June 7, 2011

Book Review: Lost at the Con

What would it be like for an unknowing, non-geek journalist to be assigned to cover a convention? You know it has to happen. The calendar is overflowing with comic, science fiction, fantasy, and gaming conventions. Eventually, someone has to get thrown in against his or her will. Bryan Young's upcoming book, Lost at the Con, tackles just that situation.

A drunken political journalist, Cobb, is assigned by his arsehole (technical term) of an editor to cover a sci-fi/fantasy convention. Cobb goes in bitter with guns blazing. He tries to understand what geek culture is about. Relevant questions include: What is slash fiction? Why are so many attendees in costume? Why do people pay for autographs from celebrities? Cobb begins to question himself and the life he's leading.

Young's hard-hitting style pulled me into the story immediately. The dialogue and story move in a direct and snappy tone. No time and words are wasted but nothing is rushed or bland. The journalist, Cobb, is a piece of work. Geeks in particular might have a hard time with Cobb because he's abrasive and not particularly nice to the universe he's found himself in. But he's not really a nice guy in any situation. He makes me think of House. He's harsh and blunt. You feel like you should hate him, but secretly you admire him for saying the things you want to say but are too nice or wimpy to stammer out.
During the convention happenings, Cobb is working through heavy life issues. Maybe surrounded by the unfamiliar world of nerdom isn't the best place to face deep questions about who you are, but maybe it is. The realities of love, work, and alcohol parallel the fantasy of the convention and sometimes blur together.

This book has appeal for both geeks and new initiates like Cobb. From the geek perspective, it's fun because you have the inside knowledge and you get to feel a little superior to Cobb. You'll recognize the setting, but you'll still be surprised by where events lead. I recommend checking it out.

Pre-order Lost at the Con here.


  1. This looks incredibly interesting! Thanks for the review, I'll have to put it on my booklist.

  2. I should caution that it's not for Younglings, but definitely a fun and intriguing read. :)

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