Monday, September 19, 2011

Totally Texas -- Science fiction for the people

FenCon VIII/DeepSouthCon 49

Crowne Plaza North Dallas,

14315 Midway Road, Addison


The fan-run literary sci-fi and fantasy convention known as FenCon returns to North Texas this coming weekend, September 23-25. It’s not just about wild costumes, although there are always plenty of those at the Con, now in its eighth year. Many fans, like the young man in the illustration for this post, design and make -- in some cases, build -- their own wearing apparel. And FenCon has workshops to help you get them right, concentrating this year on steampunkish Victoriana.

Not sure what steampunk is? You’ll know once you’ve seen the “Hustle in Your Bustle” demonstration on Friday’s program schedule. But even if you’re not into bustles, literally or otherwise, the convention offers readings and book signings by local and nationally-known authors, editors and artists.

Or fans can visit discussions on everything from choosing e-readers to the evolution of women in comics. From a discussion of cartoon characters Phineas and Ferb to a workshop on the making of professional-looking wings. Programming for children and young adults runs all three days as well and ranges from serious NASA science to arts and crafts projects on Harry Potter wands and the construction of dragons from chenille pipe cleaners.

The breadth and variety of programming prompted local CBS station KVTV to list FenCon VIII as one of the best literary events this fall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Memberships for the entire event or one-day will be available when registration begins at the Crowne Plaza hotel at 9 a.m. Friday. See for information on events and membership prices.

I’ll be there, participating in a writers’ workshop led by Hugo award-winning editor Lou Anders. Sorry, that workshop is sold out. But maybe I’ll see you in the panels or at a party or Saturday night’s costume parade. I’ll be the one dressed as a writer and you’ll be the one -- well, I can’t wait to see your bustle!


Other good stuff this week -- some of it free:

Rosalyn Story returns to Dallas Tuesday, September 20, to read and sign her newest novel, Wading Home. Ms. Story is a violinist with the Fort Worth Symphony and was one of the featured writers at SMU’s literary festival earlier this year. At Skillman Southwestern Library, 5707 Skillman Street in Dallas. Refreshments at 6 p.m., with reading at 6:45. Free.

Shakespeare Dallas is back at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre, 6200 E. Grand Blvd., Dallas, starting Wednesday, September 21. Enjoy Hamlet outdoors in the cooler fall temperatures. Times and ticket prices at

Autumn at the Arboretum currently boasts nearly 50,000 pumpkins imaginatively displayed. You’re bound to find plenty of photo opportunities if only you can get the kids to stay still long enough. At 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. See for details.

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