The Poetry of Science Fiction

SciFi Image

Otherworldly Lines

If you are not moved by Roy Batty’s final words at the end of “Blade Runner,” then you are the replicant—a poorly built one at that, lacking an emotions chip. Just in case you have forgotten those impassioned words, here they are:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Wow! The ‘wow’ was this author’s uncontrollable reaction, not part of the famous quote itself.

“No, I am your father.” Hearing these five words for the first time felt like getting hit in the face with a bag of bricks. If you are lost, exit the cave right now—you have been in there way too long. This is Darth Vader’s revelation to Luke Skywalker in “The Empire Strikes Back.” It may not seem like a big deal nowadays, but back in 1980, it was as mind-blowing as it could get. Note: Many people seem to think that the line was, “Luke, I am your father,” but it’s not. See for yourself.

Coming off an extremely disappointing, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979, expectations were low when “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” released three years later. It has been 32 years since, and with all the subsequent “Star Trek” movies, many fans believe that “Star Trek II” outshines them all. This brief interaction has a lot to do with it:

Spock: “The needs of the many outweigh…”

Kirk: “The needs of the few.”

Spock: “Or the one.”

Goose bumps anyone? Here are some things you may not know about our favorite sequel.

This was just a very short list of breathtaking lines. Weirdmedia has 100 out-of-this-world quotes for you to feast on.

Futuristic Subway

 

It’s What Got Us Here

Take a moment and think of all of the wonderful innovations used regularly. We have Netflix streaming, BetFair gaming, satellite radio, and GPS gadgets, just to name a few. These and many more life-changing inventions are here because of dreamers, constantly trying to reach for the stars.

What inspired these brilliant minds and did Science Fiction play a role? Were they fans of “Star Trek” or H. G. Wells? Asking these questions is not just important—it is our responsibility as well. The answers could provide us with a blueprint for ingenuity and set our children on similar paths. It could make the world a better place for generations to come. Check out the top ten most influential Science Fiction writers, provided by Listverse. I’m surprised that Gene Roddenberry was not on the list.

The Science Fiction genre offers a universe of poetry that sparks the imagination and enriches the soul. The importance of such beauty cannot be overstated. The inspiration it releases into the atmosphere on a daily basis allows us all to dream. And dreaming is the seed of discovery and creation.

 

This is a guest post by Michael Page. Michael is an avid sci-fi fan and film enthusiast. When not blogging about all things science fiction, he enjoys binging on the latest video games and eating chinese food.

Intro to Magic: The Gathering Part 1, the concepts

As I’ve gotten back into playing Magic:The Gathering, it’s given me a way back to blogging, but I realize that not everyone who reads my blog plays Magic. Or has any idea about how to play Magic. And when my friend T was trying to learn the game, she wanted to know what book she could buy that would teach her how to play, and how to build decks, and all that jazz. That’s when I realized that there really isn’t a good beginner’s guide to Magic right now. So I figured I’d write one.

You know, along with all my other projects.

But I also thought that if I did it as a series of blog posts first, that would allow me to kill multiple birds with one stone. I get to write the Magic book I want to see available. I get my blog back on track and it becomes a place for people to find out more about me and my writing. And I get to do it in small enough snippets to fit it in between the other projects I’m working on.

So here’s the beginning. This is Part 1, the general concepts.

You are a Planeswalker. This is the intro to Magic:The Gathering. Four little words, that started a bajillion-dollar business. You are a Planeswalker. Right there in that sentence is a lot of information, and a lot of mystery. It tells you that you’re going to go somewhere outside yourself, you’re going to have an element of roleplaying in the game, and that there will be something new and exciting involved. Planeswalker – what the hell is that, anyway? Well, we’ll get there.

At its heart, Magic (or MTG) is a collectible card game. Two or more players (but for the purposes of most examples here, two) take on the role of wizards trying to destroy their opponents. Both players start with a predetermined life total, and they can win the game either by reducing their opponent’s life total to zero or by forcing them draw a card when they are out of cards to draw. That’s most of it. There are a few alternate win conditions that are dependent on cards, but those are the most common paths to victory.

