Last Day for Pegasus Award ‘Brainstorming’ — Poll Closes Tonight

If you haven’t already submitted your ideas for what songs, composers, and performers should be considered for the Pegasus Awards for excellence in filking, you have until early Friday morning to do so!

Pegasus Award Logo

Unlike other awards, the Pegasus Award cycle begins with a wide-open “brainstorming” phase. (In this respect, the Hugo Awards may have something to learn from the Pegasus Awards; but, I digress.)

The Pegasus awards honor science fiction and fantasy-related music in these categories:

  • Best Filk Song
  • Best Classic Filk Song — a song at least 10 years old that has “entered filk community public consciousness”
  • Best Performer
  • Best Writer/Composer
  • 2015 Rotating Category: Best Adapted Song — “parodies, pre-existing lyrics set to new music (for example, setting a Kipling poem), or other material adapted to filk”
  • 2015 Rotating Category: Best Time-Related Song — “31st wedding anniversary gifts are timepieces. For OVFF’s 31st Anniversary we focus on anything related to time”

Anyone who has an interest in filk music — which most people think of as science fiction and/or fantasy-related music — is considered part of the “filk community” and can participate in brainstorming possible nominees, nominating, and voting. The award by-laws define “exhibiting interest” using examples such as filking at SF&F conventions, attending filk conventions or “house sings,” taking part in related on-line forums, and just “discussing filk and filk related issues with other filkers.”

Speaking of “discussing filk and filk related issues with other filkers,” last week on the Baen Free Radio Hour we released part 1 of a 2-part roundtable discussion about filk. Here’s the link to an MP3 of the podcast. We’ll release part 2 sometime in May.

All that being said, you can probably claim to have exhibited interest in filk just by reading this far in this post (for which, thank you!), and therefore would be qualified to participate in the Pegasus Award process. So if you have favorites you’d like to suggest, fill out the Brainstorming Poll Form. Note that there’s only space for five suggestions in each category, but you’re allowed to fill out as many brainstorming forms as you like. (I filled out two.) But you have to submit your suggestions soon — as in, today! The deadline is one minute after midnight tonight, Pacific Time, or around 3 a.m. tomorrow morning, Eastern Time.

The actual nomination phase to decide what goes on the ballot will start next month, when the brainstorming results are released, and then voting will take place later in the summer. Then the Pegasus Awards will be awarded at the Ohio Valley Filk Fest in October.

So … start your brainstorming! And finish it, quick!

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Related Posts:
The Pegasus Award Brainstorming Poll is Open!
In Case You’re Nominating for Any Awards This Year
What Do YOU Think is the Best Adapted Filk Song?
What Do YOU Think is the Best Time-Related Filk Song?

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Con of the Ravens … This Weekend in Richmond

This weekend I’ll be at the RavenCon science fiction and fantasy convention up in Virginia.

RavenCon is always a lot of fun, and I appreciate them inviting me back this year. Lots of my friends will be there, and I will be busy, as usual:

Friday:

  • 4 pm, Open Filking
  • 6 pm, Panel: Critiquing, The Right Way — I’m moderating this panel
  • 7 pm, Opening Ceremony
  • 8 pm, Workshop w/ Paula Jordan: After the First Draft

Saturday:

  • 10 am, Panel: How To (Not) Ruin Your Writing Career — I’m moderating this one, too
  • Noon, Reading — and singing, there will be singing
  • 4 pm, Baen Books Traveling Road Show

Sunday:

  • 10 am, Panel: Riding the National Security Coattails — Moderating again
  • Noon, Panel: Ten Books Representing 20th Century SF
  • 2 pm, Signing

As always, I will have copies of Truths and Lies and Make-Believe as well as “Another Romulan Ale” and “Tauntauns to Glory” bumper stickers. Stop by and say howdy!

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Next Convention Stop: MystiCon in Roanoke, Virginia

Who’s going to be in Roanoke next weekend? I am!

