Indianapolis Monthly


IT’S FRIDAY IN Fountain Square, and Maurice Broaddus is creating another new world.

This one’s not the world he needs to create as part of the $175,000, three novel deal he just landed with Tor Books, the country’s top publisher of original science fiction and fantasy. That will have to wait. So will the worlds required to spring from his imagination for the two short stories he has due next week. All of those have been put aside for the weekend so that Broaddus can focus on creating a more temporal world—one populated with about 80 writers, editors, agents, and friends from around the country.

He calls it MoCon—and, yes, it’s a self-named convention. But there’s no dealer hall. No cosplaying. No autographing-for-a-nominal-fee. This iconoclastic con occupies one room of The Switchboard, a former church turned coworking site, and it’s primarily about conversation and connections. A group around one table debates the differences between horror and thriller. In the line at the restroom, they’re talking about industry pressures and entertainment-media bias. Speculation in another corner concerns how the success of the recent Black Panther movie will impact efforts to diversify mass pop culture.

Sporting a bright dashiki and a blissful air, Broaddus, 49, weaves in and out of the conversations, putting aside thoughts of the money he’s losing on this shindig. (Participants pay $100 to attend, a fraction of what it costs to feed and entertain everyone for three days.) Instead, he seems focused on the connections he’s helping forge. “I know a lot of cool people, and

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