New Mexico’s very own Bubonicon, the only science fiction and fantasy convention named after the bubonic plague, is just days away. If you’re passing through Albuquerque next weekend, consider stopping by the Albuquerque Grand Hotel (conveniently close to the Sunport) and joining the insanity.
Don’t let the name scare you off. Actual cases of bubonic plague are relatively rare.
I mean, sure, if you want to get technical about it, New Mexico does have more cases of plague per year than most places (which have 0). But, you know, relatively speaking, your chances of contracting the plague while attending Bubonicon 41 are quite small.
I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I always have a fantastic time at Bubonicon. You can find the full schedule for the weekend’s festivities here. Below the cut, I’ve posted my schedule for this upcoming weekend.
Thursday, August 27:
Bubonicon pre-party! This is where envelopes get stuffed, swag bags get assembled, and other last-minute preparations happen. What better excuse could there be for hanging out with Bubonicon 41 Guests of Honor Mike Cassutt & Peri Charlifu and Toastmistress Carrie Vaughn?
Friday, August 28:
10:55 — Loading flats for the art show and driving them to the hotel
16:00 — PANEL: “Robots Gone Wild: The 4th Law”
How do robots in fiction go wrong? How can they get around Asimov’s Three Laws? Does creating a robot in “our own image” automatically cause problems? Are the Three Laws still relevant in SF today? At what point do robots stop being artificial and more like humans in metal flesh? Which robots in fiction should call an attorney right now?
Panelists: Terry England, Victor Milan, Laura J. Mixon, Jerry Weinberg, and Ian Tregillis (moderator)
The first panel of the convention! (No pressure, Tregillis.) It should be a lot of fun. The news has been full of relevant stories lately, so we’ll have no shortage of things to talk about.
21:30 — READING: 50 Minutes with Ian Tregillis
Will I read an excerpt from the Milkweed Triptych? Will I read from Wild Cards? Will I pass out candy and spend the hour delighting people with Balinese shadow puppets? Come find out. (There will be chocolate.)
Saturday, August 29:
12:00 — PANEL: “Blind Science: SF & Pop Culture”
Is science awareness needed more than ever? Are children being taught basic scientific facts and concepts any more? How do we “market” scientific concepts to a soundbite audience? In SF, what is necessary to make pseudo-science seem real? Does made-up science do a disfavor to the audience? Is the ongoing “educational crisis” destroying SF? If science is not promoted, where will the next generation of genre readers and fans come from? Is this a permanent decline? How can our nation turn this scientific weakness around?
Panelists: Diana Gabaldon, Emily Mah, John Jos. Miller, Ian Tregillis, and Laura J. Mixon (moderator)
I predict a lively and energetic discussion. Especially if the other panelists try to dismiss my “Explodes the Brains of Anybody Who Disagrees With Me” ray as “pseudo-science”.
14:00 — PANEL: “The Publish-ocalypse: The Economy & the Genre”
Layoffs have occurred in the publishing world, magazines have folded and authors’ books are not being bought by major chains. How much effect is the economic crash having on the SF/Fantasy field? Waht is the state of the business side of our field? Are authors getting support from book companies? Is self-publishing better right now? Have SF sales stayed steady as people look for escapism? Can the genre survive?
Panelists: Emily Mah, John Pelan, Ian Tregillis, Bob Vardeman, and Steve Gould (moderator)
It won’t be all doom and gloom. We promise.
15:00 — MASS AUTOGRAPHING SESSION
Bring your copies of Inside Straight and Busted Flush. Otherwise I won’t have anything to do but look embarrassed while the lines for Carrie Vaughn, George R. R. Martin, Connie Willis, and Diana Gabaldon wrap around the hotel. (But it will be good practice for next year’s mass autographing session, when I’ll be sitting there in the vain hope somebody brings a copy of my own book for signing…)
Those are just my programming items. There are so many great talks, panels, readings, and presentations on the schedule that I want to attend that I’m not entirely certain how I’ll fit in time to eat over those three days. Better yet, my friend and web designer Richard Mueller is coming all the way from Minneapolis to join the fun. It’ll be his first visit to Bubonicon. I’m fairly certain he won’t contract the plague.
Reminder: Bitter Seeds is now available for pre-order on Amazon!