As with life, there are plenty of examples in MTG that contradict the basic rules. There are advanced cards that literally change the win conditions of the game, but they are few and far between. What I’m going to try to do is present the normal circumstances of the game, and you keep hold of the basic understanding that if there’s a card on the table that says that the normal rules are suspended for a time, that card applies. For example, some cards say that if you have X amount of life (where X is typically greater than your starting life total) you win. If that card is in play, you have a third path to victory. But those are outliers and we won’t spend too much time on them.

So you have a deck of cards, and you have a friend with a deck. Those two things are all you really need to play Magic. Cards and a friend. And frankly, if you’re short on one and have plenty of the other, there are local game stores to help you acquire whichever one you’re lacking.

So sit down with your friend and your deck, and you’re ready to play. You each start with 20 life. Your job is to bash your opponent to zero while not allowing your opponent to bash you to zero. You do this by casting spells. And you cast spells by using something called mana.

Mana is the energy of the world around you. The elemental forces, if you will. There are five different colors of mana, each representative of a different style of magic. Over time, you’ll determine what type of magic best suits your personality and play style, and you will naturally gravitate toward those types of decks. Each color has a personality, and types of creatures that go along with it.

The five colors of mana are Black, Blue, Green, Red, and White.

Black is the color of death, disease and things that go bump in the night. Creatures like zombies, vampires, ghouls, ghosts and demons are typically black. Black spells frequently use your life total as a resource. You may spend life to draw cards, summon creatures, deal damage, etc.  Black has a lot of spells that take life from your opponent and give it to you. Black also has spells of disruption, that take cards out of an opponent’s hand or destroy the creatures that they have out on the table. I play a lot of black decks, because I write horror novels. What do you expect me to play, decks full of sunshine and unicorns?

Blue is the color of rational thought and control. Blue is also the color of the sea and sky , so lots of fish, merfolk, birds and flying creatures. Blue has long been considered one of the most powerful colors in MTG, partly because it features lots of spells that let players draw extra cards. Having more cards than your opponents is a huge advantage in game play, so it’s never something that should be overlooked. Blue is also very disruptive, because it has counter-magic. Basically spells that just say “NO” to anything your opponent wants to do. I like to play blue because I like to be in control, but it’s sometimes considered an “un-fun” color.

We’ll get to the other three colors next time, because I want to keep these under 1,000 words and I babbled too much in the beginning. Anyway, I’ll try to do at least one of these Magic intro posts each week, and maybe by the end of the year I’ll have the guide written. If anybody has any hookups at WOTC, I need to know who can give me permission to use their trademarks like mana symbols in illustrations.

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What are you working on?

It’s been a little quiet lately on the release front, since Paint it Black dropped in October, so I thought I’d give you a little idea of what’s going on at the keyboard around here. Just to remind folks that I do a little more than play Magic and go to my day job.

1) The dragon book is percolating. I’ll dust it off in a couple months and see what I think of it. I already know it’s choppy and the ending is rushed, so there’s probably a good 10,000 words to be added in to make the resolution make sense and not make people feel like I just threw them off a cliff. I’ll pick that up after I finish this next little gem.

2) I’m working on Black Knight 5 - In the Still of the Knight. This is the first of a major two-part arc that the whole series has been building up to. I’m doing lots of nasty things to the boys and everyone around them, so I fully expect some hate mail. But I think it’s going to be a helluva story, so that should outweigh the pain in the end. I really need to write 5 & 6 together, because there is a little bit of a cliffhanger between them. Not sure how that’s going to work out, because I’ve never written that way before. That’s why I have a brilliant editor – to get me through the crap I don’t know how to do. I hope to be finished with book 5 by the end of winter and book 6 sometime later in the year. Book 6 will not release in 2014, no matter when I finish it.

