Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Need Your Creativity (or OSFest 3 Programming part 2)

We are planning a few panels at OSFest this summer that will require input.

"What If?" is designed to investigate various scenarios that will challenge the creativity and imagination of the panelists. Assorted "What-If" scenarios will be collected in a hat and drawn by the moderator. The panelists will that have to imagine the consequences of what would happen, determine the results and flesh out the events that lead up to their result. This is where I need your help. I would like suggestions on scenarios they could use. Things like: What if Dresden moved to Omaha? What if the Tardis materialized on Babylon 5 or 4? What if the Apollo program had not been cancelled? If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them. Email me at or and let's get them included.

What's your favorite starship? In "Starship Matchup" we will be pitting various war birds and battle cruisers against each other to see how they would stack up in a fight. Can the Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk withstand the might of a Super Star Destroyer? Can the Serenity go toe-to-toe with Minbari Sharlin Class Warcruiser? Use the above email addresses to send us your favorite vessel and what ever stats you can find regarding their abilities and see who has the best ship in their fleet.

We will also have several trivia/game shows this year. Matt McKeever will be bringing the Match Game to fannish life. Dylan Nigh will be running a session of Ninja Assassination, along with Fanboy Feud and Password with Joe Carver.

There will be over a hundred activities this year at OSFest, over the next few weeks I hope to offer you a sample of many of them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

OSFest 3 Programming (part 1)

I got a little behind on writing blogs this month because I have been working on the programming schedule for OSFest 3 this July. They have given me a couple more rooms to play with so I have been adding new ideas to the schedule for this year. Over the next few weeks I will be bringing you some of my thoughts on that scheduling and asking for your advance participation in some of it.

This year we have moved the video gaming room down to the Executive Board room and are converting two (2) hotel rooms into panel rooms. Readings will be moved out of the Con Suite and into one of these hotel/panel rooms and the "Coffee with…" will be in the Con Suite. We will be subdividing the hotel's breakfast area into Artist Alley, Table Top gaming, and a Workshop area giving everyone more chances to do things. And barring another storm event right before the convention, we will be doing demos in the Grassy Knoll right outside the pool area. There will be a lot happening this year.

Each year I break the schedule into Tracks. Tracks allow me to ensure a balanced agenda for everyone attending the convention. This year the Tracks include: Literary, Art, Costuming, Anime, Science, Gaming, Trivia Games, Fan, and Media events. Interspersed in those Tracks will be many opportunities to meet and talk with our Guest of Honor. The most intimate session will be the "Coffee with…" sessions in the Con Suite both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Be sure to stop by registration early to sign up for these to make sure you get a spot. Saturday morning we will have Coffee with the Author GOHs, Coffee with the Artist GOH, and Coffee with the Anime GOH. Sunday morning will be Coffee with the Science GOH and Coffee with the Toastmasters. Oh did I mention these will be held in the Con Suite, so there will be coffee (and much more) available.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Convention Season continued: Demicon 21

I am sitting here having breakfast this morning of the final day of Demicon 21 staring at the USS Enterprise float from Trek Fest (held in Riverside IA) reflecting on the events that have already occurred.

I learned an important costuming lesson Friday night, adhesives used to hold Velcro to fabric won't hold on vinyl. I wore a newly constructed Klingon uniform to opening ceremonies and the decorative belt popped apart. I have now sewn the attachment into place for the next time I take the costume for a test drive. I am also going to have to learn how to comfortably wear my forehead ridge appliance.

This year, in keeping with their pirate theme, the Trans-Iowa Canal Company play pirated Vampire Hunter D. The actual title was Zombie Hunter D and it had all the puns and bad jokes that we come to love about the annual TICC skit. It was even approved by PETZ, People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies – no zombies were hurt in the performance of their play.

The party floor was busy after that Friday night, the same night OSFest ran its room party. The Holiday Inn in which I am sitting is a five floor facility and they blocked off the five floor for their con suite and party floor. Always a good idea.

