Armadillocon 20 Notes – August 28, 1998

Real Date: August 28-30, 1998 — Omni Southpark Hotel (formerly the Wyndham), Austin, TX

Here are the notes for the panels I attended at Armadillocon 20. I won’t even try to give you a play-by-play of all the people I met and all the things I learned. However I did take notes at the panels, so I can share that.
Luckily, Armadillocon 20 put their schedule up on the web. I was able to download it into my newton and scratch out old events– it was like having an enchanted scroll where the lines vanished as you
read them.
For panels I attended, I copied the program guide entry over to these notes and added items of interest as I listened. The number of notes is not a judgement of the quality of the panel, rather an indicator of how sleepy I was at the time.

Fr1700E Generating Ideas That Sell Fri 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Ballroom E Barrett, C. Spector, Webb, Wentworth* Where do writers get their nifty ideas (subscribe to the Time Idea-of-the-Month Club?), and how do they fashion those nifty ideas into saleable stories?
Ideas are cheap
Matching the markets is an iffy proposition
Writers get ideas.
The more you create idoas the more the ideas come
Don Webb does a 1000 word column on the web each work as a writing exorcise.
Caroline Spector can’t talk to people affor she has been writing
Neil uses driving time
K.D. Wentworth tried getting borod by doing laundry.
Too many stories are endod poorly because the author runs out of steam.
It the hero is in too much trouble and the author can’t figure out how to solve it, get them into More Trouble. NB
Never cheat the audience, but you can fool them. NB
Slush pile Tales CS
Reject if the protagonist wakes up on the first page KDW
Getting a job as an editor educates you Dw
Writing Novels And shores are different skills. CS
Needed to puc her Fifth unsold novel on the shelf For 6 Months. KDW
You can go crazy chasing different editor’s opinions about your story. NB
Fr1800D It Ain’t Over ’til the Fat Lady Goes FTL: The Space Opera Panel Fri 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Ballroom D Clark, Gibbons, Hamilton,, Moon* Space opera seems to be making a comeback, but it’s grown up since the Forties and Fifties.
Almost all media science fiction is space opera.
Vast Scope
Technology dictates trade Items
Aliens are fun
Literature is explaining the world through the author’s viewpoint. PH
Some people don’t understand that some space opera is operatic instead of operetta. EM
Non-SF readers complained about Weird Names.
Writing for the younger readers need to write shorter works and to make fewer Cognitive demands on the reader.
EM I want some sparkling stuff in my story.
Opera is written about people living on a grand Canvas.
Fr2200D The Rebirth of Hard SF Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Ballroom D Gibbons, Hamilton, Hartwell*, Hogan, Latner For years we’ve been hearing that the science in science fiction was becoming an endangered species. Now, with hot new authors like Egan, Hamilton, and Baxter, it’s roaring back into the fray.
Bad science in Movies
Movie makers do it on purpose
Fr2200F Reviving Roadkill: The Sorry State of Texas SF Conventions Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Ballroom F Beckwith, Blaschke, Cupp*, C. Siros, Wells, Wolf Lone Star conventions are going belly up all over the state. What’s to be done?
Aggiecon used to be funded by film showing. When VCR s came out, the cost of film rentals went up.
The Internet provides an alternate outlet fan communication.
Younger fans tend to have media cons.
Some commercial Trek conventions tend to burn out the peripheral fans.
The hotel can make or break a con. Never sign the boilerplate contract.
Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed hotel economics
Authors in book conventions are generally available to the fans. Accessible media guests are rare jewels.
Alternate funding.
Arts grants
Lone Star Con II
Sister gaming cons
Sa1100E What the New York Review of Science Fiction can Do For You Sat 11:00 AM-Noon Ballroom E Houghton, Hartwell, Van Gelder* Current and former editors of the multiply award nominated semiprozine give you the lowdown.
100 new SF books are published monthly
Most are not reviewed especially paperbacks
The more expensive the book the more it is reviewed
Their policy is to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of good books.
They pay $10 per review $5 per essay.
Sa1200F Can SF Magazines be saved? Sat Noon-1:00 PM Ballroom F Daemon, Datlow, Gibbons*, Person, Van Gelder Or are they in the midst of long, drawn-out, painful death throes?
greying of the audience
distribution issues
web sites
younger audience spends their money on computer games.
using web sizes to get readership for print magazines
Computerized shelf space control
There will always be semiprozines
Sa1400F The Business of Writing and Selling Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom F Carl, Clark*, Hambly, Hogan, Martin From how to compose a query letter (and when to use one) to when to acquire an agent to how to protect your copyright, and more.
Make sure your submission is solicited
Get an agent
No illustrations
Sa1500D Cross-Pollinating the Genre Sat 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Ballroom D Blaschke, Crider*, Mallory, Wade, Webb Some writers just don’t fit into a convenient genre cubby hole. Thank goodness.
Sa1600D Armed Conflict: Military SF Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Ballroom D Clark, Hamilton, McCarthy, Moon*, Osborne It seems that we will always have wars, but is it really practical to wage a war in space?
Sa1700D Lone Star Cases: Texas Mystery Writers Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Ballroom D Barrett*, Carl, Crider, Cupp, Mosiman Texas is blessed with a number of talented writers of mysteries who also have ties to science fiction. Come and hear some of them take about what it’s like to bestride two genres.
Sa1800E Short Fiction Rules! Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Ballroom E Blaschke, Datlow*, Richerson, Wade, Webb Despite the dominance of huge novels and series in the marketplace, there are some advantages to working at shorter lengths. Learn about the experiments in style and content available best in short fiction.
Sa2000F What it REALLY Takes to Get Published Sat 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Ballroom F Barrett, Datlow, Spencer, Van Gelder, Wentworth* Veteran writers and editors will tell you the REAL secrets to getting your work in print. (C’mon, you always knew there was a secret to it, didn’t you?)
Sa2100F Moving From Fan to Pro Sat 9:00 PM-10:00 PM Ballroom F Crider*, Dalton-Woodbury, Hale, Wells How to make that transition from fan to neo-pro to professional writer. Seriously.
Su1300D The Best of the Decade: The 90’s in SF and Fantasy Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Ballroom D Daemon, Datlow, Hartwell, Houghton, W. Siros, Van Gelder* Our panels of experts helps you find good stuff you should be reading.
Su1400D Fantasy and SF Mysteries Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom D Carl, Effinger, Hambly*, Hamilton, Wade Learn about the modern day successors to Asimov’s The Caves of Steel and Garrett’s Too Many Magicians.