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Armadillocon 2015 Wrap-Up

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Well, another Armadillocon has come and gone. This year, I was the Fan Guest of Honor and it was indeed an honor. Thanks to the staff of Armadillocon who not only treated me like royalty (you know not what you do to my ego!) but who also organize an amazing convention year after year. (Bonus: The awesome Sara Felix gave me my very own bagel tie clip and set of bagel cufflinks. How cool is that? Very!)

Here’s a rundown of the panels I was on:

  • OPENING CEREMONIES – This was a quick but fun “welcome!” panel introducing con guests Ken Liu, James Morrow, L. Timmel Duchamp, Rocky Kelley and myself. Toastmaster Stina Leicht gave a most excellent speech about fandom. If I wasn’t already primed, this did the trick.
  • FAN GUEST INTERVIEWDerek Johnson and Lawrence Person grilled me about SF Signal and blogging…it’s beginnings, its inner workings, the posts we’ve published and the guests we’ve had. Both Derek and Lawrence kept me on my toes because I wasn’t sure what they would ask next. But it was a lot of fun. About the only thing that could have made it more fun was if breakfast was served. (Looks at Lawrence 🙂 )
  • FANNISH FEUD – Fannish Feud is a perennial mainstay of Armadillocon. It’s a Family-Fued-like game show that pits professionals against fans. On the professional team was Timmi Duchamp, Rocky Kelley, Ken Liu, James Morrow, and Patrice Sarath. On the Fan team was Scott Bobo, Eric Hollas, Troyce Wilson, Jimmy Simpson and myself. Stina Leicht was the host and Rhonda Eudaly was the “Vanna White” recording answers and points. Short version: it was a slaughter, and not in good way for Team Fan. I’m pretty sure that Team Pro made some sort of pact with Satan to win. 🙂 But the game was very fun anyway, with questions about Doctor Who (Sorry, Colin Baker!), movie monsters (No King Kong? Seriously? Come on!), books, authors and more.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE READ IN 2014-2015 – This one was a book recommendation panel for books released in the past 12 months. Moderator Michelle Muenzler (affectionately known around the con circuit as “Cookie Michelle” because — OMG — she carried a tub of awesome cookies with her everywhere and shared them freely) went round-robin through the panelists (Justin Landon, Willie Siros, Skyler White, and myself). Lots of good books and stories were mentioned. (Does anyone have an electronic version they can share here?)
    [UPDATE: Here’s the list, courtesy of A.T. Campbell…]

    CURRENTLY AVAILABLE

    • A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
    • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
    • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
    • Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace
    • Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
    • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Chimpanzee by Darin Bradley
    • Cold Iron by Stina Leicht
    • Coming Home by Jack McDevitt
    • Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
    • Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
    • Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
    • Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
    • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Lexicon by Max Barry
    • Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey
    • Poseidon’s Wake by Alastair Reynolds
    • Red Girls by Kazuki Sakuraba
    • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
    • Smiler’s Fair by Rebecca Levene
    • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    • The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton
    • The Adjacent by Christopher Priest
    • The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
    • The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross
    • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
    • The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs
    • The Just City by Jo Walton
    • The Martian by Andy Weir
    • The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert
    • The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
    • The Peripheral by William Gibson
    • The Three by Sarah Lotz
    • The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
    • The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock
    • The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois
    • This Gulf of Time and Stars By Julie E. Czerneda
    • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
    • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
    • Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

    FORTHCOMING

    • A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe
    • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
    • Black Wolves by Kate Elliott
    • Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick
    • Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
    • Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
    • Slade House by David Mitchell
    • Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany edited by Nisi Shawl & Bill Campbell
    • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
    • The End of All Things by John Scalzi
    • The Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie Czerneda
    • The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
    • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
    • Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt
    • Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu
  • SF MOVIES FROM LAST YEAR – Panelists C. Robert Cargill, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Derek Johnson, Rick Klaw, and Barbara Ann Wright discussed SF/F/H films released in the last 12 months. I acted as moderator (my first time doing so), but this well-informed and well-prepared group didn’t need much prompting. They all had interesting and insightful things to say about the films they liked and — even more fun — the ones they didn’t. I got the impression that panel could have run another hour easily. Lots of great discussion.

Beyond the panels, I spent a good deal of face-time with other conventioneers. One of the GREAT things about Armadillocon is that it’s a book-centric convention. Every conversation had at least some discussion of books and why you might want to read them. It’s always so refreshing to be around so many other avid readers who share the same tastes in our speculative corner of fiction. It was wonderful to meet new friends, see old ones, and just chat with like-minded folks. Besides the panelists mentioned above, I got some face time with Dr. Paul Abell, Sanford Allen, Lou Antonelli, Paul Benjamin, Jayme Lynn Blaschke, Christopher Brown, A.T. Campbell, Matt Cardin, J. Kathleen Cheney, Dantzel Cherry, Wesley Chu, Bill Crider, Scott Cupp, John Alexander Husisian, Al Jackson, John Hornor Jacobs, Jake Kerr, Claude Lalumière, Joe R. Lansdale (who schooled me!), Marshall Ryan Maresca, Henry Melton, John Moore, Nancy Jane Moore, Jaime Lee Moyer, Michelle Muenzler, John Picacio, Marguerite Reed, Jessica Reisman, Chalres Siros, James Stoddard, Patrick Sullivan, Dan Thompson, Martin Wagner, Cynthia Ward, Don Webb, Jacob Weisman, Martha Wells, and Caroline M. Yoachim. Sadly, I missed the chance to talk with Matthew Bey, Steven Brust, Aaron de Orive, Paige E. Ewing, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Alexis Glynn Latner, Lee Thomas…and so many others. My apologies if I left your name off the list.

There was also a good chance you could find me in the dealers’ room. So many good books and other merchandise were out on display. I walked away with some signed Lansdales for myself. Booyah!

So thanks, Armadillocon, for another fun weekend. And thanks to the attendees for being so cool and open about the books you love.

Keep reading and see you next year!

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on Armadillocon 2015 Wrap-Up

  1. I was schooled by Lansdale in a different way at Worldcon SA, as he had asked for volunteer crash test dummies during his martial arts demonstration!

    Looks like you had a great time, wish this conference would be held once when I am in the state!

  2. Sounds like so much fun! So jealous (but in a good way)!

  3. I’m jealous too, and in a good way.

    You were sitting at the same table as Skyler White? *dies*

  4. Good show, as always. You did a great job keeping some strong personalities in line during that film panel. I assume you threatened them with violence beforehand. Those DeNardo crime family connections carry serious clout.

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