The stereotype of geeks as mousy, shy wallflowers is total crap. Sci-fi and fantasy conventions can be as cutthroat as political debates, with quibbling Republicans and Democrats replaced by gamers, steampunks, and Trekkers. Forget healthcare and the economy: the important issue is who’s a better captain, Picard or Kirk?
The battle for nerd superiority will experience a temporary cease-fire when DarkCon 2012 creeps into the Phoenix Marriott Mesa. Costumers in Victorian corsets and goggles will break virtual bread with vampire LARPers and Jedi for a weekend of 24-hour gaming and events. “More and more people are crossing genre lines, especially with steampunk,” says convention chair Jeff Jennings. “There’s a ton of creativity involved and people love the gadgets.”