Isn't that gorgeous? I love the colors in it and it has a slightly mysterious look to it. It's a Daniel dos Santos original and graces the cover of this year's Boskone program cover.
I attended my first Boskone con yesterday, with Avangyline from Kelley Armstrong's board, her husband X and their daughter A. Avangyline, X and I went to Arisia last year and had so much fun, that though we couldn't go to Arisia this year, we met up for Boskone. Their daughter didn't come last year but when I met her this year, it was if we'd met before. Avangyline has been talking about her for years on the KA board and facebook, and posting pix on facebook. She was a sweetie, and full of energy despite an encounter with a sword during the sword fighting demonstration. (she was perfectly OK, no worries.)
Anyway, Boskone runs Friday night through late Sunday afternoon this weekend, every February (it's a three day weekend here in the US). It's put on by New England Science Fiction Association. I confess, I hadn't heard of them before, but if Boskone is an indicator, they do good work.
The con is at held at the Westin Waterfront, the same location as Arisia. Getting there should have been easy enough but Oh. My. God. the Boston MBTA was NOT cooperative. Though, I should confess that I didn't check their website first. I don't go into Boston often and usually take the T when I go so I didn't expect a problem. Turns out the station I parked at was open ONLY for parking. That station and corresponding trains are closed on the weekends for remodeling. Two helpful employees later, I was on a free shuttle to the next open station, three stops away. From there it was a smooth, standing room only ride to the station where I needed to transfer. That's where I had more problems. I couldn't find the correct track for the direction I needed to go. An employee saw me looking confused and offered to help. It went downhill from there. He was rude, and insisted that the line I wanted didn't exist, and acted as if I was an idiot for thinking it did. Meanwhile, I'm thinking that I've ridden on the damn line so I know bloody well it exists. I nodded and when he walked away, ignored what he told me and eventually found what I needed.
Anyway, I finally made it to the hotel. I tried to check my coat, as I had last year at Arisia, but was snootily informed by a man at the front desk that "coat check is not provided for Boskone participants" Oookay. Guess our money isn't good enough. I went upstairs, registered, got my badge and program, and began plotting what workshops I wanted. The con is a medium to small sized one but they had a selection of panels, even a knit-along. No description was given and I didn't go, but hey, talk about variety! There was one on ebook publishing (tempting but I ended up passing), the making of book covers (again, tempting, but skipped), trends in YA lit (interesting, more below), readings by a wide assortment of authors, an art show (pieces ranged from meh to OMG that's amazing), a kids area that A really enjoyed, filk panels and a concert, etc. The focus naturally was on science fiction but fantasy was there too along with horror.
I attended, with avangyline, a panel on all of the SF/F/H shows currently on TV. We talked about what was good and why, what wasn't and why, new ones in development, etc. It was late in the afternoon, and I'd been up late the night before, so I drifted off a few times but it was good.
I also went to a FAB event with author John Scalzi and artist Daniel dos Santos. The idea was that John would be interviewed while Daniel painted a portrait. This is the program description:
In this unique mega-mixed-media event, our Official Artist Daniel dos Santos will both interview and simultaneously create a fabulous painting of our Guest of Honor John Scalzi. We considered requesting that John also be suspended facedown in a tub of Coke Zero and Daniel ride a unicycle, but you can only take fan service so far.Daniel dos Santos, John Scalzi
Audience members asked questions, nothing was off limits, as Daniel quietly sat and painted. John was effing hilarious. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, DO IT!!!!!!!!! That event alone was worth the cover charge and the hassle of getting there. I didn't get a close up look of the final painting but it looked excellent from my seat at the back of the room (the event was packed).
The YA trends panel was very interesting. There was a lot of discussion about speculative fiction in YA - is it too dark (no, was the general consensus), it's appeal, and what it's lacking (issues; it tends to be relationship driven, heroic quest driven, or both), and is it on the way out (no, but dystopian is becoming a hot subgenre). YA spec fic books can be very dark but they are still not as dark as the issues books which deal with rape, incest, drug abuse, death, etc. Mention was made by some panelists that they'd like to see the YA spec fic books incorporate more of these issues, while one panelist described them as "sanitized" compared to issues books. It was mentioned that many YA books offer hope that you can overcome anything, that you move forward and grow, and even the spec fic YA books have their own type of HEA. There was also discussion about the marketing of YA books. There's been a marked upswing in marketing YA books, even older ones such as The Giver by Lois Lowry and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, to both young adults and adults. It's becoming common to have marketing campaigns for both populations. Along those lines was a discussion about how lines between young adult books and adult books have become blurred. Basically, the topics and contents are the same whereas before they weren't. One panelist said her definition of a YA book is one that has an adolescent protagonist. It was an excellent workshop and could easily have gone several hours.
ETA: I was reading a scene in a book earlier today (2/21/12) and it reminded that I forgot to include this in my post. I mentioned the art show and gallery. One artist, and I didn't write down his name, darn it, had some pieces that were eye catching, a little gruesome and thought provoking. You know how butterfly collectors like to kill and display their catches? Well, this artist (I wish I'd taken one of his cards!) made (or maybe bought) display cases and instead of butterflies and moths, made resin fairies, pixies, etc., and had them pinned and displayed in the same fashion. The detailing was exquisite and the look of agony on their faces was horrific. Each case had a metal plaque with the type of fae on it and a small card next to the box with where the collector found it, the date and some info about that species. It was well done and only confirmed my hatred for butterfly collections.
All in all, I thought Boskone was well done. The printed program was easy to read and use, signage was excellent, registering was easy, a good mix of panels and participants and there was even a con suite with free munchies (healthy food as well as snacks), comfy chairs, and tables but sadly no coat check. If you like sci fi, and live in or near the Boston area, it's worth attending.