Category Archives: conventions

Quick Comic-Con Post

Of course I am referring to the San Diego Comic-Con and I did not attend. My preference for conventions are for the smaller cons where there is a more social vibe. That is not to diss Comic-Con, I have friends who love and I hope it stays in town big, and messy, and wonderful. It is just that for my happiness the ideal size is usually under 10,000 people.

The best thing about thins years Comic-Con from a personal perspective was that I did get to have dinner with my friend, her SO, and my sweetie-wife. We had good food, good conversation in a nice little place well away from the con.

Now, it’s Monday and it’s time to revise a short story and do more work on my novel.

 

I hope your coming week is fun and happy.

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Condor 2017 Post convention report

This weekend was Condor, San Diego Longest Running SF convention. I participated in six panels, attended several more, and hung out with friends, artists, and writers. All in all it was a great weekend and I had a terribly good time.

I think every panel I participated in was crewed by intelligent, engaging, and entertaining people. The discussions were lively, and covered a broad range of topics from the merely amusing to the deeply serious. Just the sort of things I look for in a convention.

Panels I attended were of the same caliber. In addition to the panels I had lively and good discussion with friends and fellow members of the Horror Writers Association, a fine group of people.

The only thing that really marred my weekend was Saturday night as I drove home a experienced a suddenly migraine. It last throughout the night and even a bit into the next morning after I awoke. I still made it to the convention, took part in my final panel, and had a good time, but once I got home that evening the pain returned.

Here’s hoping your weekend was as fun but without the pain.

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Condor 2017

This weekend is Condor, San Diego local SF convention. I will be attended as panelist and fan.

Here are the list of panel that I will be participating on if you want to stop by and listen.

Friday

Zombies, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Tropes 12:00 noon

Writing What you Know 1:00 Pm

Mad Scientists in books and Film 3:pm

Saturday

Horror in Harry Potter 1:00 pm

Bad Science in Movies & TV 7:00 pm

Sunday

How Big will Science-Fiction Get? 2:00 pm

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Loscon 43 Day 3

Sunday was the final day of the convention. in spite of being up past midnight engrossed in good conversations I arose shortly after 8 am and took in a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant, A friend, Mark Fogg, joined me for breakfast and the good conversation from the previous night continued.

My bad luck with first of the day panels also continued as the retrospective on Military Sf was canceled. Instead I spend my first block period watching space-related cartoon from Warner Brothers and MGM.

Just a few topics and panels consumed the rest of the convention for me. A nice overview of the science gained from our most recent Martian rover, a lively discussion of tropes and cliché’s in fiction, and I ended it on science with a look at the result of the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

At about 4 pm my wife and I left the convention for home. The drive home passed uneventfully. We stopped for a meal with friends also heading to San Diego, and did a little grocery shopping near home before finally reaching our condo.

I stayed up a littler later than my sweetie-wife watched most of The Martian, but then exhausted I turned in for sleep.

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Loscon 43 Day 2

Day 2, Saturday, was my very busy day at the convention. Now to be honest the day did not start off well. The first panel I attended, the subject being why are manuscripts dead on arrival, was one that presented very little information that I did not already know and my alternate panel had been canceled, but those are the risk of a convention.

The next block featured a panel in which I was a participant, the subject being Redshirts, body counts and drama stakes in story telling. The panelists were all lively and informed, our discussion ranged far and I think went to very interesting places.

After that I took in a panel on stealing from history, Shakespeare, and other sources. Any panel featuring both Harry Turtledove and Tim Powers is neatly always worth attending.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with science presentations on the Dawn Mission, a read and critique workshop that I facilitated, and a bit to eat rather late in the evening.

My final event was panel that I had suggested to the programming chair, discussing Roddenberry’s failed pilots of the 1970s.. I had envisioned this taking place during normal con hours with a panel of 4 or 5. Instead it was scheduled for 9pm, and while the programmers had slotted two panelists, I was the only one that turned up.

An audience however did attend and so the show had to go on. Luckily the audience was willing to roll with just me up there and in the end I think we had a lot of fun talking about the pilots, the filmmaking of the era, and Roddenberry’s career before Star Trek.

With the last panel completed I spent the remaining hours, until well after midnight, in a lively hallways discussion with friends old and new.

A truly good end to a good day.

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Loscon 43 Day 1

Things went fairly well for me on Friday. Now my day-job requires that I work ‘Black Friday’ as this is also the time of the year when Medicare complete applications arrive in a flood. However I was able to shift my work schedule so I started early and completed by shift at 3:00, then my sweetie-wife and I drove quickly from San Diego to Los Angeles and I arrived just twenty minute before my first scheduled panel.

The panel discussed Science, Fiction, and Politics. Despite the explosive potential the room remained civil and instead on rancor we had plenty of reasoned statements. I sat next to Harry Turtledove and managed to not make a fool of myself.

The evening was hanging out with friends, Ice Scream social, dinner with my sweetie-wife, and open room parties. I even managed to squeeze in about 40 minutes of editing on a new short story. All in all the day was good and ended well.

Now I head into day two and this time I have thee panels or workshops that I will be participating in.

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LosCon 43 this weekend

Thanksgiving weekend if when I head to Los Angeles for LosCon, an L.A. area Science-Fiction Convention. I have been attending for nearly twenty years and though my job now makes me miss most of Friday it is still one of my favorite conventions.

This year I will be on a few panels and here is where you can find me if you are going to the conventions.

