Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Matt Mogk: Horror Guest of Honor

Well this is a new catagory of GOH for us. We have a Horror Guest of Honor this year. Join us at OSFest 5 and meet the founder and head of the Zombie Research Society: Matt Mogk. While he holds a Masters Degree from New York University Film School, specializing in horror in cinema, he went on to receive advance combat and survival training from the French Foreign Legion
He earned a Masters degree from New York University Film School where he specialized in horror in cinema, before receiving advanced combat and survival training in the French Foreign Legion, the mercenary wing of the French Military.
Putting those two skill sets together with his lifelong interest in the Undead, Matt created the Zombie Research Society in 2007 where he is still their Head Researcher. The ZRS boasts a membership of over 60,000 zombie academics and enthusiasts on 6 continents, with dozens of local chapters. Omaha is fortunate to host one of those chapters.
But Mr. Mogk's talents don't end there. He has written two books: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Zombies and That's Not Your Mommy Anymore: A Zombie Tale. He also appeared on Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior, in the last episode of the third and final season: Vampires vs. Zombies. He along Max Brooks (author of World War Z) comprised Team Zombie.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We’re Moving Again

Well we finally did it, signed a contract with a new hotel – a bigger hotel – a hotel that should be easier to get to. The Ramada Plaza Omaha – Hotel – Convention Center/CoCO Key Water Resort will be the gathering point for OSFest 5. We will have more and larger rooms (no more converting hotel rooms into programming space), a large suite for our con suite, real suites for attendees to throw parties in, and a grand foyer to spread out registration (and hopefully speed things up.
The only down sides are: people need to reserve their rooms early to get the discounted rate, and we will again have to make all our reservations by phone to the hotel.
The discounted rate for 2012 will be $84/night for a Standard room and $144/night for a suite. But they will be real suites not just enlarged standard rooms like at the Crowne Plaza. But to get these rates you will have to book your room by April 27, 2012 or the rates will revert to their standard prices of $94/night for a Standard room and $144/night for a suite (there was no early bird discount for a suite but they normally go for $180/night). Also the room block will be released on July 13th, after which there will be no guarantee of availability. So get a room booked early and save, you will have up to 24 hours ahead of arrival to cancel your reservation without any penalties.
The rates and the room block are not available online. You will again have to actually phone the Hotel Reservations Center at either: 1-888-288-4982 or the hotel itself at: 402-547-5640. When you do be sure to ask for the OSFest or Omaha Science Fiction Education Society rate. If you use any online hotel reservation system, you will not be included in our room block. Being in that room block means our hotel guy can keep you close to the weekend's action. So droop him an email at: hotel@osfes.org, when you make your reservation so he knows your in the system and let him know if you have any special needs; like you want to throw a party.
Working together we can make the hotel experience at our new digs fun and undisturbed. Details will continue to go up at http://www.osfes.org/ until we have rocked the corner of 72nd & Grover once more.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cynthia Martin: Artist GOH for OSFest 5

Cynthia Martin (aka Cindy Martin) is a comic book artist best known for her work on the Marvel Comics Star Wars title, where she drew the covers of issues 92 & 93, then went on to pencil issues 94-107.

She began her career drawing on Ms. Victory Special #1 for AC Comics in 1985. In the early 1990's she did some very memorable work for Marvel's Web of Spider-man series as well as the afore mentions Star Wars title. She has also worked for: DC Comics (on both Wonder Woman and The Blue Beetle), Eclipse Comics, First Comics, Topps Comics (Jason Goes to Hell – The Final Friday), Dark Horse Comics (GoGirl), and a number of other small presses. She even did a stint drawing the Camp Horror Queen: Elvira, in her comic series. She was one of the few women working in mainstream American comics during that time.Recently she has been illustrating for Capstone Press and How to Draw Comic Heroes for Edge Books. She worked with Lela Dowling on Dragonflight: Graphic, a graphic novel set in Anne McCaffery's Pern universe. Her current projects include books for ABDO Publications.

"Martin's clean lines and strong sense of movement during action scenes set her apart from other Star Wars artists of the time. Her work displayed the influence of Japanese manga long before it became common in American comics." from her Wikipedia page.So join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of this distinguished artist, July 27-29, 2012 at OSFest5: The Gathering.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jack McDevitt: Author GOH for OSFest 5

I was introduced to the writings of Jack McDevitt (born 1935) with the A Talent For War (1989). Despite the title this was more of a mystery story about past happening in a future universe. From there he took me on trips into a post-apocalyptic future earth, a journal through the halls of an ancient alien travel device, and the breakup of our moon. The last three are some of his stand alone novels; he also has a couple of long running series to his credit.
The Engines of God (1994), he introduced the idea of a universe that had once been teeming with intelligent life, but contains only their abandoned artifacts by the time humans arrive on the scene. Although it was initially written as a standalone novel, the main character of The Engines of God, pilot Priscilla Hutchins (Hutch), has since appeared in five more books, Deepsix (2001), Chindi (2002), Omega (2003), Odyssey (2006), and Cauldron (2007). These books became known as Jack's Academy Series of novels. The mystery surrounding the destructive "Omega Clouds" (which are introduced in The Engines of God) is left unexplored until Omega, but it is worth the wait.
His Alex Benedict series consists of the archaeology texts: A Talent for War (1989) (also published as part of Hello Out There), Polaris (2004), Seeker (2005) - winner of Nebula Award for Best Novel, The Devil's Eye (2008), Echo (2010) and Firebird (2011)
Jack went to La Salle University, where he won the annual Freshman Short Story Contest and was published in the school's literary magazine, Four Quarters. As McDevitt explained in an interview, "I was on my way. Then I read David Copperfield and realized I could never write at that level, and therefore I should find something else to do. I joined the Navy, drove a cab, became an English teacher, took a customs inspector's job on the northern border, and didn't write another word for a quarter-century." McDevitt received a Master's degree in literature from Wesleyan University in 1971. He returned to writing when his wife, Maureen, encouraged him to try his hand at it in 1980. Of course she was right.
Meet this entertaining author at OSFest 5 – July 27-29, 2012. And despite his self-described inability to write at David Copperfield's level, I know you find his writings intriguing and fun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Bones of Convention Art Shows

