The annual ArmadilloCon convention is being held in Austin this weekend and I had the pleasure of attending on Saturday. One of the nice things about this particular con is that it’s book-focused, so it’s a chance to mingle with like-minded people and talk about all things bookish, which is exactly what I did.
The programming, as usual, was interesting and I often found, as usual, that there were many panels that I wanted to attend that were simultaneously scheduled. I caught the last half of a panel on the ties between gaming and storytelling. That was followed by a fascinating short fiction panel. Sanford Allen’s comment about the one-sitting short fiction reading session being the perfect vehicle with which to build up a continuous atmosphere of horror stuck with me because I think that continuity (as afforded by as few reading sessions as possible) lends to the enjoyment of a story. I also attended Sanford excellent reading of his fantastic story, “The Circus” (great stuff), and the tail end of a cross-genre fiction panel.
As much fun as the panels were, that’s not where I get the most enjoyment out of Armadillocon…
Where I get the most enjoyment is in the time spent talking with people who have the same interests. This socializing aspect is the reason I’m a return visitor and it’s why I plan on attending next year. I had the opportunity to personally thank some folks face-to-face for their generous past Mind Meld participation, including Nancy Kress (who blogged about her first day at the con), Rachel Caine, Michael Bishop, and the incomparable Joe R. Lansdale hissownself.
Biblioholic that I am, I think I spent more time in dealer’s room than anywhere else, but most of that time was spent chatting it up with folks I know through email or see regularly at the local conventions. I met up with SF Signal contributors Scott A. Cupp, a writer and book dealer who is probably still wiping up the drool I dispensed over his amazing collection of books (except for the three I bought, natch), and Derek Johnson, who I met in person for the first time. Scott, Derek and I had a great conversation about movies and books, especially mystery books. (Yay! More titles for me to read!) I also had good chats with Sanford Allen, not only a writer, but also a blogger at Missions Unknown and a musician with Boxcar Satan — you get 3 people for the price of 1!; Lou Antonelli, author of the short fiction collection Fantastic Texas, who was an excellent panelist with good contributions; Brent Bowen, podcaster at Adventures in SciFi Publishing; Allan Kaster, proprietor of Infinivox audio books and eBooks, who talked about audio anthologies and producing them; Shahid Mahmud from Phoenix Pick, which has been running a monthly special for a free eBook right here at SF Signal – stay tuned!; A. Lee Martinez, who always has me in stitches and enlivens any panel he’s on; Lawrence Person, who (along with Scott) knows more about book collecting than anyone else I know (Lawrence has begun posting photos from this con.); and writers Lee Thomas and Mikal Trimm, who collectively re-sparked my desire to read more horror fiction and had some insightful things to say about that genre.
I only got the chance to say a quick hello to so many other fine folks who I would have loved to have talked to more: Matthew Bey from Space Squid, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (Voices of Vision), Steven Brust (the Vlad Taltos series), Matt Cardin (Dark Awakenings), Rosemary Clement-Moore (the Maggie Quinn series), Gabrielle Faust (the Eternal Vigilence vampire series), D.B. Grady (Red Planet Noir), Stina Leicht (Of Blood and Honey), and Joe McKinney (Quarantined).
I did not even get a chance to say hello and/or thank other fine folks (like Aaron Allston, Alexis Glynn Latner, Ari Marmell, Jack Skillingstead, Howard Waldrop, and Martha Wells) before I had to leave. Next time!
All things considered, I had a great time.