I look forward to ArmadilloCon every year and I love taking part in my hometown convention. This year’s event was a great, intimate con, and I had the chance to hang out at the bar and visit with friends new and old a lot more than I usually do.

My panels were great. The Mars panel was amazing and wonderful. More science fiction conventions should put actual scientists on the panels. It was so much fun to be on a panel with Sigrid Close (two panels!), who is smart and funny and informative. If you attended the Mars panel on Friday and didn’t come away with at least fifteen story ideas, well, it wasn’t for lack of trying on our part.

The D&D panel, moderated by Paul Benjamin, brought back a flood of memories. I played in high school and college, and then when I spent a year in Iceland, a Canadian friend invented his own take on the game, called Vikings & Valkyries. We played at another Canadian ex-pat’s house, and it was a fun experience. I tried to remember the Icelandic incantation that I came up with, but could only remember the first line. This means there’s a trip to the storage unit to dig out the old books of poetry because I know I wrote it down. I also think that there are a set of painted lead figurines in my mom’s attic from my old D&D days.

The Gothic Novel panel was a hit, especially with the help of Jess Nevins, an expert on Victorian fantastical literature, and the rest of the panelists, Shanna Swendson, J Kathleen Cheney, and Barbara Wright. Turns out there are two strains of Gothic Novels — “a girl and a house” and the male version, in which a young man transgresses against society, and comes to a bad end.

My reading was moderately well attended, and everyone laughed in the right spots. I read from my new story “Werewolf Therapy” and from Chapter 10 of Bandit Girls, in which Jalana breaks into the headmistress’s office to find out why she seems to know some interesting things about her and her little sister.

I heard some really find readings from Mark Finn, Tex Thompson, and Adrian Simmons, among others, and I dropped in on some fantastic panels, and I bought plenty of books that I had been looking forward to buying, and all in all it was a success.

One thing I’m still chuckling about: my hotel roommate, J. Kathleen Cheney, is a stealth roommate. I got up early, and I tiptoed around the room to get ready to go downstairs, and I tried to be as silent as the grave, and I think I’ve successfully managed to shower and dress and get out of the room without waking her, only to get downstairs and see her sitting there comfortably in the hotel lobby. Turns out she had been up and out of the room since 3:30.

I thought she was an awfully quiet sleeper.



Shane · July 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I wondered who the guy in the audience at the Gothic Novel panel was, thanks for his name.

Patrice Sarath · July 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm

My pleasure. Jeannette Cheney said Jess was planning to be at the convention, and since he’s an expert, I asked him to weigh in from the audience.

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