ConTemporal 2014: Day One

ConTemporal 2014 is underway, and there’s even more mood-setting decorations throughout the hotel, music playing, costumes everywhere. Here’s a few photos, including of the massively expanded high tea room:

It wouldn't be a NC sf convention without Allen Wold, here looking quite dapper. Be warned: he's carrying a badge.

It wouldn’t be a NC sf convention without Allen Wold, here looking quite dapper. Be warned: he’s carrying a badge.

I admit it. I jumped just a little bit when this little trike's animatronic motors kicked into life.

I admit it. I jumped just a little bit when this little trike’s animatronic motors kicked into life.

Luckily for all concerned, this guy doesn't move.

Luckily for all concerned, this guy doesn’t move.

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Coming to Town: Dave Lee for ConTemporal, interviewed by Paul Cory

ConTemporal is this weekend (June 27-29) at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, and artist guest of honor Dave Lee is one of dozens of guests coming to town for the event. Lee’s travel isn’t too far, as his Hatton Cross Steampunk is located in Gloucester VA. An accomplished and award-winning Steampunk artist, he is also an author: his Steampunk western novel entitled Country in Ruin:1865 is published through HCS Publishing and its sequel World in Ruin:1870 is due out in 2014. Here, Lee took the time for some questions from Durham photographer Paul Cory.


Dave Lee, photo by Paul Cory

Interview by Paul Cory:

Q:  Why Hatton Cross? Is there a particular significance to the name?

A: It started out as a joke. A British friend of mine said the best way to pick your steampunk name was to pick two or more names from London underground stations. There are more than a hundred with very unique names. Hatton Cross is a station and I just liked the sound of it. I’ve always had it in my head that we’d have a group instead of an individual.

Q: How did you get introduced to steampunk, and what about it keep your creativity flowing? Read the rest of this entry »

The Exploding Spaceship Reviews Enoch the Traveler, Cauldron of Ghosts, Morningside Fall, Treasure Planet, Sea Without a Shore, A Case of Spontaneous Combustion and Peacemaker

Review of Enoch the Traveler: Tempestas Viator by Lady Soliloque (World Castle Publishing, January 9, 2014)

This novel is the story of Enoch, a character who is mentioned in the Bible, but we are told nothing about him. Lady’s Soliloque uses the ideas of parallel universes, locations outside of time and space, and great beings to explain the Christian idea of God and angels. Like some other fantasy and science fiction which uses ancient religious ideas with a new twist like Marvel’s versions of Odin or Thor, this science fiction world explains the universe as Christians from our world see it.

enoch cover

Enoch has traveled around a great deal and caused some problems (see previous books with main character Heather, sister to Violette the main character in this volume), so at the beginning of this volume he meets Violette when she gets him out of trouble, and they go on adventures together, running from some beings who want to end Enoch, and exploring places to explain the multiverse to Violette. Some of Heather’s friends appear on the scene because they are concerned about Violette and soon after Alastair and Annie are brought into the adventures. They bring their boss, Deacon, into the group and this allows them to access all of Deacon’s knowledge and cool technology. Read the rest of this entry »

The Exploding Spaceship’s Geeky Travel Special Edition!


In this column Your Humble Reviewers take a look at a couple of recent conventions, and a look forward to some coming up, focusing our attention on writing tracks and family activities near the convention site, which can be used to turn a weekend getaway into a longer vacation. Featured are some of the smaller conventions in the Southeast from Virginia to Louisiana which are family-friendly and offer tracks for aspiring writers.

Timegate: Centered mainly on the Doctor Who and Stargate television shows, this Memorial Day Weekend convention in Atlanta, Georgia boasts a strong writers’ track. The dealer room is well organized and not crowded and has a wide variety of merchandise, with a particularly heavy lean toward Doctor Who items, much to the detriment of our wallet. Other British shows are also strongly represented here.

The Doctor Who guests this year were Terrance Dicks, who wrote for the classic TV series from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, and Gareth David-Lloyd, of Torchwood fame. Writer guests of note were Lee Martindale, Lady Soliloque and Gillian Summers.

This year featured a special announcement by North Carolina author Lady Soliloque that her book Enoch the Traveler will be made into a TV series by a cable network. Filming will be in North Carolina in the Fall for broadcast in 2015. See review of the novel here.

Enoch Lady Soliloque Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Quick Update: Manly Wade Wellman Award nominations close TONIGHT, Monica Byrne reading tomorrow, and! ConTemporal is coming

Friday, June 13, 2014: Today is the last day for nominations for the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award, which close tonight at midnight! If you are or were a member of illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, or ConGregate, you are eligible to vote; if you haven’t, please fill out the registration form and I will get your e-ballot to you right away.

