From the very moment I read the title I knew I was in for something weird and campy. But would I love it or hate it?
Night of the Living Inflatable Love Dolls is like your typical zombie apocalypse story except the “zombies” are blow-up dolls, dildos, and other sex toys that are brought to life by an experimental chemical weapon designed by the military. Sheriff Wilson must marshal the townsfolk against the onslaught all while trying to protect his daughter, Lana, and her boyfriend.
The story runs like your usual story about survival during a zombie apocalypse. And in that, there is not much in the way of surprises. Let me be clear, there are scenes that happen in sudden and unexpected ways, but they remain the kind of tropes you would expect in the subgenre. However, Glaze takes the oddball concept of the story and runs with it, leaving puns and scenes that will make you laugh your ass off. And, well, the victims exploding from the black gooey substance being projected out of the dolls and sex toys is both gory and…..a brilliant running pun.
I found myself loving the story, even if I was sometimes cheering on the dolls. While not a masterpiece, it is still a fun and entertaining story that will appeal to any reader who has a morbid and perverted sense of humor. Or any sense of humor.
In the usual weird-things-always-happen-on-my-way-to-a-convention fashion I spent the bus ride from Columbus to Cincinnati on a bus that smelled like an outhouse due to maintenance not cleaning the crapper tank, possibly because a massive wind came out of nowhere followed by a torrential downpour as soon as my bus arrived to the station. My Bus Ride from Hell continued through a tornado zone that left the bus delayed due to a traffic jam. But at least I got to see a semi truck laying several feet from the road with its front cabin crumpled like a wadded up piece of paper—an interesting image and one likely to end up in a story some day.
The Cinci to Louis bus ended up three hours late, this on top of a two hour lay-over. Not too bad since I got to spend the time with a couple Iraq vets. We avoided boredom by performing a Three Stooges routine followed up by a game of bloody knuckles. They also described to me an interesting new game they learned in Iraq: I believe it involved an auto grenade launcher and a crate of bean bags….
And all these years I thought Bottle Rocket War could get painful. Silly me.
By the time I arrived at the Galt House (I’ll let other folk blog about the problems with that hotel) it was around 3 am Saturday morning. Since I didn’t have the money for a room, I did what I normally do in that situation; I did the catnaps-in-bathroom-stall-while-avoiding-the-security-guards shuffle.
Got my badge, etc., around 9 or so. At which point I was locked, cocked, and ready to rock.
There were quite a few crickets on the literary panels I was on, and it seems that was pretty much standard for the whole entire literary program track. The plus side was that 10,000 people came to see Bruce Campbell. The downside was that apparently 9,990 of them came only to see Bruce Campbell.
Ah well. Shit happens.
I still managed to sell and sign a couple anthos there, so I’m not complaining. Especially since I can say that H. David Blalock got my autograph. 🙂
The major plus was all the cool writers I got to meet and hang out with, like Selah Janel and D.A. Adams, the Zimmster, Shrews, Charlie Kenmore, Gary Wedlund, Maurice Broaddus, Michael West, Alexx Miller, Marian Allen, TammyJo Eckhart, and many many more (If I forgot your name, drop me a comment and I’ll add it—yes, I’m still that hung over). I also got to party with Paul West and Taylor Kent, and Taylor let me crash in his room and even fed me, and bought my drinks.
You rock, Snarky!
There wasn’t a con suite with free food like at the other conventions I attend, so I didn’t exactly come prepared. If it weren’t for Snarky and Zimmster I probably would’ve starved to death.
You rock, Zimmster!
And a whole lot of interesting discussions went on, ranging from spec-fic stuff to political stuff and other intellectual stuff and…stuff….
Yeah, it’s been two days since I got home and I still feel hung over.
Overall, I had a blast, despite the hotel preventing simple basic things that could’ve made the convention more successful marketing-wise. Oh, and the hotel upping the parking price on everyone at the last minute.
Good thing I didn’t come by car.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…but overall it was fun, fun, fun.
Day 1 – Fun in the Rain
2:30 P.M. – 4: P.M.: During my bus ride there, I get rained on…twice. Worse, all my pretty display books I had in my makeshift backpack ended up waterlogged. Fortunately, my books for the autograph signing were protected by the cardboard boxes I kept them in. While the boxes got a little wet around the edges, those books remained nice and dry.
