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Had a great time at MileHiCon, and talked to a lot of people. One of them is a mud logger, who gave me his e-mail address… which I promptly lost. Mr. Mud Logger, I’m sorry! Please contact me, I feel like such a jerk.

Otherwise MHC was awesome. My favorite panel was definitely the Greatest Female Action Hero EVER challenge panel. I used the nuclear option right off the bat by claiming Ellen Ripley, and was undefeated despite being challenged many times. At the end, Ripley mostly won, but it was such a close race with Twilight Sparkle I suggested that Eneasz and I just share the win and agree that Ripley would ride Twilight Sparkle into battle with the Queen Alien.

Also, the steampunk group reading on Saturday night was awesome. A big thank you to David Boop for taking over as moderator, he did a fantastic job and I was more than happy to weasel my way out of it.

Sorry I haven’t blogged much lately. I’ve been busy doing Boring Adult Shit(tm). But hopefully there’s some excitement on the horizon!

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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A bit over a week until FenCon! Here’s where to find me:

Fandom after Dark (M): Friday 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM Live Oak

With the increasingly mainstream nature of genre entertainment and the internet savvy of children, gone are the days when graphic fanfics can only be seen in obscure zines. With adult fan content being produced for just about every series out there, does fandom have some responsibility to keep the overly dark or sexual fan works away from their canon counterparts?

You Got SF in my Mystery! (M): Saturday 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Addison Lecture Hall

There is a long tradition of mysteries solved by science in hard science fiction. Our panelists discuss some of the best ones.

Reading: Saturday 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Pecan

I read something out loud. You know how this works. There will be cookies.

Getting the Geos Right: Saturday 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Live Oak

Geology and geography and how they should shape your fictional society.

Climate Change: Now what?: Sunday 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Red Oak

Assuming climate change is real, what do we do now? Can we stop it? Should we try? How bad can it get?

Why Worldcon?: Sunday 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Trinity I – IV

The World Science Fiction Convention was held in San Antonio last year. Our panelists discuss what you missed and if you attended, why you might want to go go another Worldcon.

Three Bladed Blaster Swords?!?: Sunday 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Trinity I – IV

Some of the coolest weapons and fight scenes would never work in the real world. However, many stories wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without their crazy weapons. Let’s talk about some of our favorite bad weapons from movies, TV, games, and novels.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Subject to change, of course. (Why yes, I am sitting around in a hotel room [possibly in my underpants because I forgot to pack pajamas] and catching up on all the shit I should have been doing for the last month. Why do you ask?)


  • 16:30 – 18:00 - Just Three Cornettos
    • The Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright “Cornetto trilogy” concluded last year with The World’s End, following Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. What is the trilogy’s place in British SF? The panel will discuss why the films’ endings are so unconventional, what the trilogy had to say about topics such as society and consumerism, masculinity and maturity, and the British landscape … And they’ll decide which fence gag is best.


  • 10:00 – 11:00 – Mythology and Folklore in Anime
    • Fantastical anime often have mythical or folkloric entities at their core, Japanese or otherwise: the demons of Inu Yasha, the many retellings of Journey to the West, the dragons of Spirited Away. Which tropes and stories seem to crop up most often? Which creators are most creative in their use of mythological and folkloric elements?
  • 13:30 – 15:00 – Tapped Out – from Magic to Netrunner
    • Discussing some of the best things about card games, past and present!
  • 15:00 – 16:30 – The Scientific Culture
    • Is there a scientific culture? The success of The Big Bang Theory, XKCD and PhD Comics suggest that there is, but if so, what is scientific culture? What values and attitudes can there be in common between fields as diverse as biology and cosmology? What experiences and views are shared by scientists across such disparate fields, and why are they different from the experience and views of non-scientists? Is this important, and should SF writers and fans be taking notes?



Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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At least the schedule… so far!


  • 6:00 PM – Anti-Science Sentiment in the US - Mackinac West
    • Anti-Science sentiment seems to be on the rise in the USA. Why? What is going on, and what can we do to reverse this unsettling situation?


  • 2:00 PM – Women in Science and STEM – Mackinac West
    • What are the unique challenges for women in STEM fields, how can they be addressed, how can we get more women interested in these fields, what can you do to prepare?
  • 3:00 PM - Welcome to Night Vale: You Should Know About It – Mackinac East
    • Turn on your radio and hide. Our panelists share their love for Welcome to Night Vale, the viral podcast drama that combines surreal humor, human relationships, and weird creeping horror into a delightful community radio show. If you know Night Vale, come. If you don’t know Night Vale, come and bring your friends. There will be no hooded figures.
  • 4:00 PM – Women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Nicolet A
    • The Marvel Cinematic Universe and its associated television titles are full of highly competent, talented women that move in a world of men. Women regularly save the day, from Black Widow in Avengers to Pepper Potts in the Iron Man franchise. How does Marvel excel at putting women on screen in superhero movies? Where could they show improvement? Panelists will discuss issues of presentation, diversity, and cultural expectations as they examine the many marvelous women of the MCU.


