This year I dove into Con*Stellation, spending more than twenty hours there over the course of the weekend. I went to many panels, attended the art auction, nibbled on cashews at the Friday night reception, and hung out in the dealer’s room with my fellow Trek club friend Laura. Here are my favorite moments from Con*Stellation XXXI: Perseus!
The Science Fiction Writers and Cake Appreciation Society Reading
This year was my first time taking part in the reading. I read snippets from “Sister Winter,” my week 6 Clarion West story. I was afraid that reading short snippets from a long piece, instead of an entire really short piece, would work badly, but a few of the other writers told me afterwards that they had really enjoyed my story. So I was really glad I had decided to read that one.
The organizer of my local sf writing group is Lin Cochran, who is also a Clarion West alum.(She attended the first two Clarion Wests – so cool!) She read her story that appears in the recent anthology of Alabama authors, Summer Gothic, and it was lovely.
Panel: “Non-Traditional Routes to Publication”
Late on Friday evening I went to a panel on self-publishing. A lot of the conversation centered on e-publishing, including perils and format limitations. Images seem to be especially tricky, and are better left out unless printing a specialty coffee table book where people expect to pay higher prices. Createspace seems to be the go-to place for print self-publishing.
|L.R. Barrett and Grady Glover
Photograph by Laura of SF Collectibles
Filk Concert: Cat Faber
On Saturday I went to a mid-day filk concert by Cat Faber. She has such a wonderful stage presence, and I loved listening to her songs. I wish the concert could have been outside; her lyrics are the kind that make me want to stare up into leaf canopies and daydream.
My favorite songs she performed were “If the Last Spaceship Leaves On Time” and one about a mouse finding a giant chocolate bar and pretending to be magnanimous when he offers the leftover almonds to his friends (after having consumed the entire chocolate bar by himself).
Usually music doesn’t make me think of story writing. Literary readings help dredge up solutions to my story problems, but music mostly helps me block out background noise. But Cat’s songs had me spinning fantasy yarns in my head from the start. I think I might try listening to her CD when I have writer’s block to transition into the feeling of storytelling.
Filk Concert: Marc Gunn – Firefly Drinking Songs
Marc performed several awesome Firefly inspired songs, and it was easy to see that he’s a real fan of the show. My favorite song was “Freedom Costs”, an anthem for the independence fighters.
All of the songs he performed were amazing, lilty and soulful at the same time. He took the time to speak out the chorus with the audience before the sing-a-longs, encouraging us to join in.
Con*Stellation is a very intimate con, so taking pictures or videos of people on a panel feels like walking up to someone and taking a picture in their face. But there are tons of good fan videos of Marc performing at DragonCon on Youtube, so check him out.
I almost didn’t go back to Con*Stellation on Friday, but I’m very glad I did. I had spent around ten hours on Friday and Saturday at the convention, and by Sunday morning I was really tired. But I drank some coffee and that made me feel more like heading out.
6 thoughts on “Con*Stellation XXXI: Perseus”
You make me wish I was there, too.
I was just thinking about the anthology thing. I've got a story in mind to submit for a themed anth later this year (and there's Secret Histories – you're in that, right? That counts a themed anthology). I think the cool thing about being in an anthology is that it's sort of like your story gets to go to Clarion West. You know, all of these other cool stories are there, and they kind of like some of the same things, but take totally different approaches, and they'll all get to hang out and mingle and stuff, and have anthology in-jokes. I guess there's no T-shirt, but there is a book cover.
Thank you for your kind words about Con*Stellation XXXI. I chaired this year's con, but the thanks for making it happen go to (1) the committee and staff that put in hundreds of hours organizing and running it, and (2) the guests for their great accessibility during the convention. I'll be sure to pass along a link to your blog during the “postmortem” discussion we'll have at the NASFA club meeting (www.con-stellation.org/nasfa) this weekend. — Mike Kennedy
Aw, thanks Alisa! THIS is the year – the year we both go to the same convention and hang out together and have a wonderful time. I will do my best to make it so. 🙂
Ah! You're right – Secret Histories is totally an anthology. 🙂 I like the idea of a totable Clarion West where my characters can hang out with other characters. The sister elementals hanging out with Turtlor, Gabe traveling in your paper boat. 🙂
Hi Mike! Thank you for such a wonderful con and please extend my thanks to the com and staff! 🙂