Tag: con report

0

Arisia 2010 con report: Barefoot Techno-Fantasy Fest, in a Kilt

[photo by Sean Molloy] At my first Arisia, I found myself weaving through crowds of strangely-coiffed pirates, rocketeers, and gamers; wondering at what point my own personality would intersect with one of those cliques and, at the same time, idly speculating as to which clique it would be. Twisting, turning, and meandering, I wondered if there was any cipher concealed for me in my conversations with Freemasons, swordsmen, and zombies, or a secret buried somewhere in the depths of a prominent decolletage. In the end I was left with an exhilarating sense that something interesting had transpired, and though I could list any number of particulars of the fun things I did, I wasn’t quite sure how it all added up. This year, at my second Arisia, I was more accustomed to the casual ebb and flow, the meaningless randomness of who one might meet at any given moment, and I was more attuned to simply enjoy the dance. Indeed, some of the most startling appearances in 2009 — the stilt-walking woman in tights and razor claws, the body-gloved Harley Quin, and the immaculately nuanced Steampunk ensembles — returned. They were all conspicuously different from last year, but instead of novelty they radiated a pleasant warmth of familiarity. Oh that mischievous stilt-woman! Always scratching and snarling at the Muggles as they float up behind the glass of the atrium elevator! And Harley, the little minx, does one ever tire of contemplating the poses she strikes while strapped into that saucy leather corset, black boots and ragged stockings? [photos by Sean Molloy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/falconn67/] It was equally reassuring to see pieces of last year’s favorites, if not ramped up to full energy, at least lying about here and there like fragments left over from an archaeological dig. The skull-bracketed rocket pack that was flamboyantly posing with a team of rocketeers in ‘09, was this year merely glimpsed abandoned on a table, straps dangling idly alongside. It certainly would have been fun if somebody rushed out of the con-suite, strapped on the skull-pack, and flamed up across the atrium space to a party upstairs! And yes, there were pirates, there were faeries, and furries, and a few storm trooper types. You could say that it was the same rich stew of individuals at Arisia 2010, but there were definitely higher concentrations of bare feet, of blood-drenched nurses, blue-green body paint (though only a few of them Navi, as fas as I could tell), and really pervasive wearing of kilts. Sure, some people I expect to see wearing a kilt (since that’s pretty common around the office…okay, it is Cambridge!), but it seemed like every time I turned around there was another utilikilt wrapped around some smiling, bearded dude. Which means that this year’s Arisia (officially sub-titled “the future and the past”) has been informally dubbed by Yunchtime as the “barefoot techno-fantasy fest, in a kilt.”

0

Readercon 2009: Apollo 11 and Science Fiction

**Update** Terrific Photo Spread in Boston Globe - Big Picture Did SF become irrelevant after the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969? This panel explored the relationship between the Apollo program and SF, and the ways in which SF did or didn’t live up to its visionary potentials after manned space flight became a reality. Paul De Fillippo kicked things off by asking to what extent SF inspired the space program? And to what extent did the eventual breakdown of the manned space program affect SF?

0

Readercon 2009: Novels You Write vs. Novels You Talk About In Bars

This panel included Barry Malzberg, Allen Steele, James Morrow, and Rick Wilber. Rachel Pollack was scheduled to appear, but nobody seemed to know where she was. By way of introduction, Rick Wilber had prepared some sort of pseudo-clever analogy about the panelists, saying that they were at different places along the timeline. Wilber said that Allen Steele, having already published 15 novels was someplace near mid-career, and that James Morrow was “settled” into a successful career with a number of major achievements under his belt. Then Wilber introduced Barry Malzberg, with his long and distinguished career, as “still active in the field…” Somehow you could sense the fumble on that last note, which provoked Malzberg to pounce into action: “What a euphemism!” he roared. “Just say it: I’m an ancient writer, a washed up writer! Remember when Tom Disch said we’re all just ‘robots wired for sound?’ Well you can just go ahead and say a corpse wired for sound.” Richard Wilber, recovering, said: “Ok, late career…” “Autumnal!” said Malzberg.

0

The riches of Readercon 2009

It was great to attend my first Readercon. Like entering a stranger’s house and finding yourself among all of your best friends. Of course some of them I met for the first time… like the Crochety

0

Readercon 2009 - Egocentrism and Creativity

This panel, moderated (with immoderate gusto) by James Patrick Kelly, featured Scott Edelman, Eileen Gunn, Gene Wolfe, and Catherynne Valente. John Shirley was scheduled to participate, but got stuck in San Francisco, where I can picture him flailing savagely around in the airport trying to get on any flight to anywhere! The premise of the panel was based on Michael Swanwick‘s contention that “modesty and a reasonable awareness of one’s limitations have no place in a writing career.” Yes, that’s the same Swanwick who declared at Readercon one: “With the possible exception of Gene Wolfe, I’m the best writer here today.” Thus egocentrism…

0

Secret Societies Converge to Get their Freak On: Arisia 2009 con report

My first impression of Arisia was one of sartorial richness, stirred together with equal parts of humor, history, literary allusion, and performing arts. The non-stop schedule of movies, panels, gaming sessions, readings, parties and demonstrations got lost in the spectacle of costumed attendees swarming randomly around three levels of the hotel, and visible from any number of perspectives along the balustrades of the atrium. Out of this dizzying scene the iconic image of this con, for me, was that of a black-clad woman with blonde dreadlocks, jacked up on really tall stilts, and moving hazily across the rippling lobby carpet while slashing playfully at people with her foot-long razor nails. There were plenty of other costumes…indeed far to many to describe, except to say that the standard for corsets, ray-guns, battle-armor, cloaks, boots, scabbards, gowns, ragged wings, top hats, gloves, goggles, spats, walking sticks, holsters, capes, chain mail, and hardened-leather bustiere was conspicuously high! This managed to fit in with some of the subtexts running through the con, such as hentai anime, freemasonry, and steam punk vs. cyberpunk. And you could follow some of those threads on the con Twitter feed.

0

Zombies Devour the Lawless Elite: Boskone 2008

This year at Boskone, there were some interesting panels, great painting demos by Bob Eggleton and Omar Rayyan, and a nice gallery of paintings from Boskones past and present alongside works by the Artist GOH, Dean Morrissey. Anthropology, SF, and Chad Oliver The first panel I attended was on the works of Chad Oliver, the great anthropologist / SF author from Texas. Amy Thomson, whose work on the encounters between humans and aliens (and between robot girl and humans) remarked that, in fact, she was not influenced by Oliver before writing the Color of Distance and Through Alien Eyes, and only came to appreciate the anthropological aspects of Oliver’s science fiction in retrospect. George Zebrowski told of his long working relationship with Chad Oliver. When he worked with Crown Books as editor for their Classics of Modern Science Fiction series in the mid-1980s, Zebrowski was asked what the first ten volumes should be, and he told them that the three of those ten should include Chad Oliver’s novels: Shores of Another Sea, Shadows of the Sun, and Unearthly Neighbors. Three out of ten? By the same author! Was Zebrowski out of his mind? But, in fact, Crown ended up supporting the suggestion and those novels did appear as the 3rd, 8th, and 9th volumes in the series.