Getting Your ArmadilloCon On

Annual gathering for sci-fi writers and fans begins today

Julie Dillon's cover illustration for a Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab chapter book for Neil Gaiman's
Julie Dillon's cover illustration for a Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab chapter book for Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples."
image courtesy of www.juliedillonart.com

Austin's annual sci-fi/fantasy convention kicks off today and runs through the weekend.

Glancing over the past 34 years of programming, one is struck by how inclusive and expansive ArmadilloCon is, with past honorees including William Gibson, Jonathan Lethem, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Moon, Charlaine Harris, Joe R. Lansdale, and Bruce Sterling.

This year four of the convention's guest slots are devoted to women in the industry – Guest of Honor Anne Bishop (the Black Jewels trilogy), Special Guest Chloe Neill (the Chicagoland Vampires series), Editor Guest Liz Gorinsky (Tor Books), and Artist Guest Julie Dillon (that's her creepy-gorgeous work pictured) – while A. Lee Martinez, a dude, has the distinction of being both this year's toastmaster and the mastermind behind the kickiest book title of the year so far (Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain).

Panels include practical advice for writers ("Writing a Strong Female Protagonist," "Trends in e-Book Publishing") and fans ("Game of Thrones: The Book, the Series, the Impact," "Fringe: Why We Like It – Or Do We Still?"). Also on tap: a remembrance of Ray Bradbury, a first look at Christmas With the Dead, based on a Joe Lansdale story (he'll introduce the film, too), and tons of readings and signings.

All programming takes place at Renaissance Hotel Austin at the Arboretum with the first event kicking off at 4pm today, but you can still buy a ticket at the door – $50 for adults, $35 for students, $25 for kids aged 7-12. Find out more at www.armadillocon.org.

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