Friday, August 22, 2008

Everybody I know was already at Armadillocon

When I got home from vacation and reviewed all my e-mail, I realized that the launch party for the Space Squid issue that my story is in was going to be here in Austin, because of the Armadillocon sci fi convention. I didn't even realize that Space Squid was an Austin-based magazine. But this meant I could actually GO to the launch party.

Then I thought...maybe I should go to the convention too. And it was ridiculous that I'd never been to Armadillocon before. So I thought, well, if I'm going to be a big-time scifi writer who gets published in actual magazines printed on real paper, maybe I should go to the convention too. Sure, they wanted the ungodly sum of $30 for a day's admission, but I had a bunch of cash burning a hole in my pocket. I'd come back from vacation to find out that my project team had won a prize at work, and they gave us all some cash.

So I thought, what the heck, I'll go to the convention. I called a friend of ours and she promised to come help Tanya with the kids while I disappeared for a day. And I went.

Now, the next morning when I got up to leave, I dithered. I delayed. I thought, I'm not going to know anyone there, it's going to be weird.

But the website said Stephen Brust would be at one of the first events. And I really enjoyed the Staples convention that I went to. So I managed to get in my car and get there on time.

Then as soon as I walk in, I see two guys from my college dorm. Then I see the wife of one of those guys...she was ALSO in my dorm at the University of Texas. And eventually I run into Kimm Antell, who though she didn't actually live in my dorm (at least not the same year that I lived in Jester Center) hung out with the same group. Kimm's a volunteer with the con. She takes me all around, introduces me to people, shows me the game room and the con hospitality suite. In the game room I sit down and learn a new dice/card game called "To Court the King" and have a blast.

And I run all over the convention, finding new books, new authors, new magazines to submit to, and new techniques. It's a blast.

The con is really different. I was expecting something like a comic/gaming/scifi convention. But this one was heavily focused on writers and writing. And they do a 3-day writer's workshop every year, so next year, I'm going to attend that.

Later I see the husband of one of my coworkers at the con. Okay, it makes sense really that there would be a lot of overlap among scifi fans, my college crowd, and the Austin computer industry, so I should drop the surprise. But it was a ton of fun to have it turn out that way.

Finally I go to the launch party for Space Squid, where they keep referring to me as "our prize winner." It was hard to get my head through the door of the bar, but I managed. There were about 15 people there. We played a flash fiction game where you get a topic and a prop and have to write something in 15 minutes. I got the topic "Fabulous Demonic Sex" with the prop "grapefruit." I'd never played a flash fiction game before, but I wrote a story about demon sex and then I read it out loud in front of these people I've just met.

All in all, just about a perfect weekend.

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