  • 11:00 AM – Reading – Joliet A
  • 12:00 PM – Fat, Feminism, and Fandom Revisited – Mackinac East
    • How have things changed since fannish feminists and fat activists first started this panel series? What did it accomplish, within fandom and outside of it?

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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A little late posting this but… if you’re in OKC and at SoonerCon, say hi to me!


  • 10:00 AM – Reading : Rice – Readings
  • 1:00 PM – Fantasy and Film: The Language of Dreams Made Visible : Mann – Film/TV/SFX
  • 3:00 PM – Damsels De-Stressed: Women In Steampunk : Cain – Horror/Steampunk
  • 5:00 PM – Politics, Religion, and & Science? : Cain – Horror/Steampunk


  • 10:00 AM – Koffee Klatch : Cantina
  • 2:00 PM – Building A Mystery: Mystery and the SF/F Genre : Maynard – Writing
  • 3:00 PM – If Everyone Is a Skeptic, Then Who Is Telling the Truth? : Ballroom C – Main Programming

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Yes, I will be at ArmadilloCon this year, and here’s my schedule!

TV Shows You Should Be Watching - Fri 11:00 PM-Midnight Room D

There are some very good science fiction and fantasy shows out there.  Do you need to update your recorder?

Watch Out for that Plothole! - Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Room E

Our panelists give you tips and advice on fixing the plotholes in your works.

Alcoholic Drinks in Fiction - Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Room F

Discussing the drinks mentioned in stories, movies and tv.

Reading - Sat 11:00 PM-Midnight Southpark A

I know it’s late, BUT THERE WILL BE COOKIES.

Women in Science - Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Room D

While more women are getting noticed, has this led to more women in science.  The trials and tribulations of making it in a field full of goofy, nerdy men.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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Whoops, and it’s almost time to head up to Dallas for ConDFW! Here’s my schedule for the convention, please come say hello to me if you’ll be there. I should be easy to spot. Look for the red-headed dapper sir wearing a waistcoat (and at least one of the days, a top hat).

Time: Saturday, 11AM
Panel name: Androids at the Dinner Table: Gadgets, Social Media and Society
Location: PROGRAMMING 2 (Chinaberry)
Description: We see it more and more in this day and age: a group of friends at a restaurant, every one of them with their smart phone open and texting away. The age of the Internet is not upon us, it passed by about twenty years ago. What is acceptable in this day and age? Our panelists discuss this and other issues. Note: If your cellphone rings during this panel, you will be mocked mercilessly, and then debated about for a good twenty to thirty minutes.

Time: Saturday, 4pm
Panel name: One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor: Creating Maps
Location: PROGRAMMING 2 (Chinaberry)
Description: It is amazing how much easier you can visualize a world once you have built a map of it, or see a map on the first few pages of a book you picked up. But how do you build such a map so it doesn’t look like a five year old scribbled on a napkin with random crayons? Our resident scientists and creative artists help collaborate to build a map that inspires the imagination. Note: Maps may or may not allow you to simply walk into Mordor.

Time: Saturday, 5pm
Panel name: READING!
Location: READING (Trinity VIII)
Description: I will be sharing the room with K. Hutson and Selina Rosen. And I will bring some kind of sweet treat, because I am not above petty bribery.

Time: Sunday, 1pm
Panel name: The Science of Comedy: The White Face Clown vs The Red Face Clown
Location: MAIN PROGRAMMING (Addison Lecture Hall)
Description: In a book by Eric Idle, “The Road to Mars”, the idea of typecasts for humor is explored. There is the White Face Clown, generally thin and never gets pied in the face. Then there is the Red Face Clown, generally fat and jovial, who always gets pied in the face. Examples of this are Laurel and Hardy, or Penn and Teller. Is there any truth in this? Our humorists debate, and pies may be thrown.

Time: Sunday, 3pm
Panel name: Upwardly Mobile: Writing about Dirigibles and Other Flights of Fancy
Location: PROGRAMMING 3 (Trinity VII)
Description: One of the most common sights in both Steampunk and Cyberpunk is the dirigible. Otherwise known as zeppelins or blimps, the hydrogen or helium filled craft lazily float through the sky. It is one thing, however, to imagine it. It is entirely another to be able to write about it believably. For instance, which of the above named craft has NO internal supporting frame? (Blimps!) Our authors talk about the differences and other things to know about when writing about semi-rigid airships.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.


