Following the ArmadilloCon tradition, toastmaster K. D. Wentworth gave a humorous speech. She addressed the audience as a fourth grade schoolteacher, which she actually was for the most of her working life. She chastised SF fandom for forgetting their geeky, eccentric roots and becoming too mainstream. Then she and several other guests performed "The Fan Eye for a Mundane Guy" makeover (modeled after a then-popular television show "Queer Eye for a Straight Guy" on a guy they picked from the audience.
Note: My transcription of this speech is not completely accurate since I had to work off of a poor quality tape recording.
Pictures from ArmadilloCon 2004 can be found in my photo gallery.
Nebula Awards 2008 took place in Austin, TX on April 24-27. Being in Texas, the award ceremony had to have some Texas flavor, and that was amply supplied by the MC John Moore and the toastmaster Joe Lansdale. Moore started by explaining Texas dialect to the out-of-state folks. He said, "in Texas you don't say 'I'm going to have a glass of wine', you say 'I'm fixing to mosey down to Hospitality Suite and rustle up a Shiner Bock'. And right now I'm fixing to introduce our toastmaster. He's a kick-ass Texas writer, and I mean it literally: he founded a school of martial arts."
Joe Lansdale's speech was the highly anticipated highlight of the award ceremony. Everyone in the Texas fandom knows Lansdale is pretty damn funny. And his speech was funny indeed, although a bit rambling. I managed to remember a couple of anecdotes Joe told; for the sake of brevity, I'll compress the details which, in my opinion, didn't add much to the story. (Though what do I know? Perhaps readers adore Joe Lansdale precisely because of those details I consider rambly.)
His point was that Texas is such a weird place it can't help but inspire science fiction. Here is an incident that happened to him and an even stranger one, to another Texas writer. Lansdale also listed his rules for the attendees of science fiction conventions.
(Later at the ArmadilloCon 2008 Joe Lansdale told more stories from his life on the Campfire Stories panel. They can be found in my blog post.
Michael Moorcock, who was bestowed a title of SFWA grandmaster, had his own funny stories to tell about life in Texas -- and why he likes it here.
Pictures from the Nebula awards can be found in my photo gallery.
Description in the program book: Was there a homoerotic subtext to Lord of the Rings? Is subtext in the eye of the beholder, or is Spec Fic friendlier to GLBT characters and readings than the mainstream? Panelists discuss the perception of alternative sexualities in SF/F.
Panelists: Alexis Glynn Latner (moderator), Lee Martindale, Jess Nevins, Selina Rosen, Mel. White
What was it really about:
The discussion didn't focus so much about a relationship between Frodo and Sam (though there was some speculation), or even whether SF is friendlier to gay / lesbian / bi /transsexual (GLBT) characters than mainstream literature. Mostly it revolved around fan fiction, especially slash fiction.
Pictures from ApolloCon 2007 are in my photo gallery.
Official Synopsis: Cuddling with the computer too much? We've been there too. Ways to learn (or relearn) social skills.
Panelists Eric and Cathy Raymond discuss flirting tactics and first date ideas that work well for geeks.
Synopsis from Linucon program book: Wanting to build a costume? Grab a seat for some tips and tricks from those who know.
Panelists: Kim Kofmel, Jay Maynard, Cathy Raymond
My impression. There are several ways you can win a costume award at a masquerade. By making audience laugh, for example. By being original. There is also a fairly self-explanatory "workmanship" category. This panel devoted quite a bit of space to the tips and tricks of how to make a costume, and they managed to be quite entertaining while doing that. Far from being tedious, their discussion was enlivened with all kinds of titillating details from the costume history. The panelists also spoke about the psychology of wearing a costume, and the motivation for making one in the first place. All in all, an interesting panel even for those who, like myself, have only a marginal interest in costuming.
Pictures from Linucon 2004 can be found in my photo gallery.
Read more about The Tron Guy in my blog.
The program book said: "Want to hear about the best disasters in the fandom world?" Indeed, some of the fiascos, or merely weird stories, mentioned in this panel, were real pearls.
Panelists: Janice Gelb, Patty Wells, Stephen Boucher, Brad Denton, Lynn Ward
Pictures from ArmadilloCon 2007 can be found in my photo gallery.
Description in the program book: Ever wonder why your favorite author looks a little scared when they see you? The panelists will talk about the tale-tell signs of a stalker and tell amusing stories about what has happened to them in the past. (For instance, did they call you at home during a baseball game?))
Since the stories told on this panel were somewhat personal in nature, the panelists' names were omitted.