Their art show has greatly improved. Not that they have ever been slackers in this department but they have found some really good new artists to add to the ones they already had. Their Blinkie workshop has expanded their hours and were over both Saturday and Sunday (Yes, it will be opening again later today). There is a lot of pirate art(not pirated art) around the convention as their them is: Everything is Better with Pirates and their artist GOH is Don Maitz – who does a lot of pirate imagery in his art. I wonder if those kids in the Scavenger Hunt last night ever found the Klingon dressed like a pirate they were looking for?

Mai Tran prepared the OSFest room party in an Alice In Wonderland theme. But there were also some other interesting parties Friday night. John & Denise Garner had their Karaoke party both nights, as well as the Steampunk Airship: the Brass Falcon. Image the bridge of a dirigible, constructed inside a hotel room. They even offered to let me steer. The Chicago in 2012 Worldcon™ bid rounded out the parties, other than the Fan GOH, Greg Parmentier running through the hall with a portable keg of home-brew strapped to his back.

So, all-in-all, Demicon was the usual fun experience we have come to expect from the Des Moines Science Fiction Society. Save the last weekend in April/May1 next year and join in the fun.

Remember: OSFest Is Coming!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

OSFest 3’s Poet Guest of Honor

This year the two-fer on our Author Guest of Honor is Carolyn Clink. Carolyn is an accomplished poet as well as the wife of Robert Sawyer. Her poetry has appeared in ANALOG (July 1996 and October 1997), in all five volumes of NORTHERN FRIGHTS (Canada's acclaimed horror anthology series), in the SF anthologies TESSERACTS 4 and 7, in Weird Tales, in the webzine Chiaroscura (where she is also the Assistant Poetry Editor), in Tales of the Unanticipated, Star*Line, and Gaslight, and in the Canadian SF magazines TransVersions and On Spec. Her poetry has also appeared in the anothologies: TESSERACTS 4 and 7, THE STARS AS SEEN FROM THIS PARTICULAR ANGLE OF NIGHT: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SPECULATIVE VERSE, and LAND/SPACE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF PRAIRIE SPECULATIVE FICTION.

Her poetry has been collected in chapbooks: SNAPSHOTS (May, 2007) by believe your own press, and CHANGING PLANES (2000) by Junction Books.

She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and the Algonquin Square Table poetry workshop. She studied Astrophysics at the University of Toronto and earned a Bachelor of Technology degree from Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnic University. She is currently working on an Honors Bachelor degree at York University and a Digital Imaging Certificate from Humber College

She had been Poet Guest of Honor at several conventions already, so she will know the ropes as we put her through her paces. Sorry, I guess it was the cowboy hat she's wearing in that photo. Let's all welcome Carolyn Clink to OSFest 3 this July 23-25, 2010. Memberships are still available at:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

2010 Convention Season: Free Comic Book Day

Not all that happens within fandom happens at an actual convention; special events will draw fans together and give us the most important pieces of science fiction conventions – people talking to people. Omaha fans were out supporting local comic book retailers this weekend from here to Sioux City, IA. But more importantly fans came together to do what they do best. The costumes I actually saw and the ones I have seen on Facebook were truly awesome. I expect to see all you costumers this July at OSFest and in our Masquerade Contest, you guys are too good not to enter. Fans of Ray Park were lined up around Krypton Comics for a change to meet the man you brought several major villains to life, and train several heroes in how to beat them. Artists were lined up bringing life to the imagination they see with and giving us the vistas we all appreciate. But the most important activity of the day was fans having a chance to meet and share their lifestyle with others who dream of a better world. So if you didn't get to Krypton Comics yesterday, I hope you made time to go to Legend Comics, Dragon's Lair, Ground Zero Comics, or a comic retailer in your hometown.

What's coming up?

Next Saturday The Usual Suspect's movie crew will assemble for the last matinee showing of Ironman 2 at the Rave Theatre. Come and join them. The only thing better than seeing a great summer flick is seeing it with fellow fans so you can share your insights afterwards.

The following weekend – May 14-16 – will be the annual science fiction convention in Des Moines, IA: Demicon 21. This will be a full weekend of fannish interaction and only a two hour drive away. If you have an inkling to find out what conventions are all about, this is your chance. OSFest will be hosting an "Alice In Wonderland" room party on Friday night, so be there.

You have been warned, let the season continue!