3) I’m also working on a traditional fantasy thing based off an old D&D character I used to play. He was the world’s most impulsive thief, and his favorite phrase was “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then he found out. It feels like a trilogy, but I gotta write the first one first. So far I like the characters, just gotta figure out the plot and build the world. I’m starting to understand why traditional fantasy novels are so friggin’ long – you gotta explain a lot more shit than when you’re writing in the same world your readers live in. World-building is hard, y’all.

4) I haven’t forgotten Bubba, but it’ll probably be March before a new Bubba story hits the street, thanks to my other commitments. But in the meantime, there’ll be another Steampunk story featuring Bubba’s great-grandpappy Beauregard out in a couple weeks. It’s in the anthology Capes & Clockwork, coming soon from Dark Oak.

5) And speaking of Dark Oak, the submission period for Big Bad 2 – an Eviller Anthology (not the real title) is almost over, and I’ve started picking through some of the subs. There are  very few open slots this time, so the competition is going to be fierce. But we’ve also received submissions from some invited writers that are just absolutely goddam amazing, so I think this anthology will be killer. Assuming I ever get around to writing my story for it, that is!

6) And then there are incorporation documents and paperwork for getting the Second Star Foundation started. Every time I turn around it feels like another friend of mine is diagnosed with another life-threatening illness that keeps them unable to work and earn, so creating the safety net of a charity designed for writers that are struck down by disease is a huge priority for me. I’ll give you more details as they arise, but you can read all about the beginnings of it over at Magical Words.

And I play Magic a couple times a week and I have a full-time job. Not to mention the fact that I still pick up theatre gigs for extra cash. So that’s what’s going on in my world. What of those projects, if any, excites you the most?

Drafting Theros – Successes and Failures

So I think of myself a something of a Limited specialist. At my local game shop (Get Some Game) we draft every Friday night, and there are a fair number of really solid players there. I’m not the best in the store, but I’m usually in the top 5-6. But Theros drafting has completely dumbfounded me. I have had only limited success in the format since the set came out (get it, limited success in Limited? See what I did there? It’s gonna get worse, I promise), winning very few of the drafts that I’ve played and rarely coming in Top 4 in our weekly drafts.

So there are few things that I wanted to talk about as my failures have continued to pile up, all of these being things that have kicked my ass over the months that we’ve been drafting this set.

1) Green/Red Monsters is pretty good, and often pretty open. I actually went against type last weekend and won a three-round draft going with Green/Red Monsters. I started out trying to be Blue/Red, but moved into Green after a Nemesis of Mortals wheeled. That means it went all the way around the table and made it back to me. When a really strong card like Nemesis of Mortals does this it typically means that no one is playing that color, so you can take anything you want in that color with impunity. From there I started picking up Satyrs. Not the piping one, I think Satyr Piper sucks ass, but all the others. Voyaging Satyr is an incredible two-drop in Green, giving a body and ramp. Satyr Hedonist has an awesome sac effect that lets you drop a monster really fast, and Satyr Rambler is just solid, a 2/1 body with trample for two mana. Slap a Dragon Mantle on him and you’re golden. So I rode the back of my Nessian Asps and my Nemesisesisesis to victory. And a Mistcutter Hydra, which is just really bad news for your opponent who is playing almost mono-blue.

2) Green heroic guys are trap cards. I have been such a sucker for Staunch-Hearted Warriors that I must have lost half a dozen matches because of them. The initial cost is too high, and they fall prey to Voyage’s End or Griptide just as easily as a more reasonably costed card. And don’t get me started on the Battlemaster. So Green heroic guys are to be avoided.

3) Minotaurs are fun. There are a fair number of minotaurs in the set, more than enough to draft a tribal minotaur deck, and the Kragma Warcaller often gets passed around the table, so he can be a fairly late pick. Grab all of those guys you can and just curve out perfectly from Deathbellow Raider to Minotaur Skullcleaver to Borderland Minotaur to Kragma Warcaller and smash face. Supplement with Harpies for flyer defense and it’s a thing.

