TusCon 39 Report

Last weekend, I was fan guest of honor at TusCon 39 in Tucson, Arizona. Here I am in a photo taken by my friend Daniel Arthur, wearing my steampunk gear and showing off the fan I picked up for the occasion. I figured if one is to be fan guest of honor, one should have an appropriate fan!

The weekend was a real whirlwind. For me, the convention started out by setting up the Hadrosaur Productions dealer’s table. We’ve published enough books and picked up enough books for resale that we really need to get two dealer’s tables. Of course, even if we’re not at a convention, you can still shop our merchandise at http://www.hadrosaur.com

Once everything was set up, we then moved into opening ceremonies where toastmaster Ed Bryant introduced both the Literary Guest of Honor—S.M. Stirling—and me. Ed made a special point of noting S.M. Stirling’s love of Nantucket and announcing a contest for the best Nantucket limerick to be held during the weekend. Ed also cited me for bravery for commuting between Las Cruces, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona in a Smart Car.

From opening ceremonies, I moved right into a busy series of panels. My first panel discussed writers finding their own unique voice. My take on this subject is simply that writers simply need to write, experiment, and not be afraid to try new things. The consensus of the panel was to look for those areas where you have something unique to say and engage you personally. That’s where your passion in writing will be. That panel was followed by a reading of bad poetry hosted by Larry Hammer. The challenge in that event was to get through as much of a terrible poem as you can without cracking a smile. Several of the participants did very well, but at my best, I could only make it about a verse without laughing outright.

Saturday, November 10 was a busy day for panels. I started out with two panels discussing Steampunk. The first was an attempt to define the genre for the audience. The second was a look at paranormal/steampunk cross-genre works. From there, I moved on to my fan guest of honor hour where I essentially told about how astronomy and writing have intertwined in my life so far and how one has influenced the other.

The fan guest of honor hour was followed by the TusCon mass autographing. I sat up in the front of the room with S.M. Stirling. We both signed several autographs over the course of the hour.

That evening, Marty Massoglia and I threw our annual birthday party. Lots of people dropped by with well wishes. Marty’s wife Alice brought three cakes, plus her deviled eggs and there was a good selection of fruit, meat, and veggies. Lots of people crowded into our small suite at the HotelTucson and we had a great time. My friend Vinnie put his artistic skills to use decorating balloons. Here my daughter holds up a few examples.

Even after the party wrapped up, I still had two more panels that night. I was on a panel that discussed how erotica has long been part of fantasy and science fiction. Later that night, I was on an interesting panel that discussed marriage and relationships and how far a parent might go in what they would allow, or at least advise, their children to avoid.

Somewhere after that last panel, I managed a little sleep. Sunday was a somewhat quieter day at the convention. Sunday morning started with a discussion of why married couples are so rare as heroes in science fiction and fantasy. Our conclusion was that they are actually becoming more common. More of a challenge than writing married couples though, is writing couples who have children.

My last official event of the convention was a reading. I read excerpts from both Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and Revolution of Air and Rust. I had a good turn out and both pieces seemed well received.

The convention wound down all too soon after the reading. For me, the event ended with the traditional end-of-con chilli cooked by Bruce Wiley.

I want to say thanks to convention chair Sue Thing and all the members of the convention committee for having me as fan guest of honor this year. I always have a great time at TusCon, but this year will go down as one of the very special ones in my memory.

8 comments on “TusCon 39 Report

  1. BIG RICH says:

    Reblogged this on STEAMPUNKAPOTAMUS and commented:
    Reblogged — TusCon 39.

  2. It sounds like you had fun — I only went to three conventions and barely fit into one of them because they were all day to day bloggers and I was doing something that was on the way of being published when I joined diary-x. I met a few from the site at the convention and that was when the story broke out about a fight that took place when I walked away. The fight was over me because they were interrupting me and wouldn’t let me sleep. I was staying on a campground to save some money on the convention in Chicago, and the third Convention I was staying out in DuPage County, if I was to do that one again I would had stayed in a hostel that was across the street from the hotel. I never been to steampunk convention personally, I bet it was cool to say the least.

    • Thanks. It was a good convention. I usually make it to about six conventions a year. TusCon wasn’t a steampunk convention per se, but they did have a steampunk track this year, which was fun — especially since a lot of my writing is steampunk, or at least retro science fiction. So far, all of the steampunk conventions Ive been to have been great. Lots of people in costume and a lot of enthusiasm.

      • I have seen a lot of steampunk types at the Goth conventions too — they overlap each other, the closest thing I have that is like that is a vampire story called In The Eyes Of A Skull which is a mix between Dracula and the Cthulhu Mythos. I have to go to another one eventually but the thing is trying to get the timing and the money. I have to travel by train when I go out of state, so I leave a few days earlier.

  3. Carma says:

    What fun! I love the photo of you in full dress with accoutrements. Oh, and you know your magazine is a success when you need 2 dealer’s tables.

    Dick Cavett tells about his first time meeting Groucho Marx. It went something like this. Dick: I’m so happy to finally meet you. I’m a big fan of yours. Groucho: It’s a hot day. I can use a fan.


    • Thanks, Carma. I love that photo, too. The costume is inspired by Professor Maravilla from Owl Dance. At the very least there are a lot of issues of the magazine now! Thanks for sharing the Dick Cavett/Groucho Marx story. That’s great!

  4. Great con report. Ed’s MCing! Larry’s readings! Bruce’s chili! I miss Tucson sometimes! (But only sometimes, usually around this time of the year actually)

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