the Little Red Reviewer

Immortal ConFusion.

Posted on: January 20, 2013

Long story short – It was ah-maz-ing.   another weekend of my geekgirldreams brought to us by the very hardworking folks at Stilyagi.

but, in case you are interested in the short story gone overly long, here ya go:

Last year at ConFusion I was about authors, authors, authors, and just for good measure more authors (also, one particular author, but that’s a different story). But this year I wanted to branch out a bit and see what else was going on. Luckily, the programming made that even easier for me. The sheer variety of programs and panels was amazing. There was an entire Science track, a Doctor Who track, lots of guest artists doing artwork in the hotel atrium,  and a Studio Ghibli movie marathon on top of all the amazing author readings and “such-and-such in Sci and Fantasy” panels.  And the best part? I was totally cool about this year. A little bit less of the running up to authors and babbling ohmygodIloveyourbookssomuchwillyoucomehomewithmecanicookyoudinner going on. Also, I cosplayed for the first time. Now that I’ve worn a tail, I can see why people don’t want to take them off.

Friday afternoon was saying hi to friends, hitting up the dealer room, finding the consuite (on the first floor, down the hall from all the panel rooms = WIN) and playing “spot the famous person” (omg, there’s John Scalzi! and he has a ukelele!). I made it to 2 panels on Friday, Fun with Liquid Nitrogen, and the Opening Ceremonies of the Con.

Liquid Nitrogen with Dr. Jennifer Skwarski.   I always thought if the stuff touched you, that part of your body would shatter off. not so! (wait, scifi movies lied to me??) Apparently you can splash it all over your hand and be OK, although I don’t recommend trying that.  Also, it makes a really neat snapping noise when splashed all over the floor. Demonstrations included the amazing whirring around ping pong ball, frozen vodka, frozen soap bubbles, crunchy expanding balloons, and of course making ice cream!

The epic immersion blender of awesome.  Also, liquid Nitrogen ice cream! Epic brain freeze.

The epic immersion blender of awesome. Also, liquid Nitrogen ice cream! Epic brain freeze.

Not too much to say about the Opening Ceremonies, except that Mary Robinette Kowal had the best ever marionette story.  I’m hoping she posted it on her blog somewhere, because if I try to tell it I’ll mess it up, and also it’s not my story to tell.  And, Yes, she had her Hugo. Perhaps it was a prop for this?   Also, Charles Stross has a really cool accent.

Friday night was (too) much drinking and schmoozing. I met Wolfgang Diehr, author of Fuzzy Ergo Sum, his continuation of H. Beam Piper’s famous series.  Mr. Diehr is about 9 feet tall.  I made someone laugh with my “I’m actually five foot nine, I just wear special shoes” joke.

me and Wolfgang Diehl, author of Fuzzy Ergo Sum. He is soopah tall.

me and Wolfgang Diehl, author of Fuzzy Ergo Sum. He is soopah tall.

Saturday was the crazy amazing fun.  There was a panel I wanted to go to every single hour, and with unlimited energy and no need to eat I would have done exactly that. Still, I made it to plenty of panels, got a ton of books autographed, chatted with some awesomely cool artists, met some great cosplayers, was flattered that Saladin Ahmed remembered me, had a laugh with Pat Rothfuss, bought some gifts for people, and oh yeah, was dressed up.

Here’s some of the panels I went to on Saturday-

The Enduring Storytelling of Doctor Who, with Sarah Zettel, Cliff Goldstein, and Geoff Landis – what a fun panel!  The panelists talked about how they grew up with the Doctor, and how the new show is so very different from the old show but in many ways much better. There was much discussion of favorite Doctors and favorite episodes. The audience was fairly evenly split between new fans (like me) and fans who have been watching for 20-some years.

Cosplay Photography secrets and Techniques with Kelly Treppa. Professional photographer and cosplay hobbyist Kelly Trappa knows cosplay from both sides of the lens. She talked about which camera settings work best in different environments, how to approach someone whose photo you would like, how best to respond if someone asks to take your photo. I wished there had been more time spent on examples of poses, as that’s what i need the most help on, as you can see from this dorky photo Mike took of me in the hotel room. Updated to add:  Kelly’s Immortal ConFusion photos

Languages of Fantasy and Science Fiction with Howard Andrew Jones, Mary Turzillo, Pete Klecha and Violette Malan.  this panel went in some unexpected directions, but was absolutely fascinating, especially the discussion of world building through language. If your fictional society doesn’t have a concept of damnation, why would a character ev+er say “damn it to hell!”, and things like that. the author has to come up with some other kind of swearing.

The Charles Stross reading.  Mr. Stross is a trooper.  The guy endured flying with a sinus infection, jetlag,  crazed fans, and reading for over 45 minutes non-stop with a cough and sore throat.  As you may have guessed, this was a standing room only reading.  He read from an upcoming Laundry Files novel and an upcoming something-else novel.  Charles. Stross. Is. Amazeballs.

Mister Charles Stross being his awesome self.

Mister Charles Stross being his awesome self.

