Yeah, well neither has Shakespeare (Ad Astra roundup)

I haven’t written here for a while because, to be honest, I haven’t had anything to write about. Sorry.

But there was this convention that I got back from yesterday and I’ve been digesting it in my head. Happily this was a much, much more pleasant experience than my last con experience.

Here’s a roundup of the highlights from my perspective.

Sat on a panel about Stephen King moderated by Rio Youers. He’s an amazingly fun guy and has a true passion for King. So that was great, and I felt a little bit outclassed. It sucks that the panel was scheduled opposite the opening ceremony and the panel was just barely outnumbered by the audience. Happily Rio’s later reading was much better attended, and his demonic typewriter story was wonderfully manic and creepy.

Had an amazing time on the swords panel with K.W. Ramsay and Erik Buchannan. Some hilarity in that we were mostly in some state of Saturday Morning At A Con, but nobody lost an eye, we had great engagement from our audience and it’s always fun to play with swords.

Next year, gladiator pit. We have to make that happen.

Speaking of awesome audience engagement, Derwin Mak and I managed to have an amazing talk about SF/F from China, Japan and Korea later the same day.

And then the madness began. Readings by Matt Moore and Rio Youers provided me with a much needed horror reading track to enjoy. Matt totally teased with his incomplete reading of The Leaving which is apparently available legitimately online, sadly I didn’t catch where so tell me in the comments!

I stopped by the Brain Lag party and picked up a copy of Hugh A. D. Spencer’s new book, Extreme Dentistry. Hugh introduced me to the… delights… of traditional Mormon Cuisine. Thanks Hugh. Thanks.

And then there was Michael Matheson and Matt’s reading from The Empire Striketh Back.

Full details of the madness that transpired at that event can be found on Michael’s blog. Needless to say it was an absolute riot. I will definitely be down for this brand of convention hi jinks again. Angela Keeley’s reading of My Immortal was transcendent. I contributed a truly awful piece of Star Wars / Pacific Rim flash fiction which I might be enticed to post here with sufficient peer pressure.

Sunday found Adam Shaftoe, K. W. Ramsay, David Lamb and I sitting in the green room chatting when each of us realized he had to go to a panel. Imagine our somewhat bemused surprise when we discovered we were all on the same panel. Adam has done an excellent job of summarizing that panel on his blog, and I strongly recommend everybody go read it.

All in all what Ad Astra proved is that a convention attended with a bunch of great friends who all relax and have a good time together can very easily become a very successful convention. Many laughs were had. Many books were bought. We may have even learned something along the way.

And, hey, I just read a bunch of horror authors I didn’t know before and have opinions and stuff. So tomorrow an article about Laird Barron, Thomas Ligotti, Jeff Vandermeer and the new weird!

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