CopperCon 30

Over Labor Day weekend, I was honored to be one of the guests at CopperCon 30, held in Mesa, Arizona. The Guest of Honor was Stephen R. Donaldson. The other guests were Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, and Mark Horning. Lots of other SF/F fans and writers were in attendance.

I feel like I have a bit of a history with CopperCon. CopperCon 14 was the first convention I attended as a dealer. It was held at the Francisco Grande Hotel in Casa Grande in 1994. Vernor Vinge was the guest of honor. CopperCon was also the first convention that invited me as a participant. That was CopperCon 21 in 2001. Julian May was Guest of Honor. Diana Gabaldon was the local author guest. A particularly enjoyable memory was visiting with Ms. Gabaldon and Adam Niswander while we were signing books together. That was also the first time my daughter Myranda participated in a convention costume contest.

CopperCon 30 now marks the first convention to invite me as a guest. To me, the best part of any convention is getting to visit with the readers and fellow writers who were in attendance and this convention was no different. I was happy to see Rick Novy who has been in Tales of the Talisman a few times and who recently bought my story “The Revelation of Thought” for his anthology 2020 Visions. By the way, Rick interviewed me last year at Westercon. If you didn’t see it then, you can watch the interview here.

Speaking of Tales of the Talisman alumni, it was gratifying to meet Marsheila Rockwell and see Eric Haury and Anna Paradox.

Just before I went to CopperCon, I’d won a copy of Cortez on Jupiter by Ernest Hogan. Ernie and his wife Em were at the convention and Ernie signed a copy of the book for me. You’ll be hearing more from Ernie and Em here when their turn comes up for a Space Horrors guest post. Also Ernie will have a story in the winter issue of Tales of the Talisman. As it turns out, I wrote up more about Cortez on Jupiter and it was posted at LaBloga today.

Among the highlights for me at any convention are the panel discussions. I was a panelist on topics ranging from the popularity of vampire romance to science fiction for the younger generation. All of the panels were enjoyable and there was great audience participation throughout the convention. However, the standout panel for me was one discussing what’s new in astrophysics. I sat on that panel with Dr. Russett McMillan, who was on the episode of Mythbusters when they busted the myth that the moon landings were a hoax. Russett has essentially the same “day” job I do, but she works at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. We discussed a lot of the hot topics in astronomy and astrophysics such as planets outside our solar system and dark energy and dark matter. The audience was very engaged and someone even brought in a poster and hung it up so we could scribble on the back with a marker. Another highlight was putting on my pirate hat and talking about pirates in literature with Michael D’Ambrosio and Captain Aries. (Note, in the photo, you can still see the scribblings from the astrophysics panel!)

Michael D'Ambrosio, David Lee Summers, and Captain Aries

As part of being a guest at CopperCon, the con committee graciously gave me a table in the dealer’s room. There, we sold copies of Tales of the Talisman along with an assortment of anthologies with my stories, books I’ve edited, and my novels. Fellow guest Weston Ochse also brought copies of his new novel Empire of Salt and sold them from the table.

I really enjoyed visiting with people who come through the dealer’s room. Used book dealers Marty and Alice Massoglia were across the aisle from us and are always great to visit with. Next to us was a demo table with a group of people who built remote control robots including some nice Star Wars droids. My daughter, Myranda, wearing her steampunk attire, posed with the droids.

There’s so much more I could talk about, but I think I’ll wrap it up here and say a big “thank you!” to CopperCon for inviting me as a guest. I am truly honored and I had a terrific time. I look forward to many CopperCons to come.

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