FRIDAY

5:30 Science, Fiction, and Politics – St louis Room

SATURDAY

11:30am Redshirts and Body Counts – Atlanta Room

5:30 pm Rogue Read and Critque – St. Lous Room

9:00 pm Roddenbery’s Forgotten Dreams – St Louis Room

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Roddenberry’s Forgotten Dreams

If someone knows the name Gene Roddenberry it is almost certainly due to the 60’s television series Star Trek and it’s sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation. During the 1970s Roddenberry attempted to launch a few other series before Paramount green-lit a Star Trek film and the whole cascade that followed in the wake of the titanic success of Star Wars. At my suggestion Loscon43 this year has a panel discussion, which I will be participating in, on these failed pilots.

In order the prep for the convention panel I have tried to hunt down the pilots and re-watch all of them. I succeeded in all of them except The Questor Tapes. If you are in Los Angeles do consider coming to the convention this weekend, but if you can’t make it here are some of my brief thoughts about these pilots.

Genesis II: NASA scientist Dylan Hunt is undergoing an experimental suspended animation technique when an unexpected rock-fall collapses the cavern where the experiment takes place and Dylan isn’t revived until well into the 22 century. The Earth is fragmented with some locales in post-apocalyptic barbarism while other areas have retained advanced technologies. Dylan ends up recruited by a group called Pax who are dedicated to rebuilding humanity but this time without its warlike nature. The pilot is dreadfully dull with most of the scenes tiresome exposition as everyone explains things to the poor Dylan and the audience. The most action packed parts of the pilot, Dylan rigging a nuclear device to foil evil-minded mutants, takes place off screen.

Planet Earth: Same set up as Genesis II, again our main hero is Dylan Hunt, a scientist from the 20th century who due to a suspended animation accident is transport to a post-apocalyptic Earth and works with a group called Pax rebuilding society. This pilot skips the origin story and drops us into an adventure as Dylan and a science team are forced to infiltrate a society where women enslave men in hope of finding a missing doctor needed to save the life of a leader of Pax. This pilot worked better, a lot less exposition but the dialog is stilted and the moralizing is heavy-handed.

The Questor Tapes: An eccentric scientist that few have ever met tricks the government into building an android. When the officials try to decipher the robot’s programming they damage the files. The android, Questor, awakens and escapes. The damaged programming has left him without emotions or knowing his purpose. With the help of a human friend, he tracks down his mysterious creator and learns that humanity has been guided through the centuries by androids keeping mankind for destroying itself. His creator is an android but is damaged and was unable to create his replacement, Questor. Questor is supposed to be the last in the line and if humanity survives Questor’s lifespan it will have matured.

I have memories of this pilot but I have not seen in it decades. Of course the moment Data was introduced in 1988 during the pilot for Star Trek: The Next Generation I felt very strongly he was Questor 2.0.

Spectre: The only non-SF pilot Roddenberry produced after Star Trek. Will Sebastian and his physician friend Dr ‘Ham’ Hailton are the occult’s answer to Holmes and Watson. Sebastian and Ham travel to London investigating an English Lord who is either a hedonist or a Satanist. Of Roddenberry’s post Star Trek pilots I liked this one the best, but when the credits flashed I noticed that on the screenplay he shared credit with Samuel A Peeples so it is clear he worked better with a partner than writing alone.

It should be fun discussing these project on the panel at the convention.

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LosCon Next Weekend

Next weekend is Thanksgiving Weekend here in the United States and for me that mean the Los Angeles Area Science Fiction Convention, otherwise known as LosCon. I think I may have attended every LosCon from 1997 until now. It is one of my favorite conventions.

My very first turn at being on a panel and not simply in the audience was at a Loscon when I was drafted for an on the spot Firefly panel. (That was a blast.)

Now for the last several years I have been a panelist for local San Diego Conventions Condor and Conjecture. This year I will be on several panels for Loscon as well.

I do not yet have the rooms, date, or times for these panels but here is where you can find me at LosCon

 

Redshirts and Bodycount

Description: Star Trek, with its many generations and recent reboot, gives us the opportunity to consider the way stakes and violence have been portrayed in media from the 60s until today. Is it possible to have high stakes without violence? Is the threat of death always necessary? How does an exceptionally nonviolent movie like Star Trek IV hold up today? Is sanitized violence in fact more offensive than ‘honest’ violence? And is there actually any reason to strive for nonviolence, if the audience is enjoying it?

 

Science, Fiction, and Politics: Shaping Reality

Description: Come join our panel of people working in science and science fiction for a discussion of how science, and science fiction affects politics – and vice versa.

 

The Politics and Socioeconomics of Space Exploration

Description: How do politics, economics, culture, and space exploration affect each other?

 

Roddenberry’s Forgotten Dreams

Description: From the TOS episode “Assignment: Earth” until Star Trek: The Motion Picture Gene Roddenberry attempted to launch a number of SF television programs that never progressed beyond an aired pilot. Join us as our panel discusses the shows that might have been

 

In addition to the panel discussions I will also be leading a critiquing session either Friday or Saturday evening.

 

Rogue Read & Critique

Description: Bring 1200-1500 words of a work in progress. In a supportive environment we’ll listen and give feedback.

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A General Update

 

So life has been – interesting of late and it has kept me away from my blog.

The principle issue is that ‘minor’ sprain I suffered at World Con in Kansas City. Well I had it x-rayed and while there are no broken bones the doctor pronounced it a serious sprain. I am wearing a brace on my dominant hand and that makes everything a challenge. I can type – poorly and slowly – so I am not out of work at my day job. I am working on my novel — nearly finished — but beyond those items I have little endurance at the keyboard.

However the convention was wonderful. There were events every hour and often more then one that I wanted to attend. I met old friends and new ones. I had a great time and came away from new idea and new energy.

Soon, next week, I will loose the brace and get back to my usual self.

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