MystiCon is always a fun science fiction & fantasy convention, and this year features media Guest of Honor Sean Maher — Dr. Simon Tam from FIREFLY — and Literary GOH Peter David, author of many standalone and media tie-in novels as well as comics, video games, and television shows.

Here’s what I’m scheduled to do …

Friday:  Whatever I want!

Saturday:

  • 10am: Writing Workshop, Part 1
  • 2pm: Baen Books Traveling Road Show
  • 5pm: Reading … which, for me, will also include Singing

Sunday:

  • 9am: Signing … I’ll have copies of Truths and Lies and Make-Believe as well as “Another Romulan Ale” and “Tauntauns to Glory” bumper stickers
  • 10am: Writing Workshop, Part 2
  • Noon: Panel, “Making Politics Work in Fiction”
  • 1pm: Panel, “Honor in the Verse” … I’m moderating this panel
  • 2pm: Panel, “Bughunt” … I’m moderating this one, too

Travel safe, and hope to see you there!

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The Hugo Awards: Considering the Controversy

Of the dozen or so people who look at my blog with any regularity, there may be one or two who are interested in the current state of upheaval regarding the Hugo Awards, which, “presented annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award.” The rest of you can feel free to ignore this post. Most people will.

The Hugos are conferred during the World Science Fiction Convention, and are determined by nominations submitted by and final votes taken of WorldCon members. They honor science fiction and fantasy works in categories such as Best Novel, Best Dramatic Presentation, and so forth. The categories themselves have changed over the years, and it could be an interesting exercise to examine the history of why the World Science Fiction Society decided to delete some categories and add others. But that would shed little light on the current controversy within the SF&F community over the awards.

That controversy — or feud, if you prefer — centers around what it means for a work to be considered the “best.” From one perspective, it’s a question of how well the method of selection reflects the community’s preferences; from another, it’s a question of the relative merits of any single work compared to all others.

To the first question, my friend Brad Torgersen (who recently included a story of mine on the “Sad Puppies 3” slate of Hugo recommendations) used a Venn diagram (seen in this blog post) to illustrate the representational aspect of the Hugo Awards. Having thought about this for a while, I’d like to extend his diagram as follows:


(SF&F Fandom Breakdown. Inadequate, I’m afraid, but a start.)

In my diagram, the ellipses correspond to:

  • A: Everyone who likes any kind of science fiction or fantasy story, whether presented as a movie, a TV show, a book, or in any other form
  • B: Those who consider themselves science fiction or fantasy fans
  • C: Those who attend SF&F conventions, whether general interest or fandom-specific
  • D: Those who attend the World Science Fiction Convention
  • E: Those who nominate or vote for the Hugo Awards — this ellipse extends beyond WorldCon because it includes “supporting members” who do not actually attend the convention
  • F: People who have heard of, but don’t care about, the Hugo Awards
  • G: People who, despite their consumption of science fiction or fantasy stories, would vehemently deny being science fiction or fantasy fans

I might have included people who have never heard of the Hugo Awards, if I could have figured out how to represent them. Also, I could have made the diagram more complete by trying to fit in SF&F professionals of one stripe or another, and even by trying to illustrate membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the nomination and voting for the Nebula Awards — but the picture seemed complicated enough so I stopped before it got too muddled.

At any rate, it should be clear that those who vote for the Hugo Awards are a small fraction of the “science fiction and fantasy community,” whether we consider that to consist of those who attend conventions or the larger group who consider themselves fans; indeed, Hugo Award voters are a miniscule portion of the very large group of occasional or even frequent SF&F consumers. Under the premise that the Hugo voting population has over time become less representative of the larger groups, one of the goals of the Sad Puppies campaigns has been to make ellipse E bigger by encouraging more people to become WorldCon members and to nominate and vote for their favorites.

We’ll return to this issue in a few moments.

