Hi hi hi! Promised you I’d be back! In case you’ve missed my last couple of updates, the reason I’ve been absent since October is because I’ve been ill. Not the flu; serious, in and out of hospital, bed-fast, specialists and surgical procedures and “is my will in order?” ill. For the record, being ill sucks, and we’re still not finished. I have another procedure next week (we’re still trying to diagnose the problem), and who knows what happens after that? But I couldn’t bear the thought of another month of idleness; new meds mean I’m starting to feel froggy again and ready to do something besides lie in bed and feel crappy.
So here I am, once again sending dispatches from the darkest jungles of Appalachia. And what’s happening here? Well, now we’re in the throes of winter, mostly we’re doing a lot of reading, and lots and lots of planning for later in the year. Conventions. My year seems to be just filled with cons. This is a good thing.
You can blame my kids; they got the whole mess started. My two daughters are planning to go to ComicCon Louisville this fall. If you don’t know what ComicCon is, well, you’ve probably been living under an anti-nerd rock all your life. It’s a hugely popular series of cons (there are more than one) celebrating all things pop culture and the best of geek-dom. That definitely includes we denizens of Steampunk, Dieselpunk and New Pulp. The biggest of these cons are in San Diego (the largest fan con in the world!) and New York (naturally). But there sub-cons over, in Asia, in Europe and the UK, and in dozens of towns, big and small, in the U.S. and Canada.
2015 Louisville ComicCon is November 6,7, and 8 (that’s a Friday, Saturday and Sunday), and the cost for all three days is just shy of $80 (it’s cheaper for only a day visit, but obviously, only if you’re close enough to not need hotel accommodations). What I like is that Bruce Campbell — yes, Ash himself!– will be at the con this year. Not precisely Steampunk, but that’s okay, for Ash I’ll make an exception.
Next up: My girls are going to ComicCon. My sons are going to Origins. It’s also not precisely Steampunk, Dieselpunk or New Pulp, but incorporating all of those and more under a wider umbrella. Origins is one of the largest gaming conventions in the world. It’s held every year in Columbus, OH. This year it’s the first weekend in June; last year had something like 17000 attendees (including my brother-in-law, my elder son, one of my nieces and a generous handful of my friends).
Now back in the day, I was a hardcore RPGer. My sister and I used to co-GM, we wrote our own massive campaigns for AD&D (back before Wizards of the Coast f***ed it up), World of Darkness, you name it. Heck, one of my very first regular writing gigs was as a contributing editor for a small press gaming magazine. My job on that gig was to try out new games, play test them a bit, and then review them. The game I fell in love with (and was pretty much my introduction to the concepts of Steampunk) was Cthulhu by Gaslight (this was the early 1990’s, don’t judge me!). I don’t game as much now (the changes wrought on D&D ruined a lot of it for me, plus just getting busy with other parts of my life), but I can still recall how much fun it was. And Origins is a con where you can let your Punk flag fly and find some fun games.
So that takes care of my kids and what they’re conning this year. What about me? Well, I have two cons I’m looking at. The first is PulpFest, and its focus should be obvious from the name. It’s August 13-16 at the Convention Center in Columbus OH (the same site as Origins, coincidentally). I actually don’t know much about this con; I only heard about it a few weeks ago, and I only know what I can glean from the Internet. But I like what I see so far: a serious focus on classic pulp as well as new, more emphasis on discussion and art, with less on cosplay and partying (cosplay and partying have their place, don’t get me wrong, but for the amount of money and effort I have to spend to get to one of these cons, I want a little more than just a geek orgy). If I get to go to this one, I’ll be sure and do a full write up, report back from the trenches.
BTW: if any of you have been to a Pulp Fest (or any of the cons discussed here), DO DO DO contact me (my email addy is on my About page) and let us know about it.
Last on my list is Vandalia-Con, a very small, intimate little Steampunk con. This one is close to my heart in several ways. First, it’s closest to home, in Charleston WV. Second, I am old friends with two of the founders ( I have asked one of them to guest on my blog; we’re still working out details on that). Third, and most important, Vandalia is subtitled, “Saving the Mothers of Invention” because the proceeds of the con go to support breast and cervical cancer research. My sister had breast cancer, I have two more sisters besides her, plus two daughters and one granddaughter, so, yeah, I’m totally invested in protecting women’s health. This one looks like it will be fun. Lots of cosplay, yeah. But small and intimate has charms that other, larger events sometimes lack.
Okay, I think that’s it for me today. If anybody has a con they want to promote, do contact me via my email addy. I don’t know when I’m going to get back to the fiction installments here; let me get my sea legs back, metaphorically speaking. IN the meantime, you can contact me through Facebook, Twitter, email, all of which you can find on the About page tabbed at the top. Comment, tweet, share, let me know what’s going on. And if you have an idea for Fun Friday, send it along! I’ll be back Wednesday!