(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. Continue reading →
So, yeah, about Armadillocon. You know, the one that was held at the end of July. While it’s a little late for a con report, I’m going to post a brief one. I’m home waiting on a service technician, who will be by sometime between noon and 5:00. I thought this would be a good time to kill one of the items on my Should Have Already Done List. It’s better than killing someone, such as the person who called at 10:45 wanting to know if I was available because the rest of the service calls are out of town. (No, I thought I made that clear when we talked last week. I have office hours and appointments with students in a few minutes.)
Anyway, I wasn’t planning on going this year, mainly due to distance and money. Then I learned that Bill Crider, who is a regular, had been diagnosed with cancer. I thought I had missed the con but found out it was a week later than I’d thought, namely the upcoming weekend. I looked at the guest list. None of the headliners appealed, but there was a long line of folks I hadn’t seen in years. I used to hit Armadillocon just about every year, but since I moved to the other side of the state in 2010, I hadn’t gone. The summer of 2009 was the last time I was there.
It was a last minute decision, but I was able to make it work. Armadillocon was one of the first conventions I attended, and it was back at the hotel where it was held the first few years I went. Nostalgia won out.
Because I literally didn’t register until a few minutes before the preregistration deadline and make my room reservation, I didn’t get the basic room but one a little fancier, at the end of the hall with a balcony. I came in, noticed a few balloons tied to pieces of candy on the bed, and hit the restroom. When I came out I saw some items that had been out of my field of view when I got in the room. A bottle of bubbly on ice with two fluted glasses. A card in an envelope with a woman’s name on it. A cupcake alongside a smaller card containing the same same woman’s name. A bouquet of birthday balloons. Clearly the front desk had made a mistake. Continue reading →
Lucius Shephard passed away at the age of 66 on March 18, 2014. Shephard began writing in the early 1980s. Many of his early works near future science fiction set in a Central American war that resembled Viet Nam, something that was a real possibility at the time. I remember reading some of his early stories in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In recent years his movie reviews have graced the pages of that magazine.
Shephard wrote at all lengths, but in my opinion his strengths were at the novella length. Over the course of his career he won the Nebula for “R&R”, the Hugo for “Barnacle Bill the Spacer”, and the Shirley Jackson Award for “Vacancy”. I always found his style to be densely written, but his stories were worth the work they required.
Shephard attended at least one Armadillocon in Austin in the early 00’s. I had the privilege of meeting him. He was very open and approachable, always willing to chat with fans. I was disappointed that he didn’t attend some of the later Armadillocons.