Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dances with Armadillos

ArmadilloCon XXX is this weekend!

Be there and be square!

Er, wait, I'm not sure that came out right...

Lots of fun for gamers and sci-fi and fantasy fans alike. In addition to the gaming room being run by Angela and Brian Price, Ninja Pirate will be in the dealer's room.

Of course, the big draw of ArmadilloCon is the programming. (Yeah, right, can you tell I arranged the programming a few years ago? But really, the programming rocks.) And while the focus of the con is primarily on writing, here are a few panels that gamers might find of particular interest:

Electronically Published Fiction
Fri 5:00 PM-6:00 PM deWitt
Burton*, Henderson, Huff, Marin, McKinney, Trimm
An examination of new publishing avenues opened by technology, and the best places to publish and read it.
New Space Opera
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Phoenix North
Duggins, Fletcher, Mills, N. J. Moore, Picacio*, Reasoner, Scalzi
The subgenre established by Doc Smith, Edmond Hamilton, and Jack Williamson has persisted and evolved to a new tradition upheld by Iain M. Banks, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, John Scalzi, and others. Our panelists will discuss this evolution, where they think Space Opera is now, and where it's going.
Neglected Gems of Genre Fiction
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM deWitt
Blaschke*, Brust, Graham, Hobson, Nakashima-Brown, Sheridan
Which works of speculative fiction are the most criminally-neglected?
In the Beginning
Sat 11:00 AM-Noon deWitt
Latner*, Scalzi, W. Spector, M. Wells
Our panelists look at worldbuilding for writers, artists, and game designers.
Orbital Mechanics
Sat Noon-1:00 PM deWitt
Gibbons*, Jackson, Ledbetter, Mahoney
Learn from NASA scientists, but no equations, just plenty of hula hoops. We'll discuss the basics of terminology and process GETting‡ from here to there, general sense of scales and distances, rules of thumb, and some of the most common / worst misrepresentations of spaceflight basics in SF. Just because it’s rocket science doesn’t mean it ain’t fun! (‡ i.e., juggling Geometry, Energy, Time)
What You Should Have Read
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM deWitt
Dimond*, Hevelin, Klaw, Marin, W. Siros, S. Williams
Our distinguished panel of writers, editors, and book-sellers discuss their take on the most important, influential, and enjoyable books and stories of the year.
JPL Mars Mission
Sat 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Phoenix North
Slide show on the history and results of the lander currently investigating the Martian arctic.
Forever Wars
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Phoenix North
Duggins, J. Haldeman, Person, Rosen*, Scalzi, Swann
Our panelists discuss military sf inspired inspired by or written in response to Robert A. Heinlein's classic Starship Troopers. They'll compare and contrast portrayals of war from WWII through today.
Blogging and Social Networking
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM deZavala
Crider, Frost, Hale, Harper, Kofmel*
Blogs are becoming an essential tool for fans and pros to keep in touch with their friends and followers around the world. Our panelists will discuss some basics, some do's and don'ts, differences between the various blog communities, and provide funny anecdotes of the blogosphere.
Creating Characters that Live
Sat 7:00 PM-8:00 PM deZavala
Brust*, J. U. Hall, Kitanidis, Prater, Ward, M. Williams
Our panel of authors discusses the craft of writing, and the key elements of character development and matching point of view to story.
Lovecraft and His Legacy
Sat 10:00 PM-11:00 PM deWitt
Leicht, Prater*, Reasoner, Richerson, Rountree, Spencer, Wade
How accessible is the ground-breaking horror writer to a modern reader? How has he influenced our panelists' work, and why are so many homages appearing lately?
Religious Themes in SF
Sun 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Phoenix North
Broderick, Dimond*, Eudaly, Latner, Webb
How does religion inform our panelists’ writing? And how do they feel religion has been treated in science fiction?
Alternate History
Sun 11:00 AM-Noon Phoenix North
Huff, J. Lansdale, Mills, Rogers, Utley, S. Williams*
Rome never falls, Dewey defeats Truman, New England Patriots defeat the Giants in the Superbowl. A discussion of writing alternate history and how to show how changes in the past can affect the present.
Getting the Biology Right in SF
Sun Noon-1:00 PM Phoenix North
Fletcher, Frost*, J. Moore, Persons, Roberts
Could there be three sexes? What would aliens from a methane planet look like? What would the effects of a few hundred years on low gravity or high gravity be? Our panelists will answer these questions and many more to tell you how to get the biology right in science fiction.
Speculative Fiction in Computer Games
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM deZavala
Duggins, Huey, McDermott, Salvaggio, W. Spector*, Tyler
Science Fiction and Fantasy are in computer gaming - from Bioshock to Final Fantasy to Warcraft to Fallout. Why is there so much talk about the science fiction and fantasy element in movies, when computer gaming has so many genre elements in most of its top games?
And that's just the stuff I think will be most useful to gamers. I haven't mentioned "Swashbuckling in Fantasy" with Stephen Brust and Martha Wells on the panel, or the panel on metafiction in comics, or Sheila Williams telling you exactly what she's looking for when she buys a story for Asimov's, or the art show, or the charity auction...

And if you're a military sci-fi fan, this is the convention for you. John "Old Man's War" Scalzi and Joe "The Forever War" Haldeman will both be there this weekend. The only way it could get better is if Heinlein's ghost shows up.

UPDATE: This article in the Austin Chronicle better defines what makes ArmadilloCon unique.


Anonymous said...

From their Web site it didn't look like there was much gaming - is there or is it really just a lit con?

trollsmyth said...

It's a lit con with a bit of gaming. Don't go to play D&D or anything like that. There will be board and card gaming in the game room, and in the past we've seen demos of wargaming, but I doubt there's any RPGing actually going to happen. There will be some folks there from the local computer gaming scene, and some of the panels directly discuss computer games from the professional side of things, but again, the focus is on writing.

As a gamer, I go for inspiration and to pick up a few tricks for the creative process. But I mostly go as a writer and lit fan.

- Brian

Brian Murphy said...

Are you going? That sounds awesome, right up my alley. If you do go, you should do a report on Trollsmyth.

trollsmyth said...

Planning on it, but it's still up in the air if I'll go. But I'll be pretty pissed if I have to miss it.

If I go, I'll give y'all a report.

- Brian