4) Flyers are tough. Blue/White flyers is totally a thing, and when you add in that white has the best heroic guys, and blue has the best bestow creature, you can make an unstoppable air force pretty easily. Wingsteed Rider, Phalanx Leader, Nimbus Nyad, Fabled Hero, Akroan Hoplite, Battlewise Hoplite, Triton Fortune Hunter are all valid cards, and then at the top of the curve you have all the sphinxes for beatdown. Definitely a solid strategy, but a popular one, so you’re gonna have to fight for your cards and get a little lucky to get enough stuff to make it work. But one Phalanx Leader and a couple of Chosen of Heliod makes for a decent little army.

5) Pay attention to what’s open. I have such a problem with this, because I’ll try to lock in a strategy based on one rare, and I do better when I pay attention to the signals and just take what the table gives me. I have to pay more attention to taking early removal and bombs, then worrying about solidifying a strategy in packs 2-3.

So there are a few tips based off my mistakes in Theros drafting. If you’ve got anything to share, leave it in the comments!

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Stepping Up

So folks who sometimes stop by this little corner of the interwebs may have seen that over the past year and change I’ve gone back to an old pasttime – Magic:The Gathering (or Magic:The Addiction). I started playing again at LibertyCon because Brandon Sanderson invited me to a draft with him, and I had a blast, remembering how much I enjoyed the game all those years ago. That was the first step. Then I found a local game shop that I really like, and it was all downhill from there. I’ve spent a piece of almost every week since slinging cards, trading cards, and generally nerding out over chunks of cardboard.

For those that have never played, Magic is kinda like a blend of poker, chess and Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a collectible strategic card game set in a fantasy environment with awesome art and lots of smart marketing. And I’m totally hooked. I’ve primarily focused on my Limited play since coming back to the game (Limited is when you take a set of new packs of cards, open them and build a deck from what you find there). I enjoy Limited because the playing field is pretty level, and I can fall back on my game theory and understanding to lead me to some modicum of success. I’m a decent Limited player, but most of the major tournaments are Constructed format (Constructed is when you build a competitive deck from all the cards you own or can borrow and bring that to the tournament), so I decided about a month ago that it was time to step up my Constructed game.

In Magic there are two main ways to build a deck – homebrew something that you think will be awesome, or go on the internet and get the deck list from last week’s major tournament winner. After a year and change of homebrewing without real success, I moved on to Plan B and built a Mono-Black (with a splash of white) deck. I splashed white for Blood Baron of Vizkopa, because it has protection from white and black, which makes it very difficult for many decks to deal with. Once it resolves, it’s going to give a lot of people a lot of problems.

Last weekend was a Star City Games Super Invitational Qualifier tournament at Be There Games in Indian Trail. It’s not far from my house, and I’d heard good things about their events, and a bunch of my friends were going, so I decided to give it a shot. I got there and started to register my deck (bigger tournaments have you list the cards in your deck and then do random deck checks to fight cheating) and took a little advice from my friend Joe. Joe has had a lot of tournament success recently, winning two major events this year, so I listen to his advice. I was running one Prophetic Prism so that when I stole a card with my Nightveil Specter I could cast it no matter what. Joe suggested I cut that, because I’ll often pull land with the Specter and be able to cast the card anyway. That allowed me to add one more Blood Baron, upping the threat level of the deck considerably.

Unfortunately I had no answer for the other glaring error Joe pointed out in my deck. When I was tweaking things I cut back on my white mana sources from eight to four. I cut the Godless Shrines and kept the Temples of Silence, which meant that there could be times I was going to have mana troubles. I took a live and learn attitude to this mistake and hoped it wouldn’t screw me too badly. It didn’t crush me, but definitely ended up being relevant.

Round 1 – I played against a very nice guy from Atlanta (which set my tone for the whole day – all my opponents were very cool, which made the day way better) who was playing a Mono-red aggro deck. This deck feels on the surface like a terrible matchup for me, and in fact I had play-tested with Taco in a small tournament the week before and got my ass kicked by his mono-red deck. My Round 1 opponent had a couple of rough draws, but was still able to get some early threats on board, but I managed to push through his pile of early attackers and bad draws and beat him down 2-0 (Magic tournament matches are best of three).

