Fourteen-year-old Max Leone is a frequent Swivet guest-blogger. Last month, he attended BookExpo for the first time. This is his report:
BookExpo America, or Fewer Scientology Space-Pirates and More Bikinis, Please!
By Max Leone
Book Expo was the first “convention” that I remember attending. When I found out it was happening, I was interested in going and seeing the ridiculous extremes writers have to go to in order to sell books. Anyway, I will say that I enjoyed BEA, however this may be because my mind has censored out the gigantic crowds, maze-like layout, and infuriating (and technically against the rules) rolling bags that made progress about as fast as advancing during World War One trench warfare.
I now pause to compose myself and avoid comparing the food to biological weaponry.
Judging by arm pain alone, I obtained a significant amount of “schscchwag”, or however you misspell it these days. I was informed that there were much fewer offerings than there had been previously, but barring actual work, (my one weakness), this will be impossible to confirm. The first free sample I picked up was a free copy of The Soulstealer Wars, by W.L. Hoffman. Speaking of ridiculous extremes, this was his first book, it was self-published, and he had a large booth complete with crystals and artwork. This industry can scare me sometimes.
Most of my time was spent searching for the fabled manga section, which I naively assumed was a vast row full of free samples of every manga series that ever has or ever will exist, but I found only a row of various comics and graphic novels, most of which were just for display, judging by my personal rule for the show: “if there's more than one of something, take it”. I considered using my skills of stealth and sleight of hand to abscond with some of the displayed books, but then I remembered that I possess that athletic ability of a drunken arthritic cheesesteak that also happens to be frozen solid.
There were plenty of memorable moments, however. The picture that greeted you when you first saw this post shows one of the two pictures taken at the convention. It is of a woman wearing a very small green bikini advertising her book on learning guitar. (The second picture I took is of the ceiling.)
There were fewer cosplayers than I expected, but I did see two women in feather-covered outfits accompanied by drummers, a man in a kilt, and a young woman in some sort of Russian army hat. Judging by the multitude of times I saw her, I must come to the conclusion that the KGB is having me followed. Or there were multiple women wearing the same hat, and I just wasn't paying much attention.
I received a free copy of Messages, the story of Stan Romanek, who claims to have been abducted by aliens multiple times, and has the implants to prove it.
Fear of alien abduction was the reason we gave the L. Ron Hubbard booth a wide berth; had I not acted quickly, my mom would have been taken aboard the mothership. You see, a few feet away from the booth were two people dressed as pirates, (curse them! tempting me with what I love most!) who asked my mom if she wished to have her picture taken. Assuming they were merely bloodthirsty sea raiders, and not scientologists, I had no objection to this. Then, I realized that they were guiding her into the Hubbard booth. I knew what the consequences would be. There would have been a picture floating around of my mother smiling in front of a large amount of L. Ron Hubbard memorabilia, an image that could be interpreted the wrong way. Luckily, I got her attention and pulled her away in time. After that, all I had to worry about were the communists.
I enjoyed the convention, and I hope to return next year. Hopefully there will be fewer scientologist space pirates and more women in bikinis.