Sunday, July 14, 2013

Convergence 2013

Last weekend, July 4th to 7th, was CONvergence 2013, a convention held in Bloomington, MN that I've been hearing good things about for several years now. I had the privileged of being a Guest of Honor, and the double-thrill of having my good friends John Picacio, Paul Cornell, Melinda Snodgrass, and Charlie Jane Anders all there as Guests of Honor as well!

Attendance at the convention was apparently a record-breaking 6,789 persons, who somehow all fit inside the Double Tree hotel. And not only did they fit - the Double Tree has a large indoor courtyard and attendees rent rooms with patios opening on to it, strip the rooms of furnishings, and convert them into elaborately constructed party palaces. My son loved the Japanese Tea House, so every evening we stopped by for a different tea and biscuits. I probably went through half-a-hundred fruit smoothies at the Space Lounge. And while I didn't sample "Green" nor "Orange" in the Enterprise, I did get to stand on a teleporter and and pose as a communications officer on a Star Trek: TOS set.

It's hard to communicate the energy and enthusiasm at this show--even the
hotel staff are wearing CONvergence t-shirts throughout the weekend - or the friendliness and professionalism of the con. We were all of us very impressed by the opening ceremonies. When I heard I was going to be interviewed by a puppet mascot, I confess to a feeling of dread. Instead, the opening puppet show was of professional puppeteer quality - though how could it not be when Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot) and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) are regular guests? It was a blast. And now my son is in love with robot mascot Connie and her virtual evil twin.
Comic book artist Christopher Jones (Young Justice, The Batman Strikes!) is one of the founders of CONvergence, and kindly drew a unique badge for each one of the attendees. Mine is taking from my 2011 Hugo Award win. I'm 40 lbs heavier in that picture than I am now, but I'm also holding a glowing rocket, so hey. Really, I was just grinning and showing off my badge for hours after they gave it to me. Being animated by such a great artist was really something else. And speaking of something else...

My wrangler Andrew McKay was extraordinaire too, giving us a tour of the Mall of America--which everyone should see once. Actually, the aquarium is quite nice and the mirror maze was fantastic. The roller coasters looked amazing but - alas! - no one in my family does roller coasters but me. Also, I've never been able to sit still for a game at a con - too much to see and do - but my son was very curious about Munchkins and we weren't sure if it was age appropriate, so Andrew rounded up a game and ran one for us. We loved it and Steven Jackson has scored another customer. 

Thursday night John Picacio, his assistant Tara Smith, and I snuck out to a dinner at Republic in downtown Minneapolis, where I had some great fish and chips, grilled vegetables with one of the spiciest habanero peppers I've had in a long while, and a fantastic (and fantastically named) beer called Dragon's Milk, which was rich, thick, and had the sort of bite you'd expect from a beer so called. The bartender was delighted that an appreciative audience had come from so far away and kept sending me free samples of his other wares all night too. Great place, great food and drink, great company. Highly recommended.

The whole weekend was marvelous, especially for being able to spend time with so many friends, the aforementioned guests, as well as Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, new friend Peter Lee (of WotC), and many more. I also got to put faces on some blogger's names and see some folk I haven't seen in a long while.

Huge thanks to Guest Co-Head Tanya Brody, Director Michael Lee, artist in residence and founding member Christopher Jones, my excellent wrangler Andrew McKay, programming head Craig Finseth, Picacio's wrangler Carly Buchanan who also helped me out a time or two and everyone working in front of and behind the scenes who made this such a magnificent time!  You're a great con CONvergence. I hope to come back!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2013 Chesley Award Nominations

The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists have announced the nominees for the 2013 Chesley Awards. The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA's peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements not otherwise recognized by the Hugo Awards, during a given year and are named in honor of famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell. This year’s ceremony will take place at the 71st World Science Fiction convention, LoneStarCon 3, in San Antonio, TX, August 29th - September 2nd.

This year, Pyr is delighted to be represented on the ballot five times!
  •  2013 Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration, Paperback, nominee: Todd Lockwood, The Dusk Watchman
  • 2013 Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration, Paperback, nominee: John Picacio, The Creative Fire
  •  2013 Chesley Award for Best Cover Illustration, Hardback, nominee: Sam Weber, Quantum Coin
  • 2013 Chesley Award for Best Art Director, nominee: Lou Anders

Here is the full list. Congratulations to all the nominees:

Best Cover Illustration: Paperback Book
  • Dehong He: Lance of Earth and Sky by Erin Hoffman, Pyr, April 2012
  • Todd Lockwood: The Dusk Watchman by Tom Lloyd, Pyr, August 2012
  • John Jude Palencar: The Palencar Project edited by David G. Hartwell, Tor ebook, February 2012
  • John Picacio: The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper, Pyr, November 2012
  • Elena Vizerskaya: Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille by James Van Pelt, Fairwood Press, November 2012
Best Cover Illustration: Hardback Book
  • J.K. Drummond: Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson, Subterranean Press, March 2012
  • Bob Eggleton: Gods of Opar by Philip José Farmer & Christopher Paul Carey, Subterranean Press, June 2012
  • Donato Giancola: Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear, Tor, March 2012
  • Todd Lockwood: The Wild Road by Jennifer Roberson, DAW, September 2012
  • John Picacio: Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Subterranean Press, April 2012
  • Sam Weber: Quantum Coin by E. C. Myers, Pyr, October 2012

Best Cover Illustration: Magazine
  • Ken Barthelmey: Clarkesworld #74 November 2012
  • Julie Dillon: Clarkesworld #73 October 2012
  • Bob Eggleton: Famous Masters of Filmland #262 July/August 2012
  • Martin Faragasso: Clarkesworld #71 August 2012
  • David Palumbo: Creepy #9 Dark Horse, July 2012
  • Craig J. Spearing: Dragon #418 December 2012
Best Interior Illustration
  • Brom: Krampus by Brom Harper, Voyager, Oct. 2012
  • Sam Burley: “Brother. Prince. Snake.” by Cecil Castellucci,, July 2012
  • J. K. Drummond: Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson, Subterranean Press, Mar. 2012
  • Bob Eggleton: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, MBI/Easton Press, Dec. 2012
  • William O'Connor: Dracopedia The Great Dragons: An Artist's Field Guide and Drawing Journal by William O'Connor, Impact, June 2012
Best Monochrome: Unpublished
  • Larry Elmore: “By the River,” oil
  • Travis Lewis: “Deep,” oil & mixed media
  • Joāo Ruas “Sides,” graphite
  • Raoul Vitale: “Last of His Kind,” pencil
  • Allen Williams: “Fawn,” graphite
Best Color Work: Unpublished
  • Julie Bell: “A Passion for the Future,” oil
  • Donato Giancola: “Joan of Arc,” oil
  • Lucas Graciano: “Guardianship,” oil
  • Michael C. Hayes: “Procession,” oil
  • Mark Poole: “Waiting on a Memory,” oil
  • Soutchay Sougpradith: “Peacock Prophecy,” oil
  • Raoul Vitale: “Safe,” oil
Best Three-Dimensional Art
  • Dan Chudzinski: “Gus Gets a Jetpack,” mixed
  • Michael Defeo: “Octopus,” resin
  • David Meng: “Sashimi,” mixed
  • Michael Parkes: “Startled Sky Nymph,” half life-size bronze
  • James Shoop: “Ramautar,” bronze
  • Vincent Villafranca: “Spaceman on the Verge,” bronze
  • Cindy Wynn: “Alien Chair,” steel
Best Gaming-Related Illustration
  • Lucas Graciano: “Dragon Swarm” (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends) Paizo, October 2012
  • D. Alexander Gregory: “Chandra the Firebrand” (2013 Core Set Magic card) WotC, July 2012
  • David Palumbo: “Ereshkigal, Death Mistress” (“Legend of the Cryptids”) Applibot Inc., April 2012
  • James Ryman: “Princess of the Underworld,” (“Legend of the Cryptids”) Applibot Inc., April 2012
  •  Sverlin Velinov: “Thundermaw Hellkite” (2013 Core Set Magic card) Wizards of the Coast, July 2012
Best Product Illustration
  • Jim Burns: “The Wanderers” (IlluXCon 5 promotional art) Munchkin Press, November 2012
  • Dan Dos Santos:The Dragon Empress” (Dragon*Con promotional poster) August, 2012
  • John Harris: “The Search” (Illuxcon 5 promotional art) Munchkin Press, Nov. 2012
  • Iain McCaig: Concept and character design for John Carter, Disney, March 2012
  • John Picacio: La Sirena Loteria card 2012
Best Art Director
  • Lou Anders for Pyr Books
  • Irene Gallo for Tor
  • Lauren Panepinto for Orbit Books
  • William Schafer for Subterranean Press
  • Jon Schindehette for Wizards of the Coast
Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement
  • Brom
  • Larry Elmore
  • David Hardy
  •  John Harris
  • Gary Lippincott

Monday, July 01, 2013

Sidewise Awards for Alternate History

The judges for the the Sidewise Awards for Alternate History have just announced the short list of finalists for the 2012 Sidewise Award, and Mark Hodder's Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon has made the list. The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were established in 1995 to recognize the best alternate history stories and novels of the year. The winners will be announced at LoneStarCon 3, the 71st Annual World Science Fiction Convention the weekend of August 30, 2013, in San Antonio. Congratulations to Mark and all the nominees!