Round 2 – Another nice dude, one of the other oldest guys in the room (he even had a few years on me). His name was Stephen, and he was playing a white weenie deck (lots of small creatures that kill with a swarming strategy). He couldn’t get anything going and once I resolved a Blood Baron (which has protection from white so he had no answers for it) it was pretty much game over. Game 2 I think I killed him with a swarm of Pack Rats. 2-0 and I was feeling pretty good about my deck and myself.

Then I got to Round 3, and found out what a problem my deck could be when I played a mirror match (a mirror match is what happens when two players piloting the same deck get matched up against each other). And my opponent had a lot more tournament experience than me, and more experience with the deck, and had better draws to boot. So a better player with more experience and better draws beat me in less than fifteen minutes out of the fifty-minute round. I was still in the running at 2-1, but couldn’t afford to lose another match.

Round 4 I clashed with Chris, another nice dude from Augusta. I don’t remember what his deck was, but I remember they were very good matches. Beating him was far from easy, with back-and-forth matches and the first time all day I went to Game 3. We were 1-1 going into Game 3 and it was going to come down to who got their deck going first. I got the advantage and took down the match, but don’t remember any of the details of the match.

Round 5 should have been better than it was, but I got stuck in the mirror match again, against a better player again, with more experience again, and got my ass kicked again.

Since I was eliminated from contention for Top 8 and major prizes (major for Magic, but first place was $400, which is a good day no matter how you look at it) I went ahead and dropped out of the tournament and entered a booster draft. Back in my Limited comfort zone I went 3-0 to win the booster draft and redeem myself a little for the day.

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Poverty

There’s a lot going on right now about poverty, and welfare, and Obamacare, and insurance, and all sorts of other “are”s, and some of the current discourse makes me want to puke.

For example, there’s a post out there about how people on welfare shouldn’t have a cell phone or an iPad, and that’s an incontrovertible fact. Well, lemme lay this out there for you – there are no incontrovertible facts about poverty, and until you’ve lived in somebody’s house, you should probably keep your damn mouth shut about them. If you live in your car, you might be better off paying a cell phone bill than a rent bill to actually get a job. And if you’ve recently gone from not-broke to broke as hell, you might still have a few nice things left over that were worth more to you either functionally or sentimentally than they were to pawn or sell on Craigslist.

Look, I get it. We’re all raised to believe that you work hard and good things happen, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you make one bad decision and it screws you financially for years, or maybe even generations. Sometimes you’re just unlucky, or you didn’t do well in school, or something outside your control screwed you, and you need a hand getting back on your feet. I’ve certainly had my fair share of times over the years when I’ve had it rough and had to beg and borrow to make ends meet, and without help of friends and family I wouldn’t have made it through.

So if you’ve got enough to get by, good on you. If you can reach down and help someone out, please do so. You never know who you’re helping get out of a tight spot. And someday it might be you.

And if you want to be judgmental and not share any drop of the milk of human kindness, then go fuck yourself.

Big Bad 2 – Deadline Extended!

We’ve gotten some great submissions for The Big Bad 2, but I want more! To that end, we have extended the submission deadline until January 1, 2014. So if you didn’t have time to put something together before now, well, now you do! After all, you didn’t want to do NaNoWriMo or spend holiday time with your family, did you?

Hell no! Get to work, penmonkey!

Owwwww

So here’s my post for the week – OW MY FUCKING FOOT HURTS.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Nah, I’ll do better, but my fucking foot does hurt. But since I usually don’t type with my feet, it’s pretty much irrelevant to my work here, isn’t it? Yep, so you get a blog post. A boring one, but a blog post nonetheless.

