Convention embraces steampunk culture

“ Bubonicon 43 is Aug. 26–28. Bubonicon 43 memberships at door only. We strongly recommend registering for Bubonicon 43 on Friday of the convention after 3 p.m. We might have to turn you away if we hit our fire-code capacity of 650 – and you wait until the last minute to get your membership. The Bubonicon 43 Schedule is now online.”

In my continuing — over 10 years now — commitment to keep you, my readers, in touch with the weird, strange, and just plain fun, we begin this week’s column with that headline from Bubonicon’s website. By the way, this Albuquerque event did, last year, nearly reach that fire code capacity.

What is Bubonicon? A science fiction and fantasy convention, which has now entered its 43rd year, held in our very own state and therefore, if it is your cup of tea, well within reach.

Yes, people really do go to these events in costume — there is even a costume contest — but that is by no means mandatory. If one plans to go in costume, the following information might be helpful: “The theme for the Con is STEAMPUNK, as was expected… Recommended Books: Master of the World by Jules Verne, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, Girl Genius by Phil Foglio, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore.”

Most of you are familiar enough with Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, or “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” that you can deduce Steampunk as referring to the form of Sci-fi which embraces that Victorian era in history and it’s vision of Sci-fi. By the way, one of my favorite works that might fit into that category would be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.

We’ve had the pleasure of spending an unusual amount of time in Albuquerque or Santa Fe over the past month, mostly for business reasons, and one of the side benefits is access to those little newspapers that tell you what is coming up in town. It was in this manner that I first uncovered the item promoting Bubonicon, which was an ad for artist entries, in IQ.

Borrowing from Barbara Senn’s online Yahoo summary of 2008, she sheds more light on the gathering: “Bubonicon is a science fiction convention (or “con”) sponsored by the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society and held in Albuquerque, New Mexico every August. It’s a fairly small con, with recent attendance around 500, but it has a full slate of activities including panel discussions, readings, autograph session, dealers’ room, gaming, art show, costume contest, artist’s presentation, filking, films, auctions, and more. In addition to the guest of honor, guest artist, and toastmaster, there are usually 25-30 or more science fiction and fantasy authors participating.

Although the emphasis is on written works, other media are included as well. All con events are free to attendees who pay the reasonable registration fee.”

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we took the grandkids to the Roswell alien weekend of fun and festivities, and we had a great time. I do not know if I will make it to Bubonicon — it’s the first weekend after school begins — but I know I would if I could. There is, after all, something to be said for simply suspending your disbelief and having fun.