Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: SpikeCon

The visual essence of SpikeCon owed a lot to its venue, the Davis Conference Center. In this photo we look through a glass side entrance at the nearby mountains.

The visual essence of SpikeCon

Last week I talked about two of my favorite things to do a science fiction convention, the panels and author readings. But another inescapable aspect of any sf convention is visual. So please join me for one more look back–and around–at the visual essence of SpikeCon.

This is a screen capture of the opening images from the SpikeCon website's homepage. It includes the list of four different conventions that came together in Layton Utah July 4-7, 2019, and shows photos 15 headliner guests, including authors, artists, editors, fans, and others. Many of them did both panels and readings.

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.

This photo shows an art show display panel from the SpikeCon Art Show, filled with eight examples of Lucy A. Synk's space art.
Here’s my friend Lucy A. Synk’s display at the SpikeCon Art ShowTy and I acted as her agents at the show.
This photo shows an Art Show display panel at SpikeCon absolutely crammed with 15 matted paper sculptures by Jan S. Gephardt.
You knew you couldn’t escape a photo of my SpikeCon Art Show panel, right? Between the bid sheets, the stories about each piece, and the obligatory postcards advertising my reading from What’s Bred in the Bone, the was barely room for all the paper sculpture!

It also went beyond the ASFA (Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists) Lounge, Art Display, and the presentation of the Chesley Awards, wonderful though those were.

This montage from Changeling Artist Collective shows details from nominated artworks by Collective members. They are (clockwise from upper left): Melissa Gay (paperback/epub nominee); Amanda Makepeace (paperback/epub category winner); Nataša Ilinčić (paperback/epub nominee); Emily Hare (unpublished monochrome nominee); Melissa Gay (unpublished color category winner); and Collective founder Rachel Quinlan (product illustration nominee).
This montage from Changeling Artist Collective shows details from nominated artworks by Collective members. They are (clockwise from upper left): Melissa Gay (paperback/epub nominee); Amanda Makepeace (paperback/epub category winner)Nataša Ilinčić (paperback/epub nominee); Emily Hare (unpublished monochrome nominee); Melissa Gay (unpublished color category winner); and Collective founder Rachel Quinlan (product illustration nominee).

The visual essence of SpikeCon didn’t only consist of the costumes on display, either, although many of them were awesome! Adding to the panoply were many members of The Royal Manticoran Navy in full uniform. They held their MantiCon convention concurrently.

This shows a montage of amazing costumes people wore to SpikeCon. There's a man-sized rabbit marionette-looking thing; a woman dressed as a squirrel, and a samurai warrior with his female companion in her kimono.
I’m indebted to BiteMeTheFilm’s Twitter feed for the montage of wonderful SpikeCon costumes. Unfortunately, I can only positively identify Cerin Takeuchi (in the black-and-white kimono) of all the individuals shown, although I’m guessing that’s budding videographer Chad Volpe in the samurai armor.
Here's a photo of a table manned by three uniformed members of The Royal Manticoran Navy. On the table is a display in support of their charity, Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, FL.
I’m once again indebted to an unidentified photographer who posted this photo of one of The Royal Manticoran Navy’s tables (from the MantiCon Facebook page), this one featuring a display in support of Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, FL. Manticoran Navy members pictured are Bill Knight, Dakota Ferris, and Rob Clevenger, although I’m sorry to say I don’t know which is which.

Nor did the visual essence of SpikeCon only consist of the distinctive Davis Conference Center, although from the Eye of Sauron-style entrance throughout the unique interior, it added its own signature to the event.

The blogger took this photo of the entrance to the Davis Conference Center at dusk on July 3, 2019. She thought the tall structures on either side of the entrance looked like a scene from the fantasy work of J.R.R. Tolkein, Sauron's Tower.
The unique style of the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah, added its own signature to the visual essence of SpikeConSee hallways in several photos in this post, as well as the unusual wall decorations behind 
 The Royal Manticoran Navy’s table in the photo above this one. I took this photo on July 3, 2019, when we were setting up the Art Show. Can you blame this geek girl for looking at the entrance and immediately flashing on the Eye of Sauron?

The visual essence of SpikeCon was more than the sum of its many interesting parts. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking one more look back with me at what was for me an extremely enjoyable convention.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to SpikeCon’s homepage for the graphic gestalt of when, where, and who were headliner guests; to Google Image Search and Changeling Artist Collective for the Chesley Awards montage; and to BiteMeTheFilm’s Twitter feed for the montage of costumes that offers a small, tantalizing taste of the amazing creations that wandered the halls. Also thanks to MantiCon’s Facebook Page for the photo of one of the Royal Manticoran Navy table and display supporting Big Cat Rescue of Tampa FL. All other photos were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, with permissions as needed. If you wish to re-post any, please include an attribution to me as the photographer, and a link back to this post. Thanks!