One attraction seen at most conventions – Sci-Fi, Anime, and even gaming – is the Art Show. There you will find a mixed bag that might include oil paintings, acrylic, pencil, or computer generated illustrations, numbered prints, sculptures, hand-made jewelry, and even original work done right there at the convention (sometimes with input from onlookers). You can bid on the pieces, or sometimes just buy them outright.

But what goes into having an art show? Lots of things. All of the artists need to be contacted so they know where to bring their art – or where to send it if they won't be at the convention in person. Organization and planning are needed to make sure nothing gets lost. And when you purchase that glorious image, the artists need to get paid for their sales.

There is also some special furniture needed to put on an art show, called art panels, or "flats." Most of the art is in the form of paintings or drawings, and they need to be hung up on something. Hotels get pretty testy about driving nails into walls to hang art, so conventions bring in flats. It is rumored that the first art shows just had paintings lying on the floor, and you'd walk around looking down at them. That didn't end well.

OSFest used wood frame flats for the past four years. They had been constructed almost two decades ago, and served well at conventions such as Concussion, Nuke-con, AnimeNebrasKon, oh and OSFest. But wear and tear had taken their toll.

At OSFest 4 we decided to retire those venerable display boards and at OSFest 5, next July you will see art displayed on newly designed art flats. The design is very flexible, they will fit whatever room we happen to be using. It is also much lighter and compact for storage and transport. (Ask some of our volunteers how easy it was to move the old flats!) And they are intergratible with the art flats used by Constellation so either convention will be able to effective double its art show when possible.

Of course, you don't care about what the art is hanging on. The point is that a lot of work goes into producing the show, some of it as mundane as cutting PVC pipe to hang the pretty art, which is what you really want to see. So come to OSFest 5 and see what national artists have dreamed up for our enjoyment, you might even want to buy one or two to take home. See you in July.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Kudos go out to the staff of AnimeNebrasKon. Once again not only did they survive the weekend of November 4-6th,2011 but they pulled off another great convention experience. I have yet to see the figures from the weekend but from some name badge numbers I do believe they broke attendance figures again. The dealer's room at the same time seemed bigger and more crowded, but there were still great deals to be had. I understand Dylan is still alive after delivering a remarkable assortment of panels, there were several room parties (including a Tron room) around the pool, and Rob Lewis duct taped the crowd for the "One Of Us!" parade on Sunday.

But you were there, Right? If so, you know what a great time it was and if not, why not? Fandom is a group adventure. A time to meet people, share what you love about the genres you have in common, and learn about genres you haven't experienced yet. Get involved in the fannish community. AnimeNebrasKon is the last Midwest convention for the year, so now is the time to plan your calendar for 2012. Look for one you like, get a membership, plan to meet the guests, for they are often really terrific people, then go and make new friends.

OSFest 5: The Gathering will be July 27-29th, 2012, while our hotel is not confirmed yet, it will be in Omaha (it is the Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival). You can keep up with our plans at file:///H:/OSFES/Blog/2012/www.osfes.org.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The last weekend of October brought us the latest edition of the convention that Joe Haldeman built; ICON.

This last decade has been a rocky time for this venerable old friend. Where ICON began its days as a Iowa City convention run by the Science Fiction League of Iowa Students (SFLIS), it was later moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa as SFLIS gave way to the Mindbridge Foundation. Mindbridge is the fan support organization responsible for both ICON and AnimeIowa. A few years ago with declining memberships, Mindbridge decided to pull the plug on ICON. Then a couple of dedicated fans came up with a plan to save this stalwart of Midwest fandom. And for the last five years that plan has given the community an engaging intimate convention experience.

ICON 36 was another successful event and a fun time. Imagine if you will the lobby of the Marriott Hotel converted into a open air art show, a femaleized Dalek, and a plethora of room parties. Great conventions are made by the great fans that attend them. We may be nearing the end of the 2011 convention season in the Midwest but the 2012 season starts in a couple of months. Check out at least one of the area conventions, preferably one that you have not attended before, and meet some of those fans that make the convention great.

OSFest 5: The Gathering is scheduled to come together July 27-29, 2012. Come and have a great time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Back

Putting the wraps on OSFest, attending the 69th World Science Fiction convention in Reno, and taking care of a few medical problems has kept me from writing this column these past few months. But some new things are happening in the Omaha Fan community as well as OSFest 5. I will be sharing those changes and events with you over the next several months as we approach the celebration of Science Fiction and Fantasy next July 27-29th.

The first activity will help make the community stronger. This weekend at AnimeNebrasKon, we will be holding a Community Fan Forum. Join us Saturday at noon to talk about what is happening in the area and what you would like to have happen. Representatives of most of the conventions in the area will be present to listen to what you thought about their efforts and what you would like to see happen in the future.

If you can’t make that panel, there are other ways you can express your interest in the community. Join a forum, OSFES has one (http://osfes.org/Forums/index.php),
AnimeNebrasKon has another (http://forums.animenebraskon.com/viewforum.php?f=19)
and there are other groups with forums. But express your opinions or we won’t know what you want.

So let us know anyway you can. OSFest 5 will be July 27-29, 2012. Bookmark this blog or go to www.osfes.org as we keep making plans.