Last weekend I attended Armadillocon 33, a convention with a focus on the literary side of science fiction. This is the main reason I go and the main reason I love it: rubbing elbows with like-minded folks who love talking about all things bookish. (For the record, I never actually rubbed any elbows, but I bet some people would’ve let me.)
The con itself kicked off with an awesome speech by toastmaster (and Robert E. Howard expert) Mark Finn. I’m including that speech here because it’s a must-listen for all geeks out there:
There were lots of good panels at the con. The high point, panel-wise, was the Fannish Feud panel, a geek version of Family Feud, hosted by Finn, that was hilarious.
But the highlight of any convention I’ve been to is the mingling with the aforementioned like-minded bookish folks. This year I got some quality time with some of the con’s special guests: Hugo Award-Winning Editor™ Lou Anders (who wrote up his Armadillocon experience here), the always-fun Paolo Bacigalupi, talented sculptor Vincent Villafranca (who showed me the most amazingly detailed, hand-crafted miniatures), and Emma Bull and Will Shetterly (with whom I had a nice Sunday breakfast). Good times all around.
As I was schmoozing my way through the con, I also got to spend some time with lots of other great people, too. As always, it was good to see SF Signal contributors Rhonda Eudaly (her con write-up is here) and Jimmy Simpson, Scott A. Cupp, Derek Johnson, and Lee Thomas. I saw (briefly) Matt Cardin as well. Good people and not enough time in the world to share with them.
I also had some good (also too-quick) chats with Sanford Allen (great storyteller), Lou Antonelli (the hardest working man in Texas), Matthew (not Michael) Bey (he of Space Squid), Jayme Lynn Blaschke (whose con report fills me with fear), Steven R. Brandt (who has a cool web project you’ll be hearing about soon), Chris Nakashima-Brown (whose hipness is matched only by Paolo’s), Steven Brust (who had some good jokes), Bill Crider (who shares a love for Nero Wolfe mysteries), Bradley Denton (who I got to thank for his awesome story “Sergeant Chip“), Sara Felix (who so needs to resurrect her convention awards), Rick Klaw (ape connoisseur and always fun treat to talk to), Ari Marmell (who I finally met after several near-misses), Joe R. Lansdale (a hoot and a half), Stina Leicht (who brightens any room with her perennial perkiness), A. Lee Martinez (who feels very strongly about certain superheroes of the amphibious type), J.M. McDermott (who talked a bit about the recent Weird Tales staff change), John Moore (one of several Texas con staples),Lawrence Person (who was even more camera-happy than Jayme this time), Willie Siros (a convention dealer room staple and a helluva guy), Bruce Sterling (who somehow managed to sell litle biblioholic ol’ me 31(!) books), and Howard Waldrop (who I met for the first time).
I didn’t quite manage to connect with some others: The one chance I did have to say hello to Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch, they were both involved in conversation. Ditto with missing a chance to (re)connect with Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Alexis Glynn Latner (at least I managed to wave hello to Alexis!) and Martha Wells. I did not even get the chance to meet Aaron Allston, Neal Barrett, Jr. and Katy Stauber. Too much to do! Next time…