reasons for this. Number 1, I am awful at remembering to take pictures of things. I just forget for whatever reason. Or I don’t think of it, or however you want to look at it. Number 2, LtUE is not like comic con or FanX. There isn’t a lot of cosplay, or a lot of spots set up to take pictures, so there wasn’t a lot to take pictures of. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.
It really was a different experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I went down there. Part of me was picturing a Comic Con but on a much smaller scale. I guess in some ways it as like that, but not really. Yes, it had panels, like Comic Con has. Yes, it had a vendor floor like Comic Con, and an artist area and it had a game room, but each of these were different from the Comic Con counterparts. After going on Saturday, and really enjoying my time there, I guess I would say that Comic Con is just for fun, but LtUE is for people who are serious about this stuff.
What stuff? Let me explain. If you are unfamiliar with Life, the Universe, and Everything, it is a premiere symposium for people who write Science Fiction and Fantasy. This was, I believe, the 34th annual LtUE, so it has been around for a while. I would imagine it is in Provo because BYU is in Provo, and BYU has produced a huge number of great SCi-FI and Fantasy writers. 2 massive examples would be Orson Scott Card and Brandon Sanderson. Those two would be enough, but there have been many others to come out of BYU, so the location makes sense. This gathering is not just for fun, although there is plenty of that to be had. Most of the attendees were there because they are aspiring writers who either want to start writing genre fiction, or have already written something and are now looking to make some connections to get it published. There are rooms set up for pitch meetings and quite a few publishers there, looking for some great authors to pick up here. Many of the panels had to do with furthering your career, like how to pitch your ideas, how to find an agent, or whether you are ready for an agent, and so on. There was the occasional Why are there so many sequels or Villains in film panels, but for the most part, the panels were designed to help you move your writing career along. It is a great opportunity for any aspiring writer to go and network.
Your humble blogger here, has aspirations, maybe someday, to write some fiction, so I found a lot of the information helpful. I am by no means ready to hire an agent, or try to get anything published. Mostly I write this stuff, and that’s mostly for fun. I don’t think I’m even very good at this. It is amazing, though, to be surrounded by these creative types. It makes you want to be creative and write so much. These are the real deal geeks, and I mean that in the highest respect. These are the geeks I aspire to be. They read a ton, and they write a ton. It makes me want to be a better geek. Maybe, now that I have the blog up and going, and people seem interested, maybe I am ready to branch out into fiction. Maybe I will chicken out. However, if I keep going to things like this, I might get up the nerve to finally do it, and maybe, I will just get enough guts to let other people read my stories. That’s what these kind of gatherings do. They make you feel like it is safe to share, that you can do it. That is the best part, or it was for me.
The goal with my blog originally, was for me to start writing again. My wife made me do it, because she is a loving and supportive wife, who sees my potential. She wanted me to start with the blog, but she wanted me to go further, so maybe I need to. Maybe it’s time to start down that path.
In any case, I loved my experience at LtUE. I would definitely go again. There are so many networking opportunities and it is so much more intimate in the panels and meeting the authors, than what you find at Comic Con. Comic Con is amazing, but so it LtUE. Just a different kind of amazing. I enjoy both for different reasons. I would recommend LtUE for anyone who is wanting to write genre fiction, or for anyone who has written something and they are wondering where to go next. It will help you take that next step, whatever it is.