Mars: Before One Small Step for Man, with Bill Higgins, Geoff Landis, Karl Schroeder and Nilton Renno.  I would like to know how the ConFusion organizers got so many Ex-Nasa guys and Mars experts together in one place.  They talked about different missions they’d worked on and what worked and what didn’t, the kinds of computing power the rover has (not much), piggybacking on pre-tested ComSat chasses, and that better faster cheaper is an awful idea.  I wish this panel had been 2 hours, I wanted to hear everything these fellows had to say.  Have I mentioned how much science programming there was? A TON.

I had grand plans to party on Saturday, but thanks to minimum sleep on Friday and I saw a ton of people dressed up all over the place. but it was a crazy long day and I was an old lady and conked out at like 10:30. In case you are counting, this would be the second night in a row that I fell asleep with a Doctor Who book on my face.  However, zonking out that early allowed me to get up super early on Sunday, so I could go to this panel:

Religion in SF/F with Alastair Reynolds, Brian McCellan, Howard Andrew Jones, Michael DeLuca and Saladin Ahmed.  and yes, there was much chuckling when we all realized we were in a panel about religion at 10am on a Sunday.  The official description of the panel had some blah blah blah about how religion in SF/F is usually only used by the bad guys, and everyone on the panel (and I think everyone in the audience) thought that was silly and rather insulting.  Ahmed and Jones have very devout characters in their books, McClellan has realistic depictions of historic views towards religion in his debut novel, and Reynolds talked about a religious virus in one of his books. There was talk of C.S.  Lewis, Tolkien, Herbert, Arthur C. Clarke, Mary Doria Russell, and many more. It was agreed that religious characters add depth and interest to the story, but it’s no fun should the author cross the line in proselytization.  Personally, I love running into religious characters in speculative fiction. As a teen, this was a surprisingly good way for me to learn about religions outside my own.

Michael deLuca, Alastair Reynolds, Howard Andrew Jones, Brian McClellan, Saladin Ahmed

Michael deLuca, Alastair Reynolds, Howard Andrew Jones, Brian McClellan, Saladin Ahmed

And then it was time to clean up, check out of the hotel, and go on our next adventure: Our first visit to Ikea. and wow, was that an experience!  just, WOW.  husband and I looked a bit shellshocked on the walk back to the car.

I’m working on another post that’s photos and some other stuff.

oh, you wanted to see what I was wearing?  well, Ok.  You survived this entire rambling post, i guess you deserve it.   any guesses as to who I’m supposed to be? It’s not in the picture, but I carried around a big red apple, cuz she loves eating apples.


hint: I am not a bubblegum pirate.

14 Responses to "Immortal ConFusion."

We had a great time with you and Mike! I’ll have to talk to you more about panels you saw that I missed. And you looked great in your costume!


I’ll stop into the store later this week and we can gossip, because I want to hear about the panels you went to that I couldn’t go to. I need to bring you back your Lemony Snicket anyways.


That is so cool that you got to say hi to Saladin Ahmed and Patrick Rothfuss. And Kowal has a marionette show? wtf! Cons are so much fun because you just don’t know what you are going to run into. Like liquid nitrogen.


Pat Rothfuss is the friendliest guy ever. he’s like everyone’s mellow uncle. Saladin is really cool too. I asked Saladin how the author D&D thing went, and he said it was a ton of fun but a little tiring. I didn’t know until this weekend, but Kowal is an award winning Puppeteer, and she does traveling marionette shows and does audiobook narration! wow! There’s a joke making the twittersphere rounds that her Opening Ceremonies speech should be eligble for a Hugo for best dramatic performance. I’d vote for it!


Wow! I’m defintely going to have to look Kowal up, especially since she did that book cover with Jim Hines!


I am green with envy!


get thee to a con! Maybe NorwesCon or WesterCon?


So, now you’re all best buddies with Patrick Rothfuss did you get the low down on his next book and more importantly when it’s out!!
Very jealous.
Great outfit.
Lynn 😀


LOL, no secrets from Rothfuss about upcoming books. it’s not something he talks about. but i did get some supah secret knowledge about upcoming books from Charles Stross.


And, can you whisper it to me? I won’t tell….:D


This post basically pushed me over the edge for going to Norwestcon this year. Not sure how the wife is going to feel about that, so I’d better start saving up brownie points.


Ah, this was fun to read. So glad you had a great experience and got to chat with some favorite authors and attend so many great panels. I plan to do more panels at cons as I get opportunities to attend them. I haven’t taken as much advantage of that in the past as I should.

I haven’t hear her speak much but I have enjoyed listening to Kowal on the Writing Excuses podcast and also on one of the live chats with Patrick Rothfuss on Geek and Sundry.

Glad you made it back safe and sound and have so many great memories.


I remember being there. I lost a lot of weight since then, about half a Backstreet Boy’s worth (So I am slightly less doorway filling) and shrunk from 9′ to 6’2″. I am also working on another Fuzzy book (my fourth.) I haven’t been to a con in a while but I hope to bump into you again when I do. And pick you back up if necessary.


hope to see you at a con soon! 🙂


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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