Posts Tagged Albuquerque Science Fiction Convention

Bubonicon 50 – 2018

Well, the Bubonicon Science Fiction convention #50 here in Albuquerque, NM is over for 2018.  It ran from August 24 to 26, and as I do every year, I attended as much of it as I could, hoping to grab a rare tidbit of information or advice, or perhaps a little dirt or the real scoop on some facet of science fiction or fantasy or even real science.  This year’s theme was the “Golden Age of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” playing off the fact that the Convention (the “con”) is fifty years old this year (its golden anniversary), and taking a look back at the “Golden Age of SF and F, which, from what I was able to gather, lasted from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, or thereabouts.  Many of today’s sci-fi writers lived through at least a part of that time, and cut their sci-fi teeth reading the popular authors of the day.  A number of authors acknowledged  the role that all that reading paid in the development of their writing.  A debt I can well understand.  I even got a few books autographed.

I will have to admit, though, that I am somewhat unfamiliar with the works of that era.  I came to science fiction late in my career, and though I grew up during that time, I read more non-fiction (science mostly, especially biological sciences) than fiction, and what fiction I did read tended to be related to real life.  So, in many of the sessions of this con I had difficulty identifying with the lives of the older writers.  I did find it interesting learning about the development of sci-fi through the years, though.  I had read a few of the works of Robert Heinlein (“Starship Troopers,” “Methuselah’s Children”) but that was about the extent of my sci-fi reading before I entered college and began concentrating on science, especially microbiology and virology (the biology of the teeny-tiny).  It wasn’t until almost time for me to retire from paid scientific work and shortly after the time I began my first sci-fi novel that I read Heinlein’s most popular work, “Stranger In A Strange Land.”  About that time also, I began reading quite a number of science fiction works of many other authors (I generally eschew fantasy, however).  Sci-fi is my life now; I’ve graduated from science to science fiction.  It’s been quite a ride.

I’m beginning to look forward to Bubonicon 51 in 2019.  See you there.

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Bubonicon 47

Bubonicon 47 is over.  Now for the post-mortem.

Bubonicon 47, that is the 47th running of the Albuquerque Science Fiction Convention, was held August 28-30, 2015.  This was my seventh con to attend, and as usual it was filled with the interesting and interested, the timely and the timeless, the bizarre and a bazaar (I’m thinking of the dealer’s room here).  As usual, I spent all day every day at the Con, attending the panels, browsing the dealer’s area (I didn’t buy anything this year), and browsing the art show (I did buy a computer designed work by Lance Beaton entitled “Phantom Flight.”)

The theme of the Con this year was “Women of Wonder,” celebrating the role of women in science fiction and fantasy, especially women who take the leading role.  Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Ridley from the “Alien” movies, and so forth.  Since my (as yet unpublished) science fiction novels have women in leading roles in most cases, I took a special interest in this con, especially to see if I could glean some good details about how to write strong women characters.  There were discussion panels on women in combat, strong females needing strong males, the romance subplot, the curse (?) of the strong female, and a few others.  The panels were populated mostly by women writers (as you’d expect) and I took home several important tidbits about female characters.  One of the most important was in a session entitled “Warrior Women In Combat: Fighting Females.”  One member of the panel, Jeffe Kennedy, a Santa Fe author and resident, made the comment that using rape and sexual abuse just to “incentivize” a woman to fight is probably not a good idea.  Why not?  Because it demeans and diminishes the warrior woman, as though she needs some sort of “extra” incentive to fight for what she believes in, an incentive a male warrior doesn’t have or need.  I took that to heart because I’m in the process of writing the third novel in my sci-fi trilogy, and one of the leading characters is a woman raped and abused.  That was supposed to give her a reason to fight back against the forces abusing her.  But she doesn’t need any special reason to fight so I took that out.  She fights for what she believes in, the same as any male would in the same situation.

The recent announcement that two female army officers just completed Army Ranger training under the same circumstances as the men who’ve been going through that course for years, made just before the Con opened, cast an exciting tone through the conference this year.  It fit exactly with the theme, and was mentioned a couple of times that I heard.  Women have tried Ranger training before, but none of them has finished the course.  (I’m not sure I could finish it, even in my prime.  It’s a tough course.)  But the two women who did certainly didn’t need any extra incentive to get through.  They did it on their own, and your characters in your books can too.

Enough said.  Looking forward to 48.

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