2013 Convention Schedule

First off, if you see this twice in your feeds, I’m sorry. Because it’s relevant in several places, I’m cross posting it to both my author blog and my personal one, but a day apart.

That said, to no one’s surprise, I’m raising a group of geek kids. My wife is the token non-geek, she thinks, but has either developed geeky attributes as she’s adapted to the rest of us, or she’s just letting her inner geek out to play a little more. Either way, we’re a geek family.

And we like cons. Each of us for different reasons, probably, but a lot of those cross over. Cons are fun.

I’ll be attending four conventions this year, with the possibility of yet to be scheduled day trips to a couple more depending on days off and budget at the time. This is on par with last year for me, but with some differences as one of those was World Fantasy which I went to on my own and two were day trips.

But for 2013, we’re looking at this as a minimum:

We (myself and my oldest daughter) will be at Ad Astra April 5-7. This is mostly a lit con with some other stuff thrown in. I’m looking forward to renewing a few real world friendships, conducting some interviews, going to some cool panels, and having a great time with my daughter. Tickets purchased months ago, hotel booked.

On May 24, by request as a birthday present, I’ll be taking the same daughter to Anime North. She’s in love with anime and cosplay and it seems like a natural fit. Again just the two of us. Further, I have agreed to cosplay for the event. We will both be attending as characters from Soul Eater. In her case, the heroine Maka, and in my case Professor Stein. Tickets purchased.

August 22-25, the annual family pilgrimage to the geek mecca known as FanExpo (also, I believe the third biggest con in the world after San Diego and New York comic cons). Four days of everything geek, and I do mean everything. Whatever it is, you can probably find it at FanExpo. Tickets not on sale yet, but vacation time booked.

Finally, there’s a small con starting just down the road from us, Quinte Mini Con in Belleville on November 9 & 10. Shortest drive to a con ever for us. Both daughters are in, son debating, wonderful wife to attend if she’s not working. Tickets not on sale yet, but they’re supposed to be, so probably any second, we hope.

It’s always the Year of the Geek, but it almost seems like 2013 is also the Year of the Con.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Be well, everyone.

Star Trek Novels

Once upon a time, there was a teen aged boy who loved Star Trek. He watched the show every day after school, starting just a few minutes after he got home on the bus. This was in mid 1980s, in the days before Star Trek: The Next Generation, at least two years before he even heard rumours of a new series in production.

One Saturday afternoon, stranded in the grocery store waiting for his mother to finish shopping, on a spinning book rack near the cash registers, he found a novel with the holy phrase of Star Trek on the cover and the promising title of “Web of the Romulans”. In that moment, the universe expanded and he knew he could not leave the store without that book.

And he didn’t. I didn’t. And it was the first of many, many Star Trek books. For the next decade or so, I picked up every Star Trek novel I came across, eventually collecting the first sixty or so Original Series and twenty-five-ish Next Generation numbered novels and most of the one offs published as hard covers (though I usually waited for the mass market paperback). Throw in a few of the older books discovered in used book stores and, all told, I probably had something around 100 Star Trek novels in the house. And I read a lot of them more than once.

It wasn’t necessarily about the stories because a lot of them weren’t terribly original and some of them weren’t very good. It was about the characters. More adventures for each of the main characters from each crew. In a novel, you can give them a lot more screen time, see deeper into their thoughts and their world.

I stopped buying Star Trek novels after a while, trailing off to only the big ones and ignoring the DS9 and Voyager books completely. My tastes moved on to other things, mostly, but I’d reread one once in a while. Maybe partly for nostalgic reasons to remember my own youth, but also partly to stay in touch with the characters between movies.

Recently, delving deeper into the e-book world, I’ve picked some up again. I still prefer paper books, but seem to be able to read more electronically. Portability, ease of storage, convenience. Whatever the reason, so far this year I’ve read 10 books and 7 of them have been Star Trek novels. Of the three in progress, one of those is a Star Trek story, too.

A return in excess to my youth, perhaps. It’s still about the characters, only now I’m getting back in touch, and wondering if I started with the right book. You can dive into the universe almost anywhere, I think, but it seems like Pocket Books is attempting a Star Wars: Expanded Universe type thing, picking up after the end of Nemesis. But don’t quote me. That’s just an impression based on what I’ve read so far, and maybe things will change.

Or maybe I’ll get bored after I’ve touched based with the characters enough. I’m already easing back a bit, reading one Star Trek story while I’m reading two non-Trek e-books and a paperback, but I’m not giving them up completely. While I haven’t found one yet that I could say more than “I liked it”, there’s nothing saying that every book you read has to be awesome. Liking something is good, and I mostly like Star Trek books.

Because, and I’ll say it just one more time, it’s all about the characters.

Pick a crew, pick a member of that crew, and s/he is someone’s favourite, a great many someones. Pick another, and we probably all still like them. We enjoy reading about them. We want to read more, to see the universe get bigger, to believe in the power of the Star Trek future. We understand, we identify, we enjoy.

I’m going to step out onto a limb and say that in some ways Star Trek novels are the equivalent of series romance novels for a certain segment of the reading population. Fast, easy to digest stories but with familiar characters rather than familiar plots and plot points (yes, there are some of those too).

And that’s okay. It’s more than okay; it’s Star Trek.

Live long and prosper.

Year of Celebration—February

Well January was pretty fun and had lots of great little moments in it. February is a new month and that brings new celebrations. We’re going to start off with Serpent Day. Yup, celebrate the snake. Snakes are cool, and I don’t just say that because my oldest daughter keeps one as a pet.

Serpent apparently comes from Latin, meaning roughly “something that creeps”. Sometimes guardians, sometimes evil, often reviled or misunderstood, snakes are pretty neat animals, from how they move to how they eat to the wicked and scary poisons some of them have access to.

Oh and don’t forget dragons and sea serpents in today’s celebration, either. If you can’t find it in your heart to cuddle with a snake, spend a moment in reflection on the wise and massive serpents of legend. Or, if you like, your local lake monster, who’s probably a fresh water sea serpent.

For the rest of February, there’s a lot of stuff coming up. Pick your favourite or make up your own. Can you guess which of the below celebrations sprang from my slightly odd imagination?

01        Serpent Day
02        Groundhog Day
03        The Day the Music Died
04        World Cancer Day
05        Disaster Day
06        International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
07        Ballet Day
08        Boy Scout Day
09        Read in the Bathtub Day
10        Umbrella Day
11        Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
12        Darwin Day
13        Get a Different Name Day
14        Valentine’s Day
15        Gumdrop Day
16        Do a Grouch a Favor Day
17        Random Acts of Kindness Day
18        Battery Day
19        Set some new Writing Goals Day
20        Love Your Pet Day
21        Pancake Day
22        International World Thinking Day
23        Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
24        Epic Poetry Day
25        Chilli Day
26        Tell a Fairy Tale Day
27        Polar Bear Day
28        Rare Disease Day

Be well, everyone.