Con Report: Farpoint 2018

Farpoint2

Last weekend, I attended my first Farpoint convention! You could say that I got my start in speculative fiction as a Star Trek fan, so it was nice to get back to my roots, as it were.

FRIDAY

Since this is a “local” convention for me, I commuted from home rather than staying at the hotel. After working half a day in the morning, I headed north of Baltimore by mid-afternoon to get the lay of the land. My first panel was at 4 PM, which involved a fantastic discussion with other authors and readers about creating immersive worlds in speculative fiction (and writing in general). We discussed how to incorporate just enough detail (but not too much detail!) to allow a reader to suspend their disbelief and go along for the ride in any genre.

My second panel was immediately after, where I switched gears into fan mode and discussed “All Things Winchester.” Supernatural is currently in season 13, and not everyone was caught up, so we kept it general in our discussion of how the show is successful thematically, various character issues, favorite episodes, and theories regarding the upcoming spin-off, Wayward Sisters.

I didn’t have any of my usual writing tribe at this convention, so I steeled myself and asked if I could join one of my fellow Supernatural panelists, cosplayer Jessica Crouse, if I could join her group for dinner. I’m so glad that I did, because I made some amazing new friends over the course of the weekend through that one act of courage! We had a great dinner and evening of hanging out, then it was back to the hotel for the evening book fair.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Review: Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley

IntraterrestrialDisclaimer: I received a free electronic version of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


This is one of those speculative fiction books whose actually genre is hard to pin down. Though the medical issues lend a realistic air to the story, the adventure Adam embarks on feels more like science-fantasy than traditional science-fiction. At times, I even considered whether I’d misinterpreted the back cover description and that I was actually enjoying magical realism instead. But when one of the major story point of views is an unreliable narrator due to his traumatic brain injury (TBI), you’re forced to sit back and enjoy the epic ride rather than analyzing the story’s structural supports.  Continue reading

Review: Before the Awakening (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Greg Rucka

Before the AwakeningFinn’s story: This story, while well-written in the technical sense, was by far the weakest of this trio. If not for my husband encouraging me onward, I might have put the entire book down. I understand that the book was released before the film, and that the authors don’t necessarily get all the information they’d like before writing, but Finn’s character presented here didn’t quite match up to watch we see in the film. If the story had been about any other stormtrooper, it would have been wonderful.

Rey’s story: On the other hand, this next section of the book blew me out of the water. The ending was like a punch to the gut. I could keep using overwrought metaphors, but it was just THAT GOOD.  Continue reading

Review: The Weapon of a Jedi (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Jason Fry

Weapon of a JediThis book boiled down to “Just how did Luke get so good at using a lightsaber, anyway?” Which is an important question to ask, in the continuity between the films A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Unfortunately, the reality of the the limitations established in the Star Wars universe at that point in time meant that the author of this book didn’t have a lot to work with.  Continue reading

Review: “Christmas Past” (Chronicles of St. Mary’s short story) by Jodi Taylor

Christmas PastThough this review won’t get posted until after the holiday itself, this story was easily one of my favorite Christmas presents this year. Taylor blows me away with her ability to weave humor and heartbreak into the same passages. Though this story didn’t have quite as much of the usual St. Mary’s shenanigans, it was an important story to tell for the Farrell family and left me quite satisfied than as if there had been explosions and other ridiculousness.  Continue reading

Review: Moving Target (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Cecil Castellucci & Jason Fry

Moving TargetThis was an excellent Star Wars young adult novel that succeeds at showing realistic decisions that must be made in war, and how people involved in those wars end up making essential decisions regardless of how much power or authority they might have. I also appreciated that Princess Leia is given much authority and agency in this book, leading a mission she devises in order to give the Alliance a fighting chance against the second Death Star.  Continue reading

Review: Shattered Empire (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Greg Rucka

Shattered EmpireOne of my biggest pet peeves about most war movies is how the characters celebrate at the end of a big battle as if everything is going to be easy from there on out. This graphic novel shows how the opposite is the case and does an excellent job of leading into how the remnants of the Empire might converge into a different foe for Star Wars Episodes 7 and beyond.

These stories also effectively use a known character’s family member to immediately hook me and make me invested in their fate. I especially like how it’s Poe Dameron’s MOTHER that is the star of the show rather than the “traditional” male lead.  Continue reading