Sorry, guys, you know sometimes I wake up not all there. This is a manifestation of that, since I woke up yesterday with this running through my head. And as a day of opening boxes and dealing with vent cleaners looms, I decided to indulge myself. Any of my colleagues borrowed for this exercise were borrowed unwittingly and it’s not really them, but the fan-space version of them. I apologize in advance. (Larry, don’t kill me!) Most of the authors here are Baen or indie, because those are my friends and I stand a lower chance of their killing me.
The camera pans to a man who could stand to lose 50 or a 100 pounds, wearing a checkered suit and a loud tie that clashes with it, and holding his microphone in a way that conveys not so much excitement as that he wishes for YOU to think he is excited. “Hello and welcome to the annual Running of The Fans event, which takes place at a different comicon every year.
Before the doors open to the vast majority of casual fans, people who can prove they’re rabid fans of one of the authors attending get issued a special entrance pass. Proofs of special favor include knowing the author’s children, having once bought the author’s grocery list OR having a lock of the author’s hair. There was this one who had a lock–”
“Which is where,” a younger, skinnier version of the big man says, pushing into the camera, ahead of his older colleague “some people say the Oh, John Ringo, no, expression originated.”
“Wait,” says the older one. “I thought that was because of Ghost, a very fine book if I say so myself. Not that I have read it.”
“You haven’t?” says the other one. They trade a look so pregnant that were it a woman there would be a shotgun marriage in the offing. The younger one breaks it by clearing his throat, “We want to emphasize that every writer who takes part in this is here voluntarily.”
Older announcer, “We have to emphasize that because some years ago we got accused of cruelty to animals, by the SPCA. It seems that writers fall under some of the classifications for feral and reclusive animals.”
“Indeed,” younger announcer says, pushing to the front again. “Which is why we are saying they choose it voluntarily. It is believed to be a test of will and endurance and and…”
The camera pans to a group of maybe a hundred writers, jostling and moving restlessly, although in the middle there’s a heated discussion going, probably about what writers discuss when they get together. That’s right. Taxes.
A voice from above says “Five minutes until the doors open to the fans.”
“Ah, what a pity,” the younger announcer says. “We were hoping to give you some interviews with the authors, pre event. But there won’t be time for that. As you see, the authors seem to be in fine fettle.”
The announcers spend some time panning the faces of individual authors and discussing their accomplishments.
This is interrupted by a voice from the ceiling, “The fans are coming, the fans are coming.”
The double doors open on a throng at the end of the hall. Some of the fans are in costume. There is a minotaur in an Acme costume, for instance, several ladies in corsets and men wearing uniforms of all epochs, some of them imaginary.
The announcers shriek and run behind the barriers which are formed by booths filled with books. For a while the melee is too confused to focus on, and the announcers are both talking at the same time.
After a while the younger announcer says. “John Ringo is down. I repeat he’s down, and they’ve taken his kilt. But he’s still fighting valiantly.”
“Larry Correia,” says the older announcer, “Is still running, though he is QUITE literally covered in fans demanding his autograph. Look at him move! That’s why they call him The Mountain Who Writes.”
“If mountains moved, of course.”
“We have the first author to escape the melee, ladies and gentlemen. David Drake seems to have evaded the fans by the expedient of pretending to be lost and asking for directions, then fading away.”
“I don’t believe that was an expedient. He probably is lost. We’ll eventually find him in Timbuktu, all the while trying to find the convention restroom. He’s legendary for such dislocations. We believe there might be magic involved.”
On camera, a group of fans gets hit by a volley of books, and falls back, “Ah, that is Mad Mike, aka Michael Williamson. They didn’t let him bring his guns, so he has MacGyvered a book-throwing weapon out of booth construction tubes, banners and chewing gum.”
“Let go of me, you daft buggers,” sounds from somewhere, and the camera finds Kate Paulk besieged by fans. As she starts to sign books profferred by the bans, you can hear her mutter, “Ah, should have brought stakes.”
“Poor Kate Paulk. After all David Weber caught carpal tunnel after such a mishap.”
“They also caught James Young, Sarah Hoyt — who tried to pretend to be Russian to escape–”
“No, that really is her accent.”
“At any rate,” says older announcer. “It didn’t work. And something very odd happened when they cornered Amanda Green. It appears that a giant black cat leapt away from the fray, no one knows where.”
“Interesting. I always thought that was just her books…”
“Then there is Sabrina Chase, who keeps crying out ‘they tempted me with science.’ Apparently someone asked her a science question, immobilizing her while her fans surrounded her.”
“The least said for the fates of Peter Grant and Pam Uphoff, the best. I believe each of them has now signed 100 copies and there are still mountains of books to sign.”
“Dave Freer is the only author now still at large and not signing. He’s barricaded in a booth and keeping rabid fans away with a barrage of coconuts. Of course, sooner or later he’ll run out of ammunition.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, this has been the annual running of the fans, at a comicon somewhere in the US. A blood sport only a few authors are brave enough to dare.”