Monday, October 06, 2014

CONtraflow Report

I don't attend many SF conventions just because most take place in the fall and spring, when I'm in school. It's hard to get away. Fortunately, CONtraflow is local and I've been going for the past four years. I hope to continue that streak.

CONtraflow is a three day Con. I got there around 4:00 on Friday and was there till about 10:00. All I really had to do was go to the Meet the Guests party and eat a little cake afterward. I mostly visited with old friends, some writers/guests and many of the staff folks who volunteer and keep it all running and smooth. This year, Greg Benford was the Guest of Honor. I've read quite a few of his books, although not too many of his most recent.

Saturday I only had one panel, at 9:00 that night. It was about horror fiction. I sat on it with Kurt Amacker, another local writer who leans more toward the comic/graphic side of the equation. We really focused on Science fiction horror, like Alien, The Thing, etc, rather than on supernatural horror, like The Exorcist. I also listened in on some other cool panels during the day, though, one on science and faith, which was helpful to me given that I've been long working on a book on that topic. Another interesting panel was on Queer Science Fiction. That is quite a broad term and encompasses far more than "gay." Great to hear viewpoints I've never heard before. I also got to see a short fan made film from the group "Star Trek Continues." It was a take-off from the Mirror Universe episode of the original Trek series and was just excellent. The passion of the actors really showed through. I loved it.

Sunday I had two panels, a morning one on "What's next in Supernatural Literature," and an evening one on "Pulp Writers."  We had a freewheeling discussion in the morning one on all kinds of trends in the supernatural genres but couldn't arrive at a clear consensus other than most of the "creatures" we see now are likely to continue to exist in literature at various levels, either rising temporarily or falling equally temporarily.

The evening Pulp Writer panel was fun. We had four folks, up from two last year. But two of the four were the same folks from last year and they'd enjoyed it then. We, of course talked about Howard, Burroughs, Lovecraft, Smith etc. I suggested that the closest thing to modern pulp was the Hollywood blockbuster, although it often only adapts the surface aspects of pulp.

After that I went to the dealer's room and found, as I expected, lots of books on sale. I picked up a number that I didn't have, including some more in the Dumarest of Terra series by E. C. Tubb, and several William Tenn novels that I didn't have. There weren't any 'notable' finds but buying books always brings a grin to my face.

As for blogging, I missed visiting blogs over the weekend since I was only home long enough to sleep. I'm now behind on a number of things and give two tests this week so I may not be visiting blogs for a few more days. After that I will resume as normal. I do see that the blogosphere didn't really miss a beat while I was gone so I'm sure that will continue for a bit longer before my absence is noted and everything just shuts down! :)



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You had a full weekend. Smart to focus on science fiction horror. There's a lot more out there than most people realize. The Star Trek film sounds cool.

Cloudia said...

Ah, C, but you are a key blogosphere ingredient! I enjoyed this visit to the Con. Have a good week.

Ty said...

Sounds like a good time all around. Maybe I can make it out that way some year.

Speaking of "Star Trek Continues," for anyone who hasn't watched these episodes by Vic Mignogna and gang, I can highly suggest them.

Riot Kitty said...

That actually sounds like a lot of fun.

Brian Miller said...

nice...i have been to a few cons...always cool to see the costumes...i usually hit the comicons...would be cool to go to a writers i would eat up books for sale...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Glad you enjoyed yourself.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, definitely some good stuff. Star Trek Continues. I was impressed.

Cloudia, thankee. Hope to get caught up soon.

Ty, I've still got another one of those episodes to watch. I was impressed.

Riot, it was indeed.

Brian, I've only been to one Comic Con. It was fun. They don't have a lot here, though.

Patti, thanks!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, glad you had a good time. I never thought of horror as sf and supernatural though I have read and seen a little of both. I think I prefer alien sf because of the possibility, however remote, of what could be out there.

Richard Prosch said...

I haven't been to a con in ten years and sometimes I really miss them. What I miss most is the dealers room. I wonder if that old sense of finding unexpected treasure has diminished in the age of eBay?

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, yeah, SF horror is really much more realistic, or at least possible in some sense. Supernatural horror involves ghosts, demons, magic etc. Both have their places, though I like the more realistic stuff best myself.

Richard, Dealer's rooms have generally been getting smaller and smaller as far as their offerings of books, which is a trend I don't like at all.

Vesper said...

Looks like you had a good time.
Science fiction horror... that's interesting!