If you’re a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, or Horror, then this is the right weekend for you to head out to Austin’s ArmadilloCon at the Omni Southpark. The convention runs from July 25 to 27 and has something to offer both writers and readers of genre work.
Some of the writing guests for ArmadilloCon include Ian McDonald, Ted Chiang, and Mario Acevedo. Other writers include Lillian Stewart Carl, Bill Crider, Rhonda Eudaly, Mark Finn, Katharine Eliska Kimbrel, Rick Klaw, Joe Lansdale, Alexis Glynn Latner, William Ledbetter, Stina Leicht, Gloria Oliver, Patrice Sarath, Rie Sheridan Rose, Shanna Swendson, and Martha Wells. In addition, there are editors, including Jacob Weisman, an editor that works with both Science Fiction and Fantasy.
The programming at ArmadilloCon is always above average. This year, some of the topics include “Required Horror,” “Stupid Movies We Love,” “40 Years of D&D,” “The Doctor Who Number Game,” “Jules Verne’s Errors,” and “Do Werewolves Dream of Bloody Sheep.” The programming spans from art work (“Watercolorists”) to movies (“Hollywood vs. Everyone Else”), to, of course, writing and reading. The panels last approximately one hour and feature multiple guests who will speak and answer questions, time permitting.
Author readings take place throughout the weekend. You can find your favorite author and hear an old favorite or something new and unpublished, depending on what he or she wants to treat the listeners to. You can also find someone you haven’t read before and find a new author to become a fan of!
If you have favorite authors who will be in attendance, be sure to check the autograph schedule. Throughout the weekend, there are scheduled times for authors to sit at tables and sign books. (Do remember to be polite – don’t bring too many books to have signed, and be aware that there’s a very good chance you’ll have to wait in line if it’s a popular author.) Sometimes showing up half-way into the hour-long signing will give you a shorter line, but it can also mean that you’ll miss your chance to get something signed if the line is long.
Part of the fun of attending a convention is the swag you can find and buy. ArmadilloCon does not disappoint. It has a dealers’ room open Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and until 4 PM on Sunday. It’s an excellent chance to pick up books to get signed by your favorite authors or add to your t-shirt or steampunk collections.
ArmadilloCon’s art show does it proud. Every year, the art show is full of various types of art, including prints, original works in multiple formats, and jewelry and other hand-made goods. Peri Charlifu’s pottery is always a popular draw, and this year’s artist guest of honor, Pui-Mun Law, will also have works featured. You can choose to bid on items in the show, and if they get enough bids, they will appear in the Art Show Auction, held on Saturday night. The auction is always interesting and amusing, but never believe the auctioneer when he promises you can “get it” if you’ll just increase your bid. He may just be fibbing a little bit.
While not technically part of the convention itself, room parties take place on Friday and Saturday night. It’s a great chance to meet and greet other fans, writers, and artists. The parties tend to start any time after 9 p.m. and run until the wee hours of the morning. On the plus side, most of them provide free drinks and snackables, so you can keep going.
Overall, ArmadilloCon is a great place for writers to be this hot July weekend. Memberships range from $15 for a single day (Friday or Sunday) to $25 for students to $50 for a full membership.
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