Guest blog: Chris McMahon

Posted: 23rd March 2009 by onyxhawke in Uncategorized
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chris signing

                                                Con Report — Lunacon 2009

Hilton Rye Town



Arriving late on Thursday after 30 hours of flying, I wandered around in search of a steak to cure me all that airplane food; and give me a much needed injection of iron and protein. I think I was slightly bewildered, perhaps looking for the day I had lost somewhere along the way. Thankfully all my luggage arrived intact. Coming via Tokyo, I was wondering what the Japanese student who might have ended up with my bag in Narita airport would have made out of the suitcase full of Calvanni novels.

A very entertaining and interesting few days with lots of new friends made. The con suite was a nice addition that doesn’t seem to appear in Australian cons — probably because of their smaller size. My endless quest for tea — that weird drink of Aussies and Englishmen — led me to explore all possible sources of hot refreshment and nicely sidetracked me with the odd bit of conversation. It’s always a good sign when you don’t spend more than 5minutes in your own room (apart from sleep that is!).

My con experience got off to a good start with yet another highly entertaining reading from Dave Freer (the man is an inspired reader), then the precisely choreographed splendor of the Opening Ceremony. I enjoyed the dancing girls and elephant parade particularly and can’t imagine how the con organizers could afford to fly in so many Las Vegas showgirls.

The art show and dealer’s room were certainly bigger than anything I had seen in an Aussie con, even the national con. I was holding off to buy some fake flintlocks and had my hopes dashed when the lady didn’t exhibit on the Sunday — just goes to show if you see something you like, grab it!

I was a fly on the wall when Mike Kabongo ordered a custom portrait, so he can’t get out of putting it up on the web now J

Saturday was action packed, with heaps of good panels to choose from. I was particularly impressed when people actually turned up to my reading — including some strangers, one of whom which bought a copy of The Calvanni. The Calvanni copies I brought from Australia seemed to somehow evaporate after that, which was fantastic since I could make room for new books to take home!

Topic meandering was in full flight in the Undersea SFF panel, which partly became a discussion of the ultimate possibility of FTL travel, with Carl Fredrickson and Paul Levinson giving insightful comments from the PoV of currently understood physics (CF) and possible futures where current physics may be revised or overturned (PL)respectively. Resident Ichthyologist Dave Freer carefully ensured the chosen theme veered even further off course at every opportunity (in line with con tradition).

Peter V Brett and I sat down in a crowded Gazebo to talk about actions scenes with a bright crowd who gave me the creepy feeling that they just might know more about actions scenes than I do. I hope we gave you some good value guys. My one regret here is that I had to miss the panel on building an Evil Lair — such important knowledge is not to be lightly passed up.

I got to talk a little more about building fantasy worlds — something that might have been programmed into me before birth — at the Building a Fantasy World panel. Things certainly moved quickly and I was just a little nervous to be sitting in between Jim Minz from Baen and Ginger Buchanan from Ace with Mercedes Lackey at the end of the table. I soon forgot my nerves as I tried to get a word in! You can be assured I drew in a breath to speak at least twenty times. This oxygen was not wasted, allowing me to oxygenate my jet-lagged brain.

By this time the con seemed to be flashing by.

Sunday morning I was dodging Near Earth Objects along with Bill Engfer, Chuck Gannon, Edmund Meskys and the Earth. That was a great panel — I think I could feel the brainpower in the room — which was packed full — ticking over as we considered various ways of examining the composition of approaching bodies, ways to divert them and the sticky issues for the lower sized bodies — say 350m across of less — which are not dinosaur killers. That tricky moral ground when people start asking questions like: How Much Would That Cost? Or Where Did You Say it was Going to Hit Again? Hmmm. . .

I was pleased to end the con on a serious note with the triumphant Chimera Cordon Bleu, where delicious recipes for the preparation for magical creatures were discussed. You will be pleased to know that we solved the Hunger Crises by developing a great way of cooking Hydra necks & heads (thanks Dave Freer for the inspired recipe based on cooking giraffe necks!) and also worked to bring ease to the magic-worker’s kitchen by exploring the idea of self-roasting Phoenix birds. Makes the mouth water doesn’t it? Illustrated Cookbook coming soon!

To the Lunacon organizers and all the workers who made it happen — thanks for a great weekend!

Chris McMahon