I haven’t written shit this week, but I got 3-4K words done on a new Bubba story and a new YA novels about dragons that I’ve been working on most of the year. Did all that last weekend, then Sunday I jumped into theatre mode hot n’ heavy. I’m directing a Southern farce called Dearly Departed in Rock Hill, SC this fall, and auditions were this week, Sunday – Tuesday. Lots of great women showed up for the six female roles, but we’re short a few actors for the four male roles.

Like three.

So we’re working on that. Hopefully we can scrape up some guys and move forward. I gave us an extra week between auditions and the beginning of rehearsals because I remembered this being an issue the last time I directed for this company.

But at some point I also hurt my foot. I don’t know what I did to cause it, but I have an acute case of achilles tendinitis, which hurts like a bitch. Actually, I think I do know what I did – I drove wrong. I took my dad to the VA hospital on Monday to have a stitch removed from his eyeball (yeah, I said that) after his very successful cataract surgery, and I took Suzy’s car. Now a Nissan Versa is a fine automobile, and I enjoy her car quite a bit usually.

But driving it for six hours apparently causes me to hold me foot and legs in a funny position which seems to have tweaked my Achilles. A lot. It’s better today than it was yesterday, and hopefully through the good graces of Advil and ice, it’ll be almost back to normal tomorrow, but for now – FUCK.

Let’s face it kids, this is a whole lot of sexy to try and carry around on one foot.

So tonight I watched Lost Girl with my foot up and basically dicked around, so I’ll work on some word count tomorrow. In the meantime, you want a taste of the dragon thing I’ve been working on? Here’s a little nibble -

 

 

 

The ride to school gave Rachel a chance to clear her head and cool down a little after the argument with her dad. She knew he meant well, but the methods the mining company used were just so destructive. It seemed like no matter how much they fought, she couldn’t get him to see what she saw so clearly – that there’s no way blowing the tops off mountains could possibly be good for the environment. But it was definitely good for the CEO’s pockets, and the shareholders’ portfolios, and that’s all anybody cared about anymore. Some days Rachel wished she lived in a bigger city instead of the bucolic mountain town, then she could pitch a tent on the city hall lawn and protest. She could pitch a tent here, of course, but people would just think she was camping.

Rachel was still a little lost in thought as she turned into the school parking lot, so she didn’t see the taillights of the Mercedes until it was almost too late. The little coupe stopped on a dime, and Rachel had nowhere to go but to swerve hard left into oncoming traffic if she didn’t want to completely taco her front wheel on Jessica Baker’s back bumper. She knew whose car it was, of course. Not many Mercedes convertibles in the student parking lot, so everybody knew who it belonged to. But all Rachel thought about when she saw the red lights fill her vision was whether or not she could avoid putting her head through the back window of the ragtop. She swerved hard to the left, right into the path of an oncoming pickup.

Brakes squealed, Rachel pedaled hard to clear the front of the truck before it hit her, and she almost made it. The truck’s front bumper just clipped her rear wheel, but it was enough to send Rachel flying sideways off the bike to land on the asphalt. Her head smacked the pavement, hard, and her bike helmet exploded into shards of plastic and styrofoam. Her backpack dug painfully into her back and she felt a sharp burning in her left knee that told her one more pair of jeans was probably done for.

Rachel lay in the parking lot for a few seconds trying to collect herself before she managed to sit up. Just then, the driver of the truck got his vehicle turned off and made it to her side.

“Don’t sit up, you might be really hurt.” Rachel’s heart fell into her stomach at the sound of a familiar voice. Of course it’s Scott Morrison’s truck that I swerve in front of. Because the universe really does hate me. Please tell me it’s the thirteenth. I know it’s Friday, but it’s totally NOT my lucky day. Rachel sagged back to the pavement, wishing she could sink through it into the ground. When the ground steadfastly refused to open up and swallow her, she struggled up to her knees and tried to stand. Her left leg buckled under her, though, and Scott hurried forward to catch her before she fell.

“Hey! You really shouldn’t be standing.” She looked up at his brown eyes full of concern, and her knees went weak all over again. Scott helped her back to a sitting position on the ground and started to look her over for injuries.

