Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, March 27, 2011

MidSouthCon 29 Roundup, With Pics and Darrell Award Goodness

It's a cold windy day in Mississippi, and the travelling Tuttles are home after enjoying the many sights and sounds of MidSouthCon 29.

I've got pics!  They're below.  I'm using them a bribe, hoping you'll stick around for the text too.

My big news from the Con is of course the Darrell Awards for 2010.  The Cadaver Client won the 2010 Darrell Award for Best Novella.  And much to my surprise, The Banshee's Walk won the award for Best Novel.

First of all, I need to thank my editor at Samhain Publishing.  Without Bethany Morgan and her patient, wise editing, the Markhat stories and books would all still be languishing on my hard drive.  So Beth, a huge thanks to you!

And of course a huge Elvis thank-you-very-much to the hard-working Darrell Awards folks, who read huge stacks of entries every year with little or no thanks.  So thanks, all!

Now, about the Con.  I had a great time, met some gracious and fascinating people, talked to a zombie or two, got to rub elbows with other writers and publishers, and sat in on some great panels.  I was reassured to hear that no matter our places in the publishing food chain, we writers all seem to struggle with the same issues and jump much the same hurdles.  At least that hasn't changed.

I was surprised to see so many publishers walking around above the ground.  To hear the news coming out of the Big Six, you'd think the publishing industry was nearly as decomposed as the zombie pictured below.  But the small presses at the Con appeared to be doing just fine.  They're selling new books and signing new writers.  That's good news indeed.  Check out Yard Dog Press for a great example of a small press doing big things (wave to Selena!).

I'd need a kick in the head if I didn't also mention the artists.  Look, I've got a couple of Michael Whelans, a signed Vincent Di Fate, some pretty good stuff.  But the Art Room at the Con was a real eye-opener this year.  There are some fantastic artists out there, doing incredible work.  We grabbed a piece and even got to meet the artist, which as a blast.  You should check out Nene Thomas online.  Wow.  Just wow.

Pictures, I promised you pictures, didn't I?  Okay.  Here they come, in no particular order...

Fig. 1, A Zombie.  

He was cool.  He followed people around the lobby until they noticed he was behind them.  The Con-goers would smile and laugh.  The insurance salesmen from Duluth stood there wide-eyed, which is why the only people who will survive the coming zombie apocalypse are are science fiction and fantasy fans.  We know better than to stand s;till when the zombie closes in.

Kids and R2

There were a lot of kids at this Con.  Normally, I'm not all that enthused when I see a nunch of kids areound, but these kids weren't the yelling-shrieking-running-amuck sort.  They were well behaved and having fun, and R2 was a big draw.  I talked to the guy running R2; it took him three full years to build the little droid.  And believe me, it was movie-quality.  R2 moved, reacted, had all the right lights and sounds.  Heck, I doubt anything actually used in the movies was half as cool.

Steampunk Cowboy

Okay, you all know I've made some Steampunk stuff myself.  But sheesh.  These guys are artists.  Look at that gun.  It's [powered and lighted.  The vacuum tubes glow.  All made by hand, just because it's cool.

The Power Pack

Above is the backpack for the guns.  It lights up too.  The awesome generated by this piece cannot be measured by the instruments of Man.  And this wasn't the only piece of hand-made art roaming the halls -- no, it's just one I managed to get a picture of.  There are some insanely talented people out there.  


Who you gonna call?  Well, if you're me, you'd call Room Service for another pizza, but these guys are handy if you've got haunts.  All their gear was movie-quality or better.  All handmade.  I wanted so bad to steal the PKE Meter, but they kept a sharp eye out for potential thieves, darn their hides.

Fig. 3B, Serious Business

Of course it wasn't all Steampunk and robots.  Above are the authors who presented the Different Flavors of Fantasy panel -- Stephen Zimmer, Jeannie Holmes, Ruth Souther, and Violette Reid.  I was hiding in a crawlspace to the right of the table.

You Really Need a Caption Here?

Above is Wonder Woman, and why not?   Pssst -- she told me Supergirl dyes her hair...

Storm Troopers.

No SF/F Con is complete without the diligent presence of the hard-working minions of the evil Galactic Empire.  And we had quite a few Storm Troopers, all arrayed in brilliant white.  They help out with crowd control at the Masquerade, and there's nothing more fun that being told to 'Move along' by a Storm Trooper's crackly little helmet radio.  

Darth Vader Searches for the Men's Room

I times are tough for the Empire too, because Darth was poking around without a single minion.  I saw him slip into a bathroom.  I'm not sure he heard me say 'Look out, it's a trap!'  but maybe that's for the best.

Finally, there's this guy.  No, that's not a photo from the Con.  We ran into him in a Chevron gas station just off I-240 in Memphis.  Lucky for us, he was almost immediately brought down by stray small-arms fire from a  club across the street.  Stay away from the airport frontage roads, kids!  

I had a blast at the Con.  The people are fantastic, the programs and panels are worth their weight in Unobtanium, and here's a big huge thank you to all the people who worked hard to make MidSouthCon 29 another complete and total success!

And thanks again to Beth!


  1. Hey Frank,

    Congratulations on your double Darrell awards!. Very cool and very well deserved.

    Saintly Brees

  2. Saintly! Good to see you here man. Thanks for the kind words!