I am home from the 2017 edition of ConDFW, and I have to say I'm wiped out. Maybe I'm just getting old, but that four-hour drive up to Fort Worth and back, braving the construction (Oh! What construction!) and traffic on I-35, simply drained me. This is the first time I've been there in maybe four years, and it was great to see some of those familiar faces I haven't run across in a while. I used to go regularly, but life had intervened to make trips up to the Metroplex more of a rarity for me these days. My panel Friday, "Preparing for a future in space," was every bit as fun as you'd think it would be. We spent a lot of time talking about colonizing Mars and the Moon, and how we have plenty of theoretical solutions to many of the problems such undertakings would entail. The only trouble is that few, if any, of those solutions have actually been tested. Nobody had an answer for the problem perchlorates pose for Martian colonists. I got to slip in a bit about colonizing Venus there at the end, which is my current SFnal kick. Afterwards, I skipped out on the convention for a while to pursue a personal Quixotic adventure that I'll share in the next day or so. Suffice to say it took longer than anticipated, and when I finally got back to the hotel, I crashed. Saturday's panel, "Famous last stands," was pretty amazing. My big contribution was that sometimes the aftermath of a last stand is the more gripping history, and belatedly remembered to bring up the fact that Hannibal Barca has many, many "last stands" against the Roman Empire, from which very few Roman legions survived. Tracy Morris shared some of the interesting topic from her podcast, I Am Not Making This Up, and Taylor Anderson left us all wowed with his discussion of the Taffy 3. For my reading, I chose the opening chapter of Sailing Venus. The audience seemed to respond to the humor in the appropriate places, and nobody threw rotten vegetables, so I count that as a win. I shared the reading block with Adrian Simmons, and he read a fascinating piece about a character in a heroic fantasy world who became addicted to a particular prostitute. It was more a character study than anything else, and had a thoughtful, bittersweet tone. I'm embarrassed to say I got involved in fascinating conversation during the beer tasting party that night, orchestrated by convention chair Amie Spengler, and completely forgot to attend the Porn vs. Erotica panel with Melanie Fletcher. Oops. Melanie had no hard feelings and assured me that it went off fine without me. But that's still unprofessional on my part. On the other hand, those beers on hand were stellar! So many rich, complex and surprising beers were there for the sampling, Amie even did the impossible and came up with an IPA that I actually liked. Wow. Sunday's "Interstellar archaeology" panel was just as silly as you'd expect, and I postulated that the destroyed alien spacecraft in question was actually done in by a runaway Mentos/Diet Coke reaction (which they normally used for propulsion, you see). At this point I should give a shout-out to everyone I saw and talked with over the weekend, but really, I'm just too tired. Here are some pictures I took, so if you see someone you know, let them know. I should identify everyone I know, but instead I think I'm going to bed.
Chicken Ranch Central