The Return of Las Cruces Comic Con

This weekend, Las Cruces Comic Con returns. I’m very excited because this is our hometown convention and I love connecting with people right here in Las Cruces. The last time the convention was held was five years ago in 2017. Unfortunately, I missed that year because I’d already made a commitment to be at another convention that same weekend. In 2018, the City of Las Cruces began renovating the visitor center, which we knew could take a couple of years. Then 2020 happened to further delay things. So, I’m delighted the convention is returning this year and I’m delighted to be able to participate.

Las Cruces Comic Con will be taking place this Saturday and Sunday, August 20 to 21 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Guest include Aleks Paunovic who has appeared in such shows as Battlestar Galactica and Van Helsing, Joe Station who has been an artist for DC Comics and drew Dick Tracy in syndicated newspaper strips for ten years, and Cris George who has done voice work in such anime series as My Hero Academia, One Piece, and Dragon Ball: Super. You can get more details about the convention at: https://www.lascrucescomiccon.com

I will be sharing a table in the dealer’s room with Tamsin L. Silver. Be sure to drop by and see the amazing selection of books and story collections we have available. We’ll be at Booth 37. Other great vendors at the convention include Zoodoo Dolls, Asylum Comics, and Portillo’s Artisan Jerky.

For those who don’t know Tamsin, she is a writer of Urban Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy, and Historical Fantasy. Originally from Michigan, Tamsin has lived in the Carolinas (North & South), New York City, and now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She holds a BA in Theatre and Secondary Education (with a minor in Creative Writing and Shakespeare) from Winthrop University in South Carolina and has taught both middle and high school drama. She’s the author of such books as The Curse of Billy the Kid and Mark of the Necromancer. You can learn more about her at https://tamsinsilver.com. She always has great things to say on panels and it’s awesome to have her discuss her thoughts on writing speculative fiction at Las Cruces Comic Con.

Tamsin and I will also be hosting two writing panels during the convention. Just to note, there is only one panel room at this convention. The schedule is:

Saturday, August 20

4-5pm – Getting to Know the Characters in your Head: Authors Tamsin Silver and David Lee Summers discuss how to breathe life into characters you’re writing no matter how far from your own experience they may be.

Sunday, August 21

1-2pm – I have an idea, now what? Authors David Lee Summers and Tamsin Silver discuss how to develop your cool ideas into really awesome stories or novels.

If you’re in Las Cruces this coming weekend, I hope to see you at Las Cruces Comic Con!

Exploring Strange New Worlds

A little over two weeks ago, I was a panelist and vendor at El Paso Comic Con. I had a great time at the convention. Tamsin Silver and I hosted three writing panels. On two of the panels, we asked another attending author, Alan Morgan, to join us. The panels were the best-attended writing panels I’ve seen at El Paso Comic Con. We spoke about “Researching Your Fiction,” “Getting to Know the Characters in Your Head” and “From Weird Westerns to Space Opera.” The first two panels were focused very much on the process of writing. We discussed how research is important whether you’re writing historical fiction, space opera, or even fantasy set in a world of your own creation. At the very least you need to know how things work so you can describe them realistically. The character panel focused on how we can pull from people all around us to create characters. Alan brought a great perspective to both of these because he writes games as well as fiction. The final panel, “From Weird Westerns to Space Opera” essentially brought the themes of the other two panels together by considering how the process of creating all speculative genres share common elements.

It was appropriate to discuss space opera at the convention, since one of the featured guests was none other than William Shatner. My wife and I got to meet him briefly for a photo op. Unfortunately, these photo ops don’t give much opportunity to interact, but we did exchange pleasantries and I have heard Shatner speak on other occasions.

William Shatner, David Lee Summers, and Kumie Wise

Now I will confess, I did Photoshop this image slightly. Since everyone was unmasked for the photo, they placed us a few feet from Mr. Shatner. I simply closed up the gap to give the photo a more friendly feel. One thing that was fun about meeting Shatner when we did was that it came just before the debut of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds which features a character first portrayed by none other than William Shatner.

In earlier posts, I’ve discussed my reluctance to subscribe to streaming services. However, I’ve been looking forward to Strange New Worlds for a while and I decided I didn’t want to wait for the video release. Overall, I enjoyed the first episode and I look forward to seeing how it plays out. For those who haven’t seen it, this new Star Trek is set aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise roughly six years before Captain Kirk takes command. The Enterprise is commanded by Captain Christopher Pike played by Anson Mount. His First Officer is Una Chin-Riley played by Rebecca Romijn and his science officer is Mr. Spock, played by Ethan Peck.

Ethan Peck and David Lee Summers at WIYN

The episode opens when a starship approaches a planet to make first contact. We then cut to a scene in Montana where Captain Pike is on leave between missions while the Enterprise is undergoing refit. Admiral Robert April turns up and informs him that the first contact mission went awry. What’s more, that mission was being commanded by Una. So, the Enterprise must leave on its mission early to find out what happened. Robert April is a character we first met in the animated Star Trek series where he was introduced as the captain of the Enterprise before Pike. I won’t say much more at this point because I don’t want to risk spoilers. One of the things I did find interesting about the episode was that it posited the idea of the warp drive being weaponized. Tying this back into the discussion of the El Paso Comic Con panels, one thing that came up back in the 1990s when I was first researching engines and plausible methods of faster-than-light travel, was how often new power sources can be weaponized, which led to the dual concepts of Quinnium weapons and the Erdon-Quinn drive in The Pirates of Sufiro. You can see the results my research along with an array of colorful characters by reading the novel, which is available at: http://davidleesummers.com/pirates_of_sufiro.html

Another fun element of the new Star Trek series was getting to see more of Ethan Peck’s work. As I’ve mentioned before, he visited the WIYN telescope on my birthday in 2019 as we were commissioning the NEID Spectrograph, which actually looks for strange new worlds around other stars. I am glad to be part of a team that’s paving the way for a Star Trek-like future and I think it’s very cool that one of the actors in the series has actually seen some real exploration of strange new worlds.