Tomorrow, Durham author Monica Byrne is reading at McIntyre’s Books at 11 am. She was on WUNC’s “The State of Things” with Frank Stasio yesterday, discussing her novel The Girl in the Road, which she’ll be reading from at the event.

Via Warren Rochelle, a fantastic article about Fred Chappell by  for the Triad City Beat. “There is an octagonal wooden table on the side of a small deck in Fred Chappell’s backyard, one of three places in his house where he sits to write.”

A Kickstarter campaign by Silence in the Library Publishing, HEROES! A Diverse Superhero Anthology which has reached its initial funding goal, and which is very close to reaching a stretch goal of including a story from Charlotte author Gail Z. Martin.



6-22 — Raleigh Little Theatre presents Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” at Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. “ A novelist invites an eccentric medium and clairvoyant to his house to conduct a séance for research for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his temperamental first wife.” More info:

13 (Friday) 7 pm — Quail Ridge Books hosts Quail Ridge Books’ Teen Writers Collective Performs.

14 (Saturday) 11 am — McIntyre’s Books hosts Monica Byrne – The Girl in the Road.

19 (Thursday) 6 pm — “Noir at the Bar” in Durham as “Seven gritty crime writers descend upon Downtown Durham to talk books, writing, and drinking at 106 Main. Join Grant Jerkins, Phillip Thompson, Steve Weddle, Eryk Pruitt, Charles Dodd White, Peter Farris and Chad Rohrbacher for a night so dangerous, you’re going to need a drink.” More info:

20-22 (Friday to Sunday) — Heroes Convention in Charlotte, presented by Charlotte comics shop Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find, at the Charlotte Convention Center. More info:

26-29 (Thursday to Sunday) — ConTemporal in Raleigh at the Hilton North Raleigh Midtown. “Join us for the Third Annual Extravaganza!” More info:

27-28 (Friday and Saturday) — The High Country Festival of the Book in Downtown Boone, NC. More info:

27-29 (Friday to Sunday) – LibertyCon, Chattanooga, TN. Guests include Pittsboro author David Drake and master of ceremonies Jim Minz. More info:

[As always for the latest listings see the most recent newsletter.]

A Teenage Girl Goes on a Science Fiction Adventure – The Exploding Spaceship Reviews Recent YA Science Fiction: Glaze, Salvage, These Broken Stars and Earth Star


Female SF authors write teenage girls having science fiction adventures – a type of read I wanted as a teen but wasn’t available!

The last few months have seen several great new teen science fiction adventures come into our review pile, all featuring a female lead character (although one really has a male as co-lead) and all written by female authors. Given the rarity of female focused science fiction adventure and female science fiction writers work being reviewed, I thought it was proper to give them a column all their own. A special thanks goes to Flyleaf Books for their panel in April called Girl Power! where we got to meet the authors of two of these books.

Review of Glaze by Kim Curran (Jurassic-London, May 22, 2014)

This is the story of Petri, a 15-year-old girl from London whose mother thought the name was a good way to tell everyone that her daughter’s father was a petri dish. Petri does have a father figure in her life, Max, her mother’s boss at the company which controls all the hardware and software of the biggest social media company on the planet. You can’t have the hardware installed until you are sixteen, so Petri can’t join her classmates in using the network, called Glaze. Read the rest of this entry »

June newsletter: MakerFaire, Noir at the Bar, ConTemporal, and the last week for Manly Wade Wellman Award nominations

Vol 4. No 6. June 6, 2014: First, it was pretty amazing to see so many fantastic NC authors and fans at ConCarolinas last weekend. (And, OK, sure, those coming in from out of state as well!) June is a bit quieter in terms of readings, though (of course) there’s still plenty going on, from Maker Faire this weekend to ConTemporal to close out the month, and the first “Noir at the Bar” event on June 19 with a half-dozen (and counting) crime novelists holding court.

Looking further ahead, while there’s rumor and word of a D.B. Jackson signing at Quail Ridge Books in July, I don’t have the final details to pass along just yet. But! The “NEW” event listings include the annual “Can’t Stop the Serenity” charity screening of the Firefly movie in July and not one but two readings with John Scalzi in late August.

Meanwhile, new content (other than a few “Friday Quick Update” posts) since the last newsletter includes:

And, speaking of Durham author Monica Byrne, she was my guest on The Latest from Carolina Book Beat: Monica Byrne which is now available in podcast. There’s one more night to catch her play Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo at Durham’s Manbites Dog Theatre, and she will be at McIntyre’s books on Saturday, June 14.

Lastly, I need to draw your attention to nominations for the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award, which have been extended through Friday, June 13. If you are or were a member of illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, or ConGregate, you are eligible to vote! If you haven’t, please fill out the registration form and I will get your e-ballot to you as soon as I can.





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