It’s been a busy time with travel to conventions and a new book about to be released. I thought I’d take the opportunity to recap some of the highlights from the conventions and tell you about a fun new interview.
I spent August 26-28 at Bubonicon with my family and we had a great time. My wife Kumie is still undergoing chemotherapy, so she didn’t feel up to being around the whole time, but did come in for parts of Saturday and Sunday. I was originally scheduled to be on two panels. One discussed how the sub-genres of speculative fiction are categorized. The other was a panel on what constitutes Steampunk. Shortly before the convention, I was asked to sit in on a panel discussing self-publishing. The panels were well attended and the discussions were good.
One of the most interesting things that came up on the panel about categorizing speculative fiction was the roll of user tagging at such places as Amazon, libraries, and social networks. Basically, readers are playing a much bigger part in defining the genre of a given work. I think that’s cool.
One of the things I enjoyed in the Steampunk panel was the discussion of Steampunk set in other cultures besides Victorian England. We speculated about the possibilities of Steampunk set in Africa or Asia. Of course Wild West Steampunk also came up.
I was pleased to see many friends at Bubonicon including authors Diana Gabaldon, Jane Lindskold, David Boop and Pati Nagle. Here’s a photo of Diana Gabaldon and me at the mass autographing that was held on Saturday afternoon. As you might infer from my costume, the theme of the convention was Steampunk.
In addition to the panels, I read my story “The Zombie Shortage” and a short segment from Owl Dance on Sunday morning.
We had a dealer’s table again this year at Bubonicon and did well. Because of Kumie’s health, my daughter Myranda stepped up and helped out at the table quite a bit. The table next to ours was run by an independent comic group called 7000 BC. Each year they hold a raffle for an illustration they create at the convention. The illustration has the same number of rats as the convention number. This year that was 43. The last rat is the winner of the raffle. It turns out, my daughter won the raffle this year. Moreover, because they were still several rats short of 43, they decided to draw the whole family as rats 39-43. I haven’t seen the finished drawing yet, but hope to soon.
Next up was Labor Day weekend and CopperCon. It was held in Avondale, Arizona, on the west side of Phoenix. On the first night, several of us gathered for dinner, and one of the people at the con mentioned that the word “mollusks” makes a good substitute for just about any swear word you can imagine. From that moment on, Gini Koch and I decided that the word of the convention was “mollusks”.
I sat on eight panels at the convention, plus I did a reading, autographing, and gave my Victorian Astronomy presentation. One thing that was neat about the Victorian Astronomy talk was that Dr. Russet McMillan from Apache Point Observatory sat in and added tidbits about science and important contributions by women in astronomy. I was very pleased to have her input.
Despite the fact that it was a small convention at a relatively small hotel, most of the panels were well attended. There was only one panel where the panelists outnumbered the audience and that was “How to Raise a Thinking Child” which was about how to raise a smart, polite kid in an environment of movies-on-demand and video games. In fact, we agreed that it’s the same problem it has always been — parents need to be involved with their kids.
Larry Hammer, Marcy Rockwell and I spoke about speculative poetry markets and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. I threw out a writing prompt and gave people fifteen minutes to write. The attendees came up with some great poems during that short time. I admit to being a bit disappointed in my own effort, but I’ll play with it and see if I can make something that will work.
Like Bubonicon, I was asked to be on a panel that I wasn’t originally scheduled for. This time, the topic was “Are Fairies the New Vampires.” I was on the panel with Janni Lee Simner and Aprilynne Pike. Our conclusion was that faeries are scarier than vampires and have better PR people. After all, people still like Tinkerbell after all the awful things she did to Wendy!
Finally, I’ll wrap up this post by pointing you to a new interview I did with Steven Janiszeski. I talk about my day job in astronomy, Owl Dance, and penguins in New Mexico. Be sure to check it out at: http://stevenjaniszeski.blogspot.com/2011/09/steven-interviews-david-lee-summers.html