One last CON story: at the end of the dystopia panel I sat on, an older man came up to me with a smile on his face and asked me if I'd ever read any Robert Sheckley. I said no, I had not, and his smile faded and I could feel his disappointment in me as a human being and sci-fi author/panelist. So, of course, I later looked up Sheckley and got his short story collection "Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?" from the library.
It's great, old-school sci-fi. Breezy. You know, the kind written back when you could write sci-fi without a hyper-awareness of the "Grand Masters" or hard science or the fanboy blogs breathing down your neck and it just seemed, you know, pure fun to tell crazy stories about aliens and shit. My favorite story was "Tripout", a comical story about a being who you're not really sure is an alien or a lunatic (maybe it's the same thing?). Overall Sheckely writes with a light, comic touch that reminds you inevitable of Kurt Vonnegut.
Here is Sheckley's (1928-2005) wiki entry.
I hope this blog post somehow makes up for my ignorance, CON attendee!