Returned home from Armadillocon

At the end of every convention, I feel like the only adequate report that can be offered is this: I survived. I love conventions. I get to meet very cool people from all over the country and the world and we discuss important questions like “Could Red Sonja kick Conan’s ass?” and “What are you doing in the ePublishing sphere and is it working?” You know, the highs and lows of pure geekery.

I could namecheck lots of people, but I would like to give a shout out to my workshop participants who all seemed very upbeat and positive at the end of the workshop, despite all of the efforts of the instructors to turn them into the cynical shells of men that Matt Bey and I have become after years of working in the field of SF/F. Thanks for signing up and I hope you encourage other aspiring writers you know to sign up in the future! Also, thanks to Stina Leicht for running the show, and organizing everything down to the point of a much better vegetarian sandwich than I would have otherwise gotten for lunch! Go Stina!

(You know who Stina Leicht is, right? She wrote this:)

I attended some awesome things, including panels with people, all very cool. I also attended some readings by Martha Wells, Matt Bey, Patrice Sarath, Michelle Muenzler, and Rob Rogers. In particular, I’d like to point out Rob Rogers because I discovered that has written what sounds like an excellent and timely sequel to Devil’s Cape, and he has just released that fine first novel full of superheros and circus freaks out into the world as an eBook you could go pick up right now!

Let’s see, who did I meet…

I’m missing people. I know I’m forgetting people. If I forgot you, I’m sorry, but this is devolving into such a pimp-thread, I may have to get a gold cane and a cape just to get to the end…

One topic of constant conversation among the con-goers was how low attendance was at cons all over the country, how people just weren’t showing up. There were people I expected to meet that weren’t there, at all. I know times are hard, but it’s hard to see it happening right there in front of me among one of the best conventions in all of the south.

FenCon is coming. I won’t be there, but I wish I could. If you’re in Texas, go. It’s a great Con. Lots of cool people, awesome panels, and good times will be had.

The journey was long. Texas is in a serious drought. When I drove in, it was raining so hard in Louisiana that I had to pull over and rest along the side of the road. I crossed the border into Texas and there was an instant shift from green to brown. There’s this big Catfish shack on the border between Texas and Louisiana, and the rear of it is green, out by the dumpsters, but the front of it is brown where people are parking their pickup trucks. Drive down into Austin and see how desolate it’s become there. Everyone’s zeroscaping their yards. Everyone’s talking about the politics of water and the death of the aquifer that’s been open for business too long, too long, and too widely. There’s a reason people weren’t building up so much before, you know. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to push into the hill country. It’s because there isn’t enough water for everybody. Once upon a time, a farmer would stand up in the courtroom and say that, and people would respect him. These days, they just laugh him down. 100 years is a long time until everything runs out. Lots of money to be made between then and now. Who cares that it is an eyeblink of a protozoa clinging to a grain of the sand of time? They don’t. They don’t care what world will be left for the people after them whom they will never meet. By then, they’ll be long gone. Pull the water up from the ground. Keep building above the aquifers. Retail malls and outlet malls and housing complexes as far as the eye can see, because 100 years from now, when these empty concrete shells collapse upon their imperfect construction, designed for less than 100 years life, there won’t be a person left on this ground that has a choice about it, and by then all the money accumulated will help drive the family ever east, ever east, ever east, back where there is an ocean and some mountains that will stay up above the rising waters of the great, big melt.

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