The mystery panel. From left, me, Lilian, Stephen, Tracy

Excellent time at ConDFW this year. As always, a well-run operation. I had a lot of fun, the panels were informative, con-goers in excellent form (smart, funny, engaging, intelligent, handsome, etc.). Tim Powers and Brandon Sanderson brought the star wattage, along with Brad Foster and Jack McDevitt. How’s that for star power?

Arrived on Friday afternoon, checked in, and got ready for my panels. First up, the movie panel, which was a bogus topic, so the panelists decided to talk about trends in fantasy and science fiction in general. Hanging out and trading opinions with Brandon Sanderson, yay!

Martha Wells and her latest novel, The Cloud Roads

I went to the short story panel to meet up with Michelle Muenzler, and although Michelle and the other panelists are absolutely correct, don’t simsub your short stories, I did pipe up from the audience to say, if you want to live on the edge, go ahead and simsub, if one market is notorious for not responding in a timely fashion. I also related the anecdote of such a market, which shall go nameless, Interzone, which sent me a rejection for a story a year after it already appeared in another magazine. Look, editors — if Gordon Van Gelder can do it, so can you. Stop holding our stories hostage, and everyone will be happier.

Michelle still spoke to me, though, and a few of us went out to dinner at a great Taiwanese restaurant on her recommendation. Stina Leicht and William Ledbetter, wonderful company all con long.

I was on the Talking During Movies MSTK mashup and it was … it could have been fun. But listen, one guy hogged the mike, and his bon mots were pretty lame. Dude, when the only thing you think is funny is that the actress is wearing a leather bikini and all you can talk about is her tits, it’s not funny. There were a lot of things that were funny in the movie. Mark Finn had plenty of great quips. You sir, on the other hand, were drunk, sexist, and not funny. So I bagged out of there, and went to the bar.

Saturday morning was the mystery panel with me, Lilian Stewart Carl, Stephen Patrick, and Tracy Morris. We rocked. I do love mysteries and we talked about our favorites, what makes a good one, and why we like them.

I almost won the spelling bee. Went down on homunculus, dammit. I was one of the cohort who came in second and took home the Tasha Yar action figure. So here’s the difference between me, say, and a true blue fan. I was thinking, hey, I can take her out of the package and bring her to work where she can join my Qui Gon Jinn action figure, my horse figures, and my little guy from the Asterix comics. Then I remembered that my husband wouldn’t let me open the package. So she’s on the bookshelf in the living room, still in the packaging. Stay mint, Tasha. Stay mint.

The creating languages panel was full of smart! Funny! Wonderful! people! In the audience and on the panel. Robert Stikmanz, who has created a language, Jack McDevitt who at first wasn’t sure why he was on the panel but hey! His latest book, Echo, is out and it’s a perfect example of why. And Taylor Anderson, author of The Destroyermen series was also on the panel. I love those books. They are so much fun. And as he pointed out, language is also a function of physiology, and that segued into body language, and how understanding the unspoken language is as important as what is spoken.

I shared a reading time with A. Lee Martinez, which was hilarious, because Alex was cracking his own self up with the excerpt from his novel Monster, so he had all of us laughing. Then I read from GWIII and signed a few books and talked with fans, and heard someone say that the excerpt made them excited for the book, and you know what, that made my day.

Other readings were Stina Leicht from her new book Of Blood and Honey, Martha Wells from her new book The Cloud Roads, Paul Black from a kickass new novel that I think was untitled (the chapter title was Bitchslapped), and Michelle Muenzler from a dark dark fairy story.

Michelle Muenzler, reading from a dark fairy story.

Moonbase vs. Mars -- to infinity and beyond will require very smart people to get us there

I finished up with attending the Moonbase vs Mars Colony panel, and was reminded once again why I love science fiction. Smart people talking about exploring space in very intelligent, exciting and interesting ways. There are people dedicated to establishing humanity on other worlds. These are solvable problems. Hugely difficult, but solvable. The optimism and intellectual curiosity of space enthusiasts is unparalleled. There’s a lot of crap going on in the world. And the message is, science can lead us to great things, science and the spirit of exploration and adventure.

We gotta solve a few things first, but you know, start somewhere.

On Saturday night I fell in with a group of new friends and old, and before you knew it, we had melded into a comfortable group. It seemed as if we all knew one another for a long time. It was a wonderful experience, all too rare, to have that kind of connection with other people. So thanks everyone, from organizers to attendees to panelists, for a wonderful weekend.

Yes, even you, Talking during Movies dude. I’m over it already.


Audrey Lockwood · February 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Sounds like a good con. Wish I had the resources to get out to Texas more than once a year.

NicoleMD · February 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

Nice recap! Maybe I’ll try to make it next year. Enjoy your Tasha Yar. 🙂

Patrice Sarath · February 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

This is one of my favorite conventions. It’s a really good regional con with lots of energy and they have a knack for bringing in great guests. So if you can, definitely try to make it next year.

game writer guy · February 24, 2011 at 2:54 am

Simsub, ha! I had never heard that one before.

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