For the second question — that of the merits of any single work compared to others — we should acknowledge that just as tastes differ from one person to another, tastes change over time. While I confess that my knowledge of the field’s history is lacking, I am given to understand that science fiction in particular used to be a literature of action as well as ideas, and that stories of characters’ accomplishments in the face of great peril or difficult moral choices were appreciated and honored. Thankfully, I can still find stories that depict moving encounters and risky endeavors; however, today those kinds of stories seem to garner less attention and fewer honors than (shall we say) more “refined” tales.

I, for one, do not seem to possess the sensibility to appreciate highly “literary” stories such as grew out of what was once considered the “New Wave” of science fiction, at least not to the degree that some of my friends seem to. Likewise, magical realism, avant garde, and “experimental” fiction leave me cold. I suppose my tastes are more pedestrian. For instance, I am unmoved by prose that is not narrative; no matter how brilliant or evocative the language is, if nothing happens in the text it will disappoint me and I will feel that the time I spent reading it was wasted. I more appreciate a story that involves interesting characters taking part in events that have consequences for themselves and others, that gives me the vicarious experience of escapades I will never attempt, in places I will never visit, with beings I will never encounter.

To select one example of how my tastes disagree with many of those who nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards, consider last year’s Nebula winner and one of the Hugo nominees for Best Short Story: “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” Other than its lyrical quality, I found little to appreciate in it — and I confess to some confusion as to how it fit the definition of a story, since nothing much happens. It is barely a vignette, and since the science it discusses is all part of a “what if” postulation it seemed barely science fictional as well. If it were re-cast as “If You Were a Polar Bear, My Love,” it would carry the same emotional content and perhaps be more science fictional, since the bit about “reviving extinct species” would at least imply that it takes place in a future in which polar bears are extinct instead of the present when dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. In neither case would any clones have been created from extinct DNA, though, and the text would still be a stream-of-consciousness exercise in fevered imaginings rather than an actual story with characters who take actions and overcome obstacles in pursuit of particular goals. However, since that sort of thing apparently appeals to a significant cohort of SF&F fans, it might still be an award-winning “story” — though I wonder if an editor would have given either the real or this imagined version a second look if the author had been an unknown.*

While I am confessing my own literary shortcomings, I’ll add that such “stories” wear me out. When I finish reading one, I don’t feel the breathless exhilaration of stepping off a roller coaster, or even of dismounting a carousel; instead, I feel the out-of-breath exhaustion of setting down a snow shovel, or saying goodbye to unwanted houseguests. I wonder how many readers, upon completing some inaccessible text, think well of themselves for putting forth the effort, like feeling good for eating one’s peas, and transfer that feeling of accomplishment to the text when it comes time to nominate or vote for awards. I also wonder how many — some fewer, I’d wager — enthusiastically repeat the reading experience for the sheer joy of it, or go looking for seconds. And if a story does not induce a reader to read it again, or to seek out others like it or other works by the same author, can it truly be the “best” the field had to offer?

I acknowledge that stories that leave me empty may leave other people exhilarated, or inspired, or with some other positive feeling, and who am I to gainsay their opinions? So I am left to congratulate the winners — the “bests” — while I shake my head in wonder. I suppose that if a story that fit my preferences were to win, other readers would be able to find fault with it and shake their heads in wonder that anyone would select it. Such is the nature of all electoral contests.

Unfortunately for me, science fiction (and, to some degree, fantasy) literature has of late elevated the status of “literary” works while ignoring more action-oriented fiction; at the same time, sales of SF literature have either stagnated or declined. Correlation is not causation, however, so we cannot automatically conclude that the rise of “literary” SF has adversely affected overall sales. Other factors may be at play, such as the mainstream acceptance of technologies that were once the purview of science fiction, and thus the loss of appeal of technology-based stories; the declining confidence in the ability of science and engineering to solve pressing problems, likewise; or the migration of segments of the population who used to read for entertainment to other forms such as movies, television, and video games.

And that leads us back to the first question, whether the Hugo Awards adequately represent the preferences of the SF&F-consuming public.

If I had more free time, I might attempt a comprehensive statistical history of the Hugos. Maybe I can go back to school someday, pursue an advanced degree in the history of ideas, and write a thesis on the subject. For instance, I’d be interested in digging up the records starting with the first Hugos — when the best novel award, for example, went to The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester — and examining, year over year,

  • The complete voting results, both for nominations and awards, including numbers of nominations received and numbers of votes cast
  • The numbers of eligible works, e.g., how many science fiction and fantasy novels, etc., were published in the appropriate year
  • Reported sales figures for the nominated novels, both prior to and after their nomination and prior to and after the award announcement
  • Sales figures for other SF&F entertainments, e.g., box office receipts, for the same time period
  • Etc.

It might be interesting to examine other tidbits as well, like the numbers of ballots (nomination or voting) disqualified for any reason. Unfortunately, those kinds of figures may not even have been recorded.

Though I do not have actual figures to present, can we conjecture what they might be likely to show?

Over time, the percentage of novels receiving nominations would fluctuate, but we might expect it to be generally lower now as independent publishing has flourished in the Internet era. We might therefore expect the votes cast for, say, Best Novel to have declined as a percentage of total novel sales for any given year. If we could devise some estimate of genre consumption in the total SF&F community (ellipse A, above), we would certainly expect the vote ratios for Best Novel to have declined because of the permeation of science fiction and fantasy into the larger culture since the 1970s. If these expectations hold true, then it should be clear that the Hugo Awards today reflect only a tiny fraction of the SF&F community.

Is that, however, a status quo we should accept?

If we believe in science fiction and fantasy as worthy art forms, capable of helping us examine the human condition and cope with change in ways that other entertainments do not, then it seems that enlarging our community would be a good thing both from a pragmatic viewpoint — more customers can support more content producers — and from the standpoint of wanting to impact the world around us. To that end, encouraging people to support the World Science Fiction Convention and participate in nominating and voting for the field’s most prestigious award should be a good thing. I cannot think of a good reason for anyone to prefer for the field and its flagship award to be small and insular, because if that continues (and especially if the SF&F field shrinks too much) many more puppies of all breeds will be saddened.

It may be that what is needed is a new, more comprehensive award. I used to tell people that I thought of the Nebula Awards as equivalent to the Oscars and the Hugo Awards as equivalent to the People’s Choice Awards, but I think I was wrong in that assessment. It seems to me now that the Nebula Awards are more akin to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Hugo Awards are more akin to the Oscars (except that anyone can pay to participate in the Hugos), and that science fiction and fantasy do not have an award equivalent to the People’s Choice Awards. That discussion, however, will have to wait for another day.

Or maybe not. Even if awards multiplied like tribbles, they would still be only partly representative of the community as a whole. Those of us who nominate and vote will remain a self-selected cohort, and in the end the opinions we represent are only our own.

In closing, a personal note. I am neither the scholar nor the student of the SF&F field that I should be, but I respect it enough to have chosen it for my second career and I respect the Hugo Awards for their attempt to honor the best of the genre. And, yes, I would be quite pleased to count myself as a Hugo Award nominee or recipient. I imagine every author who has considered their work to be publishable and risked sending it to editors for possible rejection must at some time have thought of winning such an accolade, though some may not want the recognition (or the notoriety, as the case may be). For my part, I was quite happy when Brad Torgersen told me he was considering my novelette** for his slate of recommendations, if for no other reason than it meant that a few more people might read it than otherwise would. And if anyone liked my story enough to bestow on it a nomination, that would do my heart good.***

A final, really personal note. My blog posts are usually much shorter than this, and if you made it this far, and actually read this whole thing, I appreciate it. Thank you, sincerely, for your time.

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*It may not be fair, but we (and by that royal “we” of course I mean “I”) do pay a smidgen more attention to works by authors whose names we recognize. We are, most of us, pretty human in that respect.
**Specifically, from the May 2014 issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium.”
***I don’t have any illusions about actually winning. The one time an editor told me one of my stories was award-worthy it didn’t come close to making the list, and I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of people who told me they nominated it.

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RELATED POSTS ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY:
– From 2014, Larry Correia offers An explanation about the Hugo awards controversy
– Brad Torgersen, in January, Announcing SAD PUPPIES 3!
– Brad Torgersen presents his recommendations in SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate
– Brad Torgersen offers SAD PUPPIES: some responses to the fallout
– Larry Correia with a Sad Puppies 3 Update
– Sarah Hoyt discusses the matter at When Duck Noises Fail Me
– Brad Torgersen expounds on SAD PUPPIES: the march of the straw men

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Edited to note that “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” won the Nebula and was nominated for the Hugo. I had mixed up its accolades. GWR

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My Friend Brad Torgersen Suggests One of My Works for Hugo Award Consideration

Award-winning author Brad Torgersen included my novelette, “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium,” which appeared in the May 2014 issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, as part of the Sad Puppies 3 campaign to encourage people to read and consider works that might otherwise be ignored.

I like the crew-patch-style logo:


(Sad Puppies 3 logo.)

Some Background, if You Need It. If you haven’t been following the recent controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards — and if you’re not a convention-going science fiction and fantasy fan, why would you? — bestselling author Larry Correia started the “Sad Puppies” campaign two years ago as a reaction to the tendency for the major genre awards to ignore (if not actually shun) popular works by conservative authors, with the result that nominees often represented highly “literary” works that were experimental or edgy or otherwise inaccessible to wide audiences, or “message” fiction that seemed more concerned with waving the flag for progressive issues than with being entertaining. In addition, there had there been reports of authors being blackballed and suspicions of vote-tampering by World Science Fiction Convention staff members.

Larry, who plied his trade as an accountant and auditor before he started writing full-time, saw that the threshold for making the Hugo ballot was relatively small — as low as a few dozen nominations in some categories — and encouraged people to nominate specific works. By comparing the numbers of people who reported their nominations to him with the figures reported by WorldCon, Larry showed that accusations of fraud were unfounded. The nomination and voting processes appeared to be operating above-board, which speaks well for the volunteers who organize and staff the conventions.

Tongue-in-cheek, Larry called his program the Sad Puppies campaign because some people love to be part of causes on behalf of the downtrodden. He wrote that

The ugly truth is that the most prestigious award in sci-fi/fantasy is basically just a popularity contest, where the people who are popular with a tiny little group of WorldCon voters get nominated and thousands of other works are ignored. Books that tickle them are declared good and anybody who publically deviates from groupthink is bad. Over time this lame ass award process has become increasingly snooty and pretentious, and you can usually guess who all of the finalists are going to be that year before any of the books have actually come out or been read by anyone, entirely by how popular the author is with this tiny group.

This is a leading cause of puppy related sadness.

Of course anything that is voted on is de-facto a popularity contest, and the fact is what I like may not be popular with very many people. The only way to make your vote count is to actually vote, and in the case of the Hugo Awards, not all of the people who buy books are interested in buying convention memberships or voting for awards. So it is that, just as with film awards in which movies that do well at the box office are often overlooked during award season, authors who are popular enough to sell thousands if not millions of books are often shut out of what has long been considered the premiere science fiction award.

Back to the Main Topic. I very much appreciate Brad including my story among his recommendations. You can see all of his suggestions at the Sad Puppies link at the top, where he wrote that he is carrying on the campaign to recognize

entirely deserving works, writers, and editors — all of whom would not otherwise find themselves on the Hugo ballot without some extra oomph received from beyond the rarefied, insular halls of 21st century Worldcon “fandom.”

Which is where YOU guys come in. Everyone who’s signed up as a full or supporting member of either Loncon 3 (last year’s Worldcon) or Sasquan (this year’s Worldcon) or MidAmeriCon II (next year’s Worldcon). If you agree with our slate below — and we suspect you might — this is YOUR chance to make sure YOUR voice is heard. This is YOUR award (as SF/F’s self-proclaimed “most prestigious award”) and YOU get to have a say in who is acknowledged.

I’m pleased that he considers my little story to be deserving! And even if folks find other novelettes to nominate, I’m pleased that some more people might read it now who otherwise may not even have heard of it.

If you’d like to read “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium,” here’s a link to it on the IGMS site.* Hope you like it!

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*If you can’t afford to buy the online magazine and still want to read the story, drop me a line and I’ll see about getting you a copy.

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First Convention of 2015

This weekend I’ll be at the illogiCon science fiction and fantasy convention.


(“Professor Schrodington,” the illogiCon mascot.)

If you’re coming to the convention, or just interested, here’s my schedule:

Friday:

  • 4:00 p.m. — Panel: “The History of Anything You Wanna Know”
  • 8:00 p.m. — Open Filking

Saturday:

  • 10:00 a.m. — Panel: “Writing About People You Aren’t”
  • 11:00 a.m. — Panel: “More than Swords: The Military and Fantasy”
  • 1:00 p.m. — Baen Books Traveling Road Show
  • 4:00 p.m. — Panel: “Live Action Slush”
  • 5:00 p.m. — Panel: “Why Does it Take an Editor a Year to Read a Book?”
  • 6:00 p.m. — Open Filking
  • 7:00 p.m. — Reading
  • 9:00 p.m. — Panel: Newly Professional Older Writers: What Helps, What Hinders

On Sunday, I’ll be recovering from Saturday.

As always, I will have copies of Truths and Lies and Make-Believe as well as “Another Romulan Ale” and “Tauntauns to Glory” bumper stickers! Stop by and say howdy, and have fun!

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HonorCon Starts Today!

I’ll be there tomorrow, but the HonorCon convention — centered around the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber — starts this afternoon in Raleigh.

My schedule:

  • Saturday at 9 a.m.: Baen Books Traveling Road Show
  • Saturday at 3 p.m.: “How to Get Published” Panel

I suppose I should give some thought to what I will talk about during my panel!

And as always, I will have a few copies of Truths and Lies and Make-Believe as well as “Another Romulan Ale” and “Tauntauns to Glory” bumper stickers!

Stop by and say hello!

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Disney Magic Not Working So Well in Europe

From The Guardian, a report that Disneyland Paris — once called “Euro Disney” — is in financial trouble.

le château de Disneyland Paris
(“le château de Disneyland Paris,” by Louis Engival, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

From the article, Disneyland Paris forced to ask for €1bn emergency rescue,

The theme park, which was dubbed a “cultural Chernobyl” when it opened 22 years ago, is haemorrhaging visitors. It drew in 14.1 million over the past 12 months, a drop of 800,000 on the previous year and 1.5 million lower than 2012…. But experts believe that to start making money it needs to draw in at least 15 million people a year. The park last turned a profit in 2008 and expects to lose €110m to €120m this year.

So, as a result, the Walt Disney company, which owns 40% of the Paris attraction, is stepping in for “its third multimillion-euro bailout of its French offspring,” to the tune of a billion euros (at today’s exchange rate, $1.27B, some in cash and some converting debt into shares) and ten years of “breathing space” on the remainder of its €1.75B ($2.21B) debt.

It surprised me to learn that, “While visitor numbers are down, the park still pulls in more people than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower combined, making it Europe’s biggest tourist attraction.” I never even considered going to Disneyland Paris when Jill and I were in Europe for the World Science Fiction Convention this past August — not that our entry fee would have made a dent in that amount of debt!

I’m not sure that there’s any big lesson in all this — you can take it as a cautionary tale; as an example that just because something works in one place it’s not guaranteed to work somewhere else; or as encouragement that even highly successful companies don’t always succeed when they pursue new ventures — but it was interesting to me.

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The Musical Extravaganza That Was Dragon_Con

Dragon_Con 2014 was terrific! I’m sorry that it took me so long to put together this post about it. I’m also sorry that I’m not a better photographer with my phone … so I apologize that the pictures below are in general blurry and badly exposed.

This year’s Dragon_Con had a number of highlights — including the fact that a few people I didn’t know came to my solo concert! Overall, the convention turned out to be a musical tour de force. Mainstage groups like The Cruxshadows and Bella Morte get most of the attention, but thanks to the Dragon_Con Filk Track lesser-known groups like The Gekkos, The Ken Spivey Band, and Foot-Pound Force also got the chance to perform throughout the weekend.

Mikey Mason, the “comedy rock star” and “white trash geek,” had a number of shows:


(Mikey Mason, performing on the Hyatt Concourse.)

The Blibbering Humdingers also had several shows, in addition to putting on a standing-room-only medieval music workshop:


(The Blibbering Humdingers, and friends.)

One fantastic musical discovery of the convention was Pandora Celtica, who had been absent from Dragon_Con for a couple of years. I remembered catching snippets of their music before, but this time I was able to hear their marvelous harmonies several times.


(Pandora Celtica.)

In addition to their “Dragon_Con reunion,” the Brobdingnagian Bards — Andrew McKee and Marc Gunn — put on several solo concerts and workshops. Marc’s “Firefly Drinking Songs” concert overflowed the room, with dozens of people standing in the hallway to listen!


(The Brobdingnagian Bards. L-R, Andrew McKee and Marc Gunn.)

And Mikey Mason was paired with Tom Smith, “the world’s fastest filker,” for a comedy music duel:


(Mikey Mason and Tom Smith.)

Last but not least, Tally Deushane played some of her delightful songs in the filk room (and also came to my concert!) — I didn’t get the chance to ask her if she’s been working on a new album.

So, while Dragon_Con is a crazy, loud, confusing, hectic event, from a musical standpoint it was terrific! My thanks go out to Robby Hilliard, Amber Hansford, and Pat Var for their enthusiasm and diligence in running the Filk Track, and especially for inviting me to participate at a higher level. I hope to make it back next year!

___

P.S. If you want more information on any of my musical friends, check out their websites:
Andrew McKee
Brobdingnagian Bards
Foot-Pound Force
Marc Gunn
Mikey Mason
Pandora Celtica
Tally Deushane
The Blibbering Humdingers
The Gekkos
The Ken Spivey Band
Tom Smith

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Going to Dragon_Con

With a shout-out to my classmates who will be gathering for a multi-year reunion this weekend,* here’s my schedule for Dragon_Con 2014 — the largest science fiction and fantasy convention in the Southeast! — being held this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.

While I will be attending as many of my writing and musical friends’ sessions as I can fit into the schedule, I’m taking an active part in these events:

  • Thursday, 7 p.m. (Dragon_Con Eve) — “Spaceships & Zombies,” a Baen Books launch party for ISLANDS OF RAGE & HOPE by John Ringo and A CALL TO DUTY by David Weber & Timothy Zahn — Peachtree Ballroom, Atlanta Westin
  • Friday, 8:30 p.m. — “Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow,” hosted by Alethea Kontis (whose book of essays, Beauty and Dynamite, was recently re-released) — Room A707, Marriott Marquis
  • Saturday, 1:00 p.m. — SOLO CONCERT! — including songs from Truths and Lies and Make-Believe and the hopefully-soon-to-be-recorded new album … including the DEBUT of a new song based on Howard Tayler’s “Schlock Mercenary” webcomic — Baker Room, Atlanta Hyatt
  • Saturday, 2:30 p.m. — “Baen Books Slide Show and Prize Patrol!” with Baen Publisher Toni Weisskopf and the rest of the Baen crew — Regency V Ballroom, Atlanta Hyatt

Meanwhile, here’s an interview with yours truly on Andrew McKee’s “Everything is Filk” Podcast. Hope you like it!

If you’re coming to the convention, I look forward to seeing you! But whatever you do this Labor Day weekend, I hope you have a terrific time!

___
*I started a rumor that they picked Labor Day weekend because I was already booked.

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