Report on Armadillocon 39

(i. to r.) Bill Crider, Joe Lansdale, Scott Cupp, William Browning Spencer on Telling Tall Tales

I’m somewhat tardy in getting this written, but I’ve been focusing on fiction writing this week.  Last weekend I attended Armadillocon 39.  It was something of a last minute decision. I had a choice, either go to Armadillocon or go to prison (cuz I was gonna go postal and kill somebody). As I have no aspirations to end up as some lifer’s wife, I chose the former rather than the latter.

The headliners (with one exception) weren’t a draw for me this year, although I did have a brief conversation with the GoH, Nisi Shawl. I found her to be a very nice lady, and I enjoyed my interaction with her. Otherwise I hung around with friends and went to some panels on writing.

One of the first panels I went to was on Writing Golden Age Fiction Today. I knew three of the four panelists personally. Two weren’t there, and because I had their numbers in my phone, I tried to call them without success. This got me an invitation to join the panel. Thanks again, guys. This was my first time to be a panelist at any convention, and I had a blast. (I realize not all panels go as well as this one did.) One of the missing panelists did show up; he had been slowed down in traffic. The other wasn’t able to attend.

John Gibbons (r.) interviews Editor GoH Trevor Quachri.

Some of the other panels I attended were the one on Telling Tall Tales (see photo above). Trevor Quachri, the editor of Analog, was the Editor Guest of Honor. He was the exception on the headliners. I have wanted to sell a story to Analog since I was a teenager. Most of what I write these days isn’t science fiction, and most of the science fiction I write isn’t the sort Analog publishes. I’ve got some things that are unfinished that should (I hope) be a good fit.

Trevor was one of the warmest and friendliest editors I’ve met. I was impressed that the remembered my name later after he met me. (I hope he remembers it when I submit something in the next week or two.)

Another editor, whom I met last year, was David Afsharirad, editor of The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF. I got to visit with him several times, and look forward to doing so again in the future. David is also a talented writer. He gave a quiz with prizes at the end of his reading. In spite of the fact that I don’t take quizzes, I give them, I won a Hot Wheels car.

Much of the rest of the time, I went to a few readings, sat in on some panels (audience, not panelist), hung out with friends, and managed not to spend very much in the dealer’s room. Yeah, I know, it was a miracle. I only ate breakfast in the hotel and went out with friends for dinner.

Mark Finn (l.) and David Hardy discuss cartography in books

One of the most fun and entertaining panels was the one on cartography in books.  Mark Finn and Dave Hardy were the only two who were able to make it. They clearly knew and loved their subject, and they brought the audience into the discussion. This made for a wide-ranging conversation on how maps in books are drawn, different kind of maps, and what things ruin a map for you (such as rivers running uphill).

The last thing on the agenda, and an Armadillocon tradition, is a reading by Howard Waldrop.  Howard has had some eye surgeries so he read a few short bits.  He also announced that he has a new collection of mostly unpublished stories coming out next year. It’s on my list to buy.

Howard Waldrop

In all, I’m glad I went. After a big family trip a few weeks ago, cash was a bit tight. In both personal and professional terms, it was worth it. I had fun reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and had positive interactions with several editors.

I’m looking forward to next year.


I got a request in the comments from Tex for details on the Hot Wheels car I won. It’s a Darth Vader car. I’m putting the picture here since I’m not proficient enough at WordPress to insert an image in the comments and don’t have time to look up how to do it this afternoon. It’s a nice car.

4 thoughts on “Report on Armadillocon 39

    1. Keith West Post author

      I’ve added an image in the post. It was easier and quicker than trying to put an image in a comment.

      1. Tex Albritton

        Yer gonna have to open the package. Remember what we learned from Toy Story 2 about toys left in the packaging.

        (they become E-VILE, don’cha know)


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