Monday, August 5, 2019

Armadillocon 41, Day 3 Part 1

Jennifer Juday throws a heck of a party. Armadillocon is the work of FACT: Fan Association of Central Texas. I was told that when FACT picks the show chair, all responsibilty goes with the appointment. This year, it was Jennifer Juday; and just as a participant, I was impressed with her organization and attention to detail. She had help, of course. For me, that was Charles Spiros who was (again this year) tasked with making sure that the rooms were set up right and all was ready for each breakout session.

Sunday starts at 11:00 AM, and the first panel discussion that I attended was "Lunar Vision: 50 Years After Apollo." NASA was represented by the chair, John Gibbons, and panelists Bill Frank, and Al Jackson. Bill Ledbetter and Moriba Jah brought other space program experience to the dais. Even roboticist Robin Murphy flew NASA simulators. So, the fundamentals were agreed on. The panel also seemed to agree on the need to engage (or continue) the culture of competence that accepts applicants and promotes them independent of their race and gender. What was not clear to the prognosticators was how the next 50 years will unfold. We have many possible futures.

The Lunar Vision Panel
From there, I went to the Dealer's Room and also walked the Art Show. The Art Show deserved more attention. As is typical of a scifi con, the talent was unarguable and the visions were grand and insightful. But I have plenty on the walls already and still one original behind the couch here in my office and two more flat on a bookshelf. Among the metal and enamel jewelry, this particular gallery does traditionally include a wide rack of pens in hand-turned wood and metal. But I still need to find one that fits my hand perfectly. 

At 2:00 PM I was on a crime panel: "The Perfect Heist." I expected something more formal, but I had great time. Chair Stina Leicht was our game master as we robbed a bank deposit box in a space station orbiting Mars. The leader was GOH Rebecca Roanhorse. Our lockpicker was Mike Bracken. Rob Rogers blew the safe. David Afsharirad held the blaster. I was the getaway man. Like any good heist story (or any adventure), we had surprises including betrayal, but we all got away with the loot. After the fun, I delivered a prepared statement on the mass-mediated hyper-reality of crime and alternatives to prison. And we discussed some of that.

Between panels, I spent most of my time in the dealer's room, talking to the retailers, authors, publishers, and artists. Of course, I bought more books and had them autographed.

Monsters from the Id
Forbidden Planet
Fantastic Voyages: Teaching Science Through Science Fiction
Feynman's Rainbow by Leonard Mlodinow

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