Visuals abound at a science fiction convention. Not only in the art show–although the art show at SpikeCon was large and filled with some amazing art. But the visual essence of SpikeCon went beyond the art show.
But “impossible” is what the unimaginative tend to call the problem we haven’t yet solved.
One of the most useful things we can do for our future is work hard to vote all of the former out of office. The other thing we must figure out is how to ensure that the second group (the “impossibles”) were too pessimistic. God help us all if they’re right, but meanwhile it’s our responsibility to build a better world.
Are you feeling it yet? I don’t think anyone in the world lives a charmed enough life to avoid bumping up against the effects of climate change in recent years. No matter how hard they close their eyes, cover their ears, and try to make it go away by ignoring it.
I’m happy to report that there were some excellent panels and readings at SpikeCon this year. As I sometimes do, I discovered that I kept bumping into some of the same interesting people over and over at this convention. Of course, that’s partially because many of us have similar interests, and partially because, although some 1,100 memberships were sold to SpikeCon, for a variety of reasons only about 850 people showed up.
This explains why several of the people in some these pictures are the same people as the ones in other pictures! In fact, the identical same group was scheduled together for two different panels I attended. Lucky for their growing group of devoted followers, they had a range of different things to say each time.
I was on several panels, myself, but you’ll notice they aren’t featured here. I don’t have pictures of panels I was on, or of my reading at SpikeCon (though it was gratifyingly well-attended! Thank you!!).
This is largely because it’s hard to photograph oneself in such situations. Tyrell Gephardt, my son and regular convention partner who usually photographs my events when possible, was almost invariably scheduled on his own panels at the same times.
But trust me. They were brilliant. And there’s always a chance the topics of some of those panels and readings will turn up someday as the subjects of blog posts in the future.
IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SpikeCon’s homepage for the graphic gestalt of when, where, and who were headliner guests. All other photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, with the permission of their subjects. If you wish to re-post or use them, please include an attribution to me as the photographer, and if possible include a link back to this page. Thanks!
In my post “Welcome to Rana Station,” I introduced the environment for the fictional world of my “XK9 novels.” But that post only began to open the door a little bit on the world I’ve been working to create.
The lives of my characters unfold in a very particular series of settings, each with distinctive geographical features. To answer the “where are we?” question–to make these settings come alive in my readers’ minds–this writer needs to envision them in rather specific detail.
That means I have to make a map. Actually, it meanslots and lots of maps, of varying things at varying scales, for varying purposes. Road maps, transit maps, maps of Corona Tower’s layout and crops, maps of the local parks, floor plans, and more.
Each new scene or setting demands its own answer to “Where are we?”
Of course, no paper sculptor is going to think of maps purely in terms of two dimensions. I needed to add 3D elevation, to make sure the terraces, stairs, ramps, and switchbacks would work as I envisioned them. In some cases, I found that they did. In others? Not so much!
Figuring out exactly how Rana Station works has produced a long series of maps and 3D models, over the course of years. Some worked better than others. Some, I’ve abandoned altogether. And some, like the three little “Park Sections” I put on my Art Show panel at SpikeCon, I’ve subsequently had matted and displayed as art.
This mapping and modeling process is far from over. The “Where are we?” questions continue to develop.
IMAGES: All the photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, of my own models, maps, and 2019 SpikeCon Art Show panel. If you wish to use or re-post any of them, please do me the courtesy of an acknowledgement and a link back to this post. Thanks!
This high-altitude photog and his even-higher-altitude drone achieved the amazing feat of a 360-degree panorama (if you join the left and right edges of the picture together, they match), and it was a nail-biter to the bitterly cold end.
Not only has Everest been a particularly deadly mountain to attempt this year, but the intense cold at that altitude was a battery-killer, too. Ozturk had at most 15 minutes of flight-time . . . and that’s if the wind cooperated. Which it almost never did. He and his team racked up a lot of failed tries before they nailed it.
This is how the pros make it look easy. You thought this was just a beautiful mountain picture at first, didn’t you?
The Death Zone, for pity’s sake!
So, next time you’re embarked on a creative journey and start getting discouraged, remember Renan Ozturk! (and don’t forget your oxygen).
IMAGE CREDIT: All honor, reverence, and awe are due to the intrepid Renan Ozturk and his intrepid team, on assignment for National Geographic, for this astounding image! Dude, you are amazing!