One among the panels and readings at SpikeCon, this is a photo of the "Write what you don't know" panel.

Panels and readings at SpikeCon

Panels and readings are among my favorite things to do at science fiction conventions

This is a screen capture of the opening images from the SpikeCon website's homepage. It includes the list of four different conventions that came together in Layton Utah July 4-7, 2019, and shows photos 15 headliner guests, including authors, artists, editors, fans, and others. Many of them did both panels and readings.

Yes, I know this makes me “sercon” (oldstyle fan-speak for “too serious to be any fun”). But I’ve decided I’m just gonna have to “own it.” Diss me if you must, but I like going to panels and readings where I can get new ideas and listen to interesting stories more than I like going to parties where I can’t hear what anyone is saying and most of the people are drunk.

This is the "Editing vs. Beta Reading" panel at SpikeCon. Yes, there is a massive difference, and it was well explored by the panelists. They are, L-R: Multimedia author Dan Wells, Headliner Editor Susan Chang, freelance editor Melissa Meibos, author C.H. Hung, and author/freelance editor Joe Monson.
This is the “Editing vs. Beta Reading” panel at SpikeCon. Yes, there is a massive difference, and it was well explored by the panelists. They are, L-R: Multimedia author Dan WellsHeadliner Editor Susan Changfreelance editor Melissa Meibosauthor C.H. Hung, and author/freelance editor Joe Monson.

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.

The "Privilege and Passing in Genre Fiction" panel at SpikeCon provided a lively and informative discussion of the ways in which characters in our genres reflect (or sometimes misrepresent) issues faced by many people in real life. The knowledgeable and wise panelists are, L-R: Inez Aguilar R., Aften Brook Szymanski, Jayrod P. Garrett, C.H. Hung, and B. Daniel Blatt.
The “Privilege and Passing in Genre Fiction” panel at SpikeCon provided a lively and informative discussion of the ways in which characters in our genres reflect (or sometimes misrepresent) issues faced by many people in real life. The knowledgeable and wise panelists are, L-R: Inez Aguilar R.Aften Brook SzymanskiJayrod P. Garrett, C.H. Hung, and B. Daniel Blatt.

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.

Here's the "Write What You Don't Know" panel at SpikeCon, and no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is the exact same group of panelists from the picture above. Some of them traded seats just to mess with us. But they were every bit as wise and interesting when they talked about doing your research and seeking new understandings as they were on the previous panel. For the record, they are, L-R: Aften Brook Szymanski, C.H. Hung, Jayrod P. Garrett, Inez Aguilar R., and B. Daniel Blatt.
Here’s the “Write What You Don’t Know” panel at SpikeCon, and no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is the exact same group of panelists from the picture above. Some of them traded seats just to mess with us. But they were every bit as wise and interesting when they talked about doing your research and seeking new understandings as they were on the previous panel. For the record, they are, L-R: Aften Brook SzymanskiC.H. HungJayrod P. GarrettInez Aguilar R., and B. Daniel Blatt. 
This was possibly the most valuable panel I attended at SpikeCon."After the Action" discussed the trauma writers inflict on their characters in terms of realism in fiction and the effects of trauma on real people. The discussion also quickly ranged into the effect of our fiction on real people--our readers, who may themselves be trauma survivors or have loved ones or associates who are. The uniquely qualified panelists are: L-R: Amy White, an author, librarian, and puppeteer with a trauma survivor in her family; Retired Marine Col. Jonathan P. Brazee, prolific author of military sf; psychologists and social workers Cerin Takeuchi and Anna Marasco; and author and sworn law enforcement officer Griffin Barber.
This was possibly the most valuable panel I attended at SpikeCon.”After the Action” discussed the trauma writers inflict on their characters in terms of realism in fiction and the effects of trauma on real people. The discussion also quickly ranged into the effect of our fiction on real people–our readers, who may themselves be trauma survivors or have loved ones or associates who are. The uniquely qualified panelists are: L-R: Amy White, an author, librarian, and puppeteer with a trauma survivor in her family; Retired Marine Col. Jonathan P. Brazee, prolific author of military sf; psychologists and social workers Cerin Takeuchi and Anna Marasco; and author and sworn law enforcement officer Griffin Barber.

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!!).

I may not have a picture from my own reading at SpikeCon, but I did get photos of the authors who read before and after me. Mike Substelny, L, read his as-yet-unpublished but wildly funny and satisfying time travel story, "Plan Madison."
At R, Erika Kuta Marler read a story from an anthology in the Eden's Outcast universe.
may not have a picture from my own reading at SpikeCon, but I did get photos of the authors who read before and after me. Mike Substelny, L, read his as-yet-unpublished but wildly funny and satisfying time travel story, “Plan Madison.”
At R, Erika Kuta Marler read a story from an anthology in the Eden’s Outcast universe.

This is largely because it’s hard to photograph oneself in such situationsTyrell 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!

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