“Are you all right?” He asked. “You seem a little …I don’t know. Did you hit your head?”

“No, I’m fine.” Rachel replied. “My helmet did its job. I think I’ve just got a little road rash on one knee. Just help me up and I’ll be fine.” As long as I don’t smell your cologne or look in those eyes again.

“Are you sure? Holy shit! You’re bleeding!” He pointed at her left knee, and sure enough, the fabric was shredded and soaked with blood.

“It’s not a big deal.” She said, trying to wave off the crowd that was gathering. “Just a little scratch. Don’t worry about it. It was totally my fault.” She saw Scott look at her out of the corner of one eye and held up her hands. “No, really! Look, you didn’t even bend the wheel of my bike. Much. Shit.” When she looked closer she could see that the wheel was just enough out of true that she wouldn’t be able to ride it until she got it fixed.

“Look, I’ll take care of the bike. I promise.” Scott said. “And I’ll give you a ride home today. You’re Ben Hampton’s daughter, right? Your dad works with my dad. I think I know where you live. I’ll take you home after school, then give you a ride to the bike shop and pay for the wheel. Okay?” It was more than okay with Rachel, who was getting a fluttery feeling in her stomach at the thought of that much time with Scott Morrison. Maybe today won’t be a total suck-fest after all.

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DragonCon, again

Today I’m over at Magical Words talking a little more about DragonCon and a little more about the concept of “true fans.” And no, this has nothing to do with cosplay and whether girls who like to dress up are real geek girls or not. I’m not in a position to judge anyone’s geek street cred, and anyone who wants to dress up as anything they like can feel free.

Except maybe furries. Furries kinda creep me out. But that’s just me.

Anyway, go to Magical Words. No furries.

DragonCon Trip Report, Part 1

I dunno how many of these parts I’ll actually get done, but hell, it’s still better than I’ve done posting here in months, so let’s accept the baby steps, okay?

We got down to Atlanta about 6PM on Thursday, since I’d told the wife that I wanted to be rolling out of Charlotte around 10 or 11AM.

Yep, I know it only takes 4 hours to get from Charlotte to Atlanta.

Nope, we didn’t get rolling by 11AM.

No, it didn’t matter in the end.

Because loading into the AmericasMart was a clusterfuck! Of colossal proportions. I dunno what type of trade shows that place typically hosts, but it was not in any way prepared for the number of vendors that were trying to get into the doors for DragonCon. We parked on the street, offloaded onto the sidewalk, and walked our stuff in once they told us that the wait for a spot at the loading dock was 5 hours.

At 6PM.

You do the math. Once we got to the booth, everything went fairly smoothly. Our location was good, except for the huge column blocking a couple of feet of our booth from the aisle, but it was still a good location. And I sold an amazing number of books (although not as many as David B. Coe) over the weekend.

I also did a bunch of panels, including a Men of Urban Fantasy panel with David, Kevin J. Anderson, Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, James Tuck and S.M.Stirling. That one was awesome, and  I was seated between Maberry and Butcher, so I got to thank Jim Butcher for all his influence and inspiration. Later on I fanboyed out and gave him a copy of the Black Knight Omnibus. Probably unprofessional, but fuggit. I also got a chance to sit on a Pulp panel with Tuck, Bobby Nash, John Ringo, Van Allen Plexico and D. Alan Lewis.

Those experiences solidified for me that being on panels at cons is pretty damn instrumental in selling books. David and I both had people coming into the booth all weekend saying that they saw us on that panel and wanted to pick up our books because of it. It makes me even more convinced that just attending cons and sitting behind a table is kinda pointless, it’s getting in front of people that makes them want to read your work. And that’s what we’re all working towards- getting people to read our work!

Next up for me – Atomacon, a first-year convention in Charleston, SC. This one isn’t until November, so hopefully I’ll have enough time to get some work done on a few other projects, including a new Bubba story and finishing up this dragon story I’ve been cooking on.