Bubonicon 49

Today’s main event is the solar eclipse happening over much of the United States. I hope you have a good place to watch with clear skies and proper eye protection. I’m in Louisiana, where we should see about 80% of the sun eclipsed, presuming we get clear skies.

This coming weekend, I’ll be in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Bubonicon 49. The link will take you to their page with more information. This year’s theme is Back in Time (Time Travel). C.J. Cherryh and Sherwood Smith are the author guests of honor, Ursula Vernon is the toastmaster, and Elizabeth Leggett will be the guest artist. The convention is being held at the Albuquerque Mariott Uptown at 2101 Louisiana Blvd NE. Read on for my tentative schedule.

Friday, August 25

  • 4-5pm – Main Room – Jurassic Spark: Dino Appeal. Not just kids love dinosaurs. They’ve fascinated people of all ages for almost 200 years. Why? What is the enduring appeal of dinosaurs in the popular imagination? Dreaming about dinosaurs constitutes mental time travel. Usually. Does this fascination explain the appeal of Godzilla, Rodan, etc? On the panel with me are C.J. Cherryh, Steven Gould, Emily Mah, and John Saberhagen. Victor Milan will be moderating.

Saturday, August 26

  • 10-11am – Salon A-D – Fancy Pants: Idea Strategy. Are you a pantser? An outliner? How do you get at your material? The most common question asked of SF writers is “Where do you get your ideas?” and we’re all interested. Do you keep ‘em in your pants? Should we rephrase that? Where do you find them? What are your ideation strategies? Is that an idea in your pants, or are you just happy to see me? On the panel with me are Brenda Drake, Betsy James, and Susan R. Matthews. Robert E. Vardeman will be moderating.
  • 2-3pm – Main Room – Exo-Planets: What We’ve Learned. Astronomers have discovered several planets in orbit around far stars. What have we learned? Are there any in reach? Are any *really* habitable, or is it just that some could be habitable if all the conditions are just right? On the panel with me are Larry Crumpler, Loretta Hall, Kathleen Kitts, and Cathy S. Plesko. I’ll be the moderator.
  • 4-5pm – Main Room – SF As a Stealth Delivery Platform. Everybody knows that SF has inspired legions of young people to grow up and become scientists; half of NASA was weaned on Star Trek. But does SF’s influence with these people end with their choice of career? Might SF actually serve as a legitimate means of transmitting scientific ideas between working scientists in different disciplines? Might it, in certain circumstances, be more effective than usual technical publications? On the panel with me will be Kathleen Kitts, Pari L. Noskin, and Corie Weaver. Emily Mah will be moderating.
  • 5:25-6:40pm – Main Room – Mass Autographing. I’ll be joining all the Bubonicon participants in the main room where we’ll all be happy to autograph your books, programs, and anything else you want signed!

Sunday, August 27

  • 10-11am – Carlsbad – 55 Minutes with David Lee Summers. Although this is billed as a solo event, I’ve invited Gene Mederos to join me and we’ll read stories from Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales and Kepler’s Cowboys. We’ll be happy to answer questions and there may be some surprises as well. Come by and join us for 55-minutes of thrilling science fiction adventure!
  • 1:30-2:30pm – Salon A-D – Ask a Scientist! Larry Crumpler, Cathy S. Plesko and I will field your questions about science!

As usual, I will be helping with the Bubonicon Author Tea on Sunday afternoon. Check the program book for details. Because of my schedule, I’ll be helping at the second session. There are always some amazing teas to try and lovely snacks to eat.

What will be unusual for me this year, is that I won’t have a dealer’s table. I will be a free range author at this year’s Bubonicon. You will be able to find my books at the Who Else Books Table and possibly at the Barnes and Noble table as well. If you’re in Albuquerque this weekend, I hope to see you at Bubonicon!

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The Dinosaurs of Cabazon

This weekend finds me in San Antonio, Texas at the seventy-first annual World Science Fiction Convention. For better or for worse, it’s hard for me to think of San Antonio without thinking of Tim Burton’s first film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.

For those who have never seen it, Pee-wee Herman’s bike is stolen. He visits a phony psychic who tells him the bicycle is in the basement of the Alamo. Pee-wee then makes a cross-county trek only to find that the Alamo has no basement. To be honest, I’ve always been curious to find out whether or not the Alamo has a basement, or an underground cellar of some kind. I’ll be sure to let you know!

Along the way, Pee-wee stops off a diner in Cabazon, California where he finds giant sculptures of dinosaurs. Thing is, Cabazon is not too far from San Bernardino, where I grew up. I used to see these dinosaurs just off the freeway as I passed through. During a recent trip back to California, I had the opportunity to stop off and actually see the dinosaurs up close.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

I found it the dinosaurs a fun stop. I particularly enjoyed the fact that you can climb up into them, just like they showed in the movie Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Inside the apatosaurus is a gift shop and you can visit it for free. There is an admission to climb into the tyrannosaurus and walk through the museum and dinosaur garden.

The museum and garden mostly consist of robotic dinosaurs in displays with modern animals. I gather the owners are creationists who would like to convince visitors that dinosaurs and humans lived on Earth at the same time. Depending on your viewpoint, this could be entertaining, inspiring or off-putting. As a person of faith who recognizes the evidence of evolution, I was in the first category.

View from TRex

Here we see my daughters sitting in the mouth of the Cabazon Tyrannosaurus Rex, much as Pee-wee and Simone did in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Of course, the version of the mouth in the movie was a Hollywood Set, but it is fun to see the “Eat” sign atop the Wheel Inn through the mouth of the T-Rex. All in all it was an entertaining little roadside attraction that reminded me of a movie that brought me a smile during my college years. And who knows, these little attractions often have a way of turning up in stories down the road.