Nov. 6th, 2013 12:06 pm
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Octopodicon was my first every Steampunk convention, and I admit that I was kind of nervous. I absolutely love the steampunk aesthetic, but I am not a very fancy person myself. On of my life goals is to be a very dapper sir, but I prefer my dapperness to be a bit more… understated. Plus I’m utter crap with crafts, which doesn’t help. I went in feeling a bit intimidated, to be honest.

I don’t know what I expected–perhaps the steampunk fashion police to swoop down and judge me insufficiently punked out? Silly, in retrospect. Everyone was absolutely lovely and I never felt out of place. Rather, I was unquestioningly welcomed, and I appreciate that so very much.

Plus, I found the hats I’ve been needing all my life. YES HATS.  I now have everything I could want for all my dapper needs.

I had such a good time at this convention. The highlight of it for me was actually Saturday night. There were dance lessons, and I decided to go because I actually really like dancing even if I’m terrible at it. For a little while I thought I’d be the odd woman out, but then I ended up getting partnered with Sherry. I got to be the man because I had trousers and an awesome hat, and we waltzed and waltzed and waltzed. And then danced in a little competition and won it for Team Steampunk.

That was honestly one of the coolest moments of my life. Yes, it was just us against one other couple. But I won a dance competition. I won a freaking dance competition.

Man, I love dancing. I wish I could do it more often! But there was more dancing that day, since then there was all sorts of live performances and I danced to Darwin Prophet‘s music. [WARNING: Autoplaying music WHY DO YOU DO THIS]

Sunday was my working day; I did two panels and had a reading. I was excited that I got to do a panel with John Dee again–I got to be on a couple with him at FenCon. WE ARE AN EFFECTIVE TEAM. (You can tell because John also hates that movie.) The reading was small but went well–everyone who was there seemed to like what I read! So that was good. I also got to meet Patricia Ash of Gear Hearts Magazine–I’m hoping to write a little story for them soon.

So for a first Steampunk con, this was definitely a success. I’m looking forward to going to another soon!

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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As promised for any Octopodicon person who might wander by, here’s links to what we talked about during Steampunk in Space.


  • Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel was recommended by a member of the class. Be warned, there’s a lot of flash on this site and it makes sounds.
  • Airship Enterprise


  • Space 1889 - Which has been fully funded on Kickstarter
  • Mage: The Ascension – Drive Thru RPG link to the core tabletop book. MtA isn’t strictly a steampunk RPG, but one of the traditions (Sons of Ether) is very steamunk – Aether ships!
  • Spelljammer


  • Cowboys and Engines – Richard Hatch movie, very steampunk west. And involves Malcolm McDowell with some fabulous facial hair.
  • A Trip to the Moon/Le Voyage dans la lune – the 1902 film
  • Firefly - This was brought up often as an example of a show with a very steampunk ethos, though not necessarily the aesthetic. Though it very much has the wild west angle covered.
  • Treasure Planet - Aesthetically steampunk?
  • War of the Worlds: Goliath – Arguably dieselpunk, animated movie, looks very cool

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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And boy is it a full one!

FenCon X - October 4-6

  • Friday  9:00-10:00 PM  Under Pressure: Conquering the Oceans of Earth and Beyond
  • Friday  10:00 -11:00 PM  The Geek Nation Goes Mainstream
  • Saturday  10:00 -11:00 AM   Antagonists: More Than Just Villains
  • Saturday  2:00-3:00 PM   Tao and Again
  • Saturday  6:00-7:00 PM   The Moon be Domed!
  • Sunday  10:00 -11:00 AM   Ask A Scientist
  • Sunday  11:00 -12:00 PM   Women in Science
  • Sunday  2:00-3:00 PM   How To Capture and Tame a Wild Asteroid
  • Sunday  3:00-4:00 PM   Cynicism vs Idealism in SF&F

That’s nine panels! Whew! No reading, which makes me a bit sad, but it looks like I’ll be plenty busy. And five of the panels are science track. Guess it’s time for me to show I earned my degree–and to work for any food I weasel out of the con suite (because I really don’t like eating out often any more). Thankfully I’ve got a week and a half until the con, so I can try to do a little research to brush up on the more space-oriented panels. (Oh my fellow science people, if you have any recommended reading for any of these, please let me know!)

This will be my first FenCon, so I’m even more excited because it’s a new con, and a whole new region of the country. Everyone I’ve interacted with on staff has been incredibly friendly and responsive, so I can’t wait to meet them in person!

And if you’ll be at FenCon, I hope to see you there. Drop me a line if you want to try to meet up. There are always the evenings.

Originally published at The sound and nerdery of Rachael Acks. You can comment here or there.


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Tetsugawa Katsuhiro

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