An Alternative Universe (01)
The Joy (02)
The Generosity (03)
The Acceptance (04)
The Love (05)
The Sadness (06)
Goober Fiction (07-08)
Once she dumped Hercules, there was no stoping Xena
An Alternative Universe
 I spent three days the first weekend in May in an alternate universe. I loved every single moment of it. The 2001 Xenacon in Pasadena was wonderful. How could it not have been with the marvelous guests, the terrific fans, and all the overwhelming things that were going on nearly every single minute? Yet, to this Xenite, it also seemed to exist outside the everyday world. The things that separated this wonderful world from our "normal and mundane" world included:
 First was the joy. I do not think I have ever seen so many happy people in one place. Everywhere I looked, all I saw were smiling faces and laughing people. Complete strangers (and some Xenites are strange) would run up to each other and greet each other as long missing friends or relatives long separated. Some of us had badges from various subgroups of Xena fandom. If a Xenite had a Merpup badge or an Exposure badge or any of a dozen types of badges with an e-mail name and/or a real name, that Xenite was greeted like a rich aunt with a bad heart by dear friends who were only electrons on a screen until that instant. No Xenite could ever be lonely, as there always seemed to be more people we wanted to talk with than we had time to just sit down and visit.
 Second was the generosity. Xenites gave large amounts of money to so many good and worthy causes during the con. But more than that, Xenites gave of their time to organize brunches, and dinners, and auctions, and drawings, and dozens of other events. All without pay or any hope of monetary reimbursement. I know they were repaid by the joy of the attendees of all the events, but they still spent a lot of time and money on people they hardly knew and most likely would never meet again.
 Third was the acceptance. I saw fans of a Joxer and Gabrielle romance. I saw fans of subtext and fans of maintext. I saw Aresians. I saw Merpups. I even saw a couple of fans in Star Fleet uniforms, but I think they were in the wrong alternate universe. I saw fans of every shape, size, color, sexual orientation, nationality, and income one could imagine. I never saw or heard any one of these many types of fans put any other type of Xenite down, unless it involved a discussion of which was the best Xena episode ever made or was Lucy Lawless or Renee o'Connor the more beautiful. I had not realized how my perception of "normal" had been changed until I saw a young couple of people wearing Xena T-shirts walking hand in hand near the convention center. What caught my attention for a "shocked" moment was the fact that they were a male-female couple. The things you see in the Big City.
 Fourth was the love. Not just the love we Xenites have for the "stupid, chop-socky" TV series we all care about. It was more than even the love shown by fans to each other. It included the love returned to us by the actors attending the convention. Did Claire Stansfield and Alexandra Tydings really have to give us the wonderful and hilarious XXX review? Did so many of the other actors have to go out, sing, dance, and tell stupid jokes to entertain us? Did Hudson Leick have to carbonize all our hormones? Did Lucy Lawless and Rene O'Connor have to come out and ... do more than just stand there and bask in our love? For that matter, did Missy Good and Katherine Fugate, two of the "fans" who actually got to write episodes, have to be there and share their joy in being part of the "official Xenaverse"? Of course not. The actors would have been paid if all they did were stand on the stage and stare at the audience for 30 minutes. Everyone was there in Pasadena because they loved a certain stupid, but oh-so-wonderful, TV series and the unforgettable characters who have become part of the worldwide common culture. And our lives.
 The last thing I noticed was the sadness at the end. Part of our lives is no more. I am sure the characters of Xena and Gabrielle will still be around 500 years from now, just like King Arthur or Beowulf ("Yes, he was on that TV show, also") or Sherlock Holmes are still around long after their "creators" have died. But these wonderful characters are now part of the past. There may be movies, there may be remakes with different actors, and there may be authorized novels and games and whatever. And there will be fan fiction, too. But the lightning that was caught in that specific bottle has gone out. I could tell the actors on stage knew it as well as we fans did.
 It was a wonderful weekend with several thousand of my closest and dearest friends and it will never happen again. Xena is Dead, Long Live the Warrior Princess and Her Battling Bard! I just wish I could live in that wonderful alternate universe I discovered the first weekend in May for the rest of my life.
 Comment heard on the Sheraton elevator: "What is with this 'goober fiction' I keep hearing about?" "I believe it is pronounced 'uber'."
I am a retired US Army officer who spent most of my 20+ years working on various research and development programs for various secretive US Government Agencies. I am now working as a research librarian in Portland, Oregon. I have been a science fiction and Star Trek fan since I was in high school, but Xena was the first show to suck me in and make me an out and out lunatic. I do help put on and run various SF cons around North America and I will try my darndest to insure the maximum amount of Xenite material will be in every con program.
Favorite episode: WHEN FATES COLLIDE
Favorite line: I never thought I'd ever think my favorite line would be said by Joxer, but my latest favorite is from WHEN FATES COLLIDE, when Xena says to Roman guard Joxer, "Unlock it." And Joxer says, "But Caesar said-- " To which Xena says, "-- to enrage the Empress till she beats the tar out of you?" And then is my new favorite when Joxer replies, "No, I must have missed that. I'll open the door."
First episode seen: THE XENA SCROLLS
Least favorite episode: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS