Bubonicon 51 Logo Artwork by Greg Spelaka.

Last weekend was Albuquerque’s own Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, Bubonicon and, as more or less planned, I was in attendance. Over the next 3 posts, I’ll be going over my general impressions, what I saw and heard, the panels and readings, for each day of the event.

I had originally intended to pick up my registration on my lunch break, then leave work a little early so I could start right at the beginning. Unfortunately, since it ended up a hectic day, (which included our system being down for at least an hour) this didn’t happen. But I did manage to catch the last half of the second panel. (I didn’t expect to make the first since I would have actually had to made special arrangements).

Spy-Fi: Science Fiction Thrillers

Lauren Teffeau, Ian Tregillis, John Maddox Roberts, J. Barton Mitchell, Reese Hogan

Sadly, partly because I was late and partly because I was still transitioning out of work mode I’m a bit vague on some of the specifics but I do recall there being mention of some of the classic spies from fiction, primarily Bond (book version) and George Smiley.

Opening Ceremonies

Ursula Vernon, Greg Spela, Allen Steele, Darynda Jones (central 4)

An introduction to this year’s Guests of Honour. While not overly familiar with her work, I had heard Ursula Vernon talk at previous Bubonicon events and had found her to be both funny and entertaining. I knew even less about Allen Steele’s work, although now after having heard him talk I may well look out his Coyote series in the future. To be honest, this and the closing ceremonies on the Sunday were about the only times I saw guest artist Greg Spelaka. But then, I do come to the convention for the writers .

And, of course, I’d met and talked with this year’s Toastmaster Darynda Jones on a few occasions. She was even kind enough to greet me with a small hug later in the evening.

Reading + Q&A with Scott Philips

Scott S. Phillips

I do have to admit that I am currently blanking on both the title of this short story and the anthology it’s a part of. Having said that, I did enjoy it and it’s 1970’s fixated vampire protagonist enough that, as soon as the reading was over, I made a beeline for the dealer’s room to see if I could find any of the novels in the series. Luckily enough, I was able to grab a copy of the first book; Pete, Drinker of Blood.

Alternate Histories of the 1900’s Beginnings

John Barnes, S.M. Stirling, Susan Matthews, John Maddox Roberts & Sarena Ulibarri

I do enjoy me some alternate history, even (in some small ways) adding a few details in the background of my House Valerius series. But this panel focused on a particular era around World War I, rather than the more commonly used WWII, the number of potential turning points it represented. How would the present have changed if, among other things, Hitler had died before his rise to power or even just one in a dozen small factors had been different in the process that lead to the war.

Two things of note.

1: I really should make an effort to read S.M. Stirling’s Black Chamber series.

2: The idea of replacing the 1917 Spanish Flu outbreak with something potentially even worse is an idea that might be worth playing with at some point.

The Future You Imagine Is The Future You Get

Ben Bova, Stephen Antczak, Carolyn Hays, Lauren Teffeau, Sarena Ulibarri

What do we think the future holds? Environmental collapse, expansion out beyond the Earth & into the solar system, new technology leading to new hopefulness?

One thing that I do remember from this panel is that there was discussion that there seems to be a distinct divide in visions of the future. One where we do go out to the stars and one where the focus is more on undoing the damage done to the Earth. Sadly, this was followed by the lament that we seem to be struggling to make any headway with either of these options.

For The Love of Cheese

J. Barton Mitchell, John Jos. Miller, Chaz Kemp, Jim Sorenson, Scott S. Phillips, Adam

Those of you who have read my ramblings before know that I’m a big film person. And that often means you’re going to see films that are bad in a great way. That’s what this panel was all about.

Due to this overlapping with the previous panel, I did miss most of this but I did get there in time for some discussion of Brightburn, The Boys and Bruce Lee movies. Plus, I hung about for a few minutes afterward to say hello to people I’d met in previous years.

And that was Day One. Stayed tuned for Day Two.

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