Monday, February 21, 2011

Back from ConDFW

I returned from ConDFW yesterday. Things went very well, perhaps better than I would have expected.

I got off at the time I wanted. I picked up the rental car and was on the highway by 3:15 p.m. Friday. I arrived at the Crowne Plaza by 5:30 and very quickly ran into Keith West, Bill Ledbetter, Sam Taylor, Michelle Muenzler and Brad and Sue Sinor.

I brought some books with me and left copies of "Texas & Other Planets" with Zane Melder of Edge Books and Willie Siros in the dealers room.

Two of the first people I met were David and Mary Gray, of the Buzz Blaster radio workshop fame. David said they have decided, with the number of venues that publish s-f shrinking by the day, if not the hour, that they are starting up their own web zine to give folks another place to publish.

I promised them I would submit a story, which I have already done. The ezine will start in April and publish four stories in four issues per year. It is called Four Star Stories. The web page is already up, go check it out.

Opening ceremonies were at 8 p.m. One interesting thing happened during the opening ceremonies, when the con committee announced they were having a fundraising silent auction. Someone's uncle died and left them an enormous collection of memorabilia - most of it apparently being science fiction. The con committee was selling it off.

Two of the movie posters were not genre-related, though; both the one for "Apocalypse Now" and "The Blues Brothers" were signed by the cast.

During the opening ceremonies, I sat in the front row between Brad Foster, and Mark Finn - who happens to own the local movie show in Vernon, Texas. Mark started to drool when he saw both posters, but especially the one for "The Blues Brothers". He looked up at the large poster and read off the signed names in amazement;

"John Belushi!"
"Dan Ackroyd!"
"Ray Charles!"
"Aretha Franklin!"
"Oh-my-God James m********** Brown!"

I have this small idiosyncrasy that when I laugh uncontrollably my knees buckle, and I laughed so hard I pitched forward and fell onto my hands and knees onto the floor. I got back up as quickly as I could, but I still laughed for ten minutes.

Finn later commented on his Facebook page: "I nearly killed Lou Antonelli by invoking the power of James Brown. Haaiioow!"

People who saw me keel over thought something was wrong or my chair had been pushed. It's not the first time this has happened; I fell out my chair laughing at a joke James Hogan told at ArmadilloCon in 2009.

The number of guests and attendees was definitely up from last year, when the event came on the heels of a nasty ice storm. Jack McDevitt, who was the Guest of Honor, couldn't make it because the Atlanta airport was shut down. He came this year, and I was able to talk to him as well as this year's GOH, Tim Powers. I was on a panel with Powers. though not with McDevitt, who still remembered me from the Nebulas in 2007. We talked in the dealers room, and he opined that "Texas & Other Planets" is a great title for a collection.

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