7 P.M-11 P.M..: Opening ceremonies were cool. Clemmons is always a blast. Soon after eating some grub, I went immediately to my first of many panels for the weekend—Writing Fantasy, with Sandy Lender, Cinda Williams Chima, Tina Morgan, and Timothy Mulcahy. And yes, I’m using the booklet thingy to remember all the names again (for the most part). That panel went quite well, and yes, I brought along my Ancient Pagan Symbols by Elisabeth Goldsmith book (which didn’t get as wet as the others did) to make my usual points with, and pimped out The Silverblade Prophecy podcast novel.
After that, I went to listen to the Trusting Your Reader panel with Jason Sanford, Holly Sullivan McClure, Tina Morgan, Ty Schwamberger, and Michael D’Ambrosio. I’ve interviewed Ty before, but this is the first time we got to meet face-to-face. He’s even cooler a dude in person than he is online. I ran into Holly when I had first arrived, and we got to chat a bit before the convention started. We have three things in common: we’re both Christian, we both tend toward Gnosticism (just not the commonly known whacked out version of it), and we both know all about the NAU and Amero plans (Heh, and some people still say that’s “just a conspiracy theory”).
I also met Lucy Snyder before the convention and chatted a bit with Nick Winks and a couple other people.
Then I had my second panel for the night—What’s a Monster? with McClure, Lender, and um somebody with the last name of Arceneaux (the full name’s not in the booklet, and there’s a whole lotta’ Arceneaux’s on Google—ay, yi, yi, me and my poor little brain…). Naturally, during the panel, I gave out the definition of “Human” in Black’s Law Dictionary: “See ‘Monster’. Yeah, people got a kick out of it.
Then to the Apex Party….
I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember a couple things: I met a bunch of folk whose names completely escape me (you know who you are, so feel free to give a shout out in the comments section to help jog my shoddy memory) as well as hung out with Maurice Broaddus, Ty, and a few others. The party got broken up by security, so of course a few of us continued the party in other parts of the hotel. Ty’s girlfriend was nice enough to give me cigarettes.
And I don’t recall passing out three times. I only remember passing out once…and waking up on a floor in a hotel room with a hangover. Two guys who I also met at last year’s Context were nice enough to let me crash in their room. I’m trying to remember their names—WARNING, WARNING, BRAIN CELL OVERLOAD!!!—ugh, I hate my brain. Give a shout out, guys, you know who you are, and I do too…well, everything except the names. Man, I suck at names.
Day 2 – The Panel Marathon
A word to the wise: never ever do 6+ hours of back-to-back panels, readings, and autograph sessions with a hangover. It no feel good. Especially with eggs and bacon for breakfast.
I did my Best Books panel at 10 A.M. with Nick Winks, Mark Evans, and Dave Creek. I think I did well. I think…. After that was my reading. Alas, nobody showed. It might be a good thing, though, considering how reading with a hangover feels like.
Then came the two-hour autograph session. Alas, I didn’t sell one single book. However, later, Nick bought a copy off me and officially became my first autographee. And after he read my story, he started telling people how cool my story was. 🙂
Next came the 1 1/2 hour Education of a Writer panel. And no, I can’t remember who all I was with. There was, like, over twenty of us on it. Clemmons and the writer GOH’s were obviously there, as was Creek (I think), Lender, and Jackie Gamber. Way too many names for my poor wee brain to remember, even with a booklet thingy.
At 4 P.M. I went and got some grub at the Chinese restaurant across the street. Alas, poor airhead me was unable to find the Consuite with all the free grub until the third day. I then went and checked out the Editors, Publishers, and Agents… panel with Jason Sizemore, Lucy A. Snyder, Lawrence C. Connolly, Michael Knost, Dave Creek, and Mike Resnick. Resnick was his usual curmudgeony self, but dang, that guy knows his stuff!
At 5, I was on the Why Write About Freedom? panel with, Marian Allen, Sara Deuerell, Dennise Verrico, and Dan Gamber. Um, actually, Tobias Buckell was supposed to be on the panel, too, but he got sick and had to leave. The only name that’s familiar to me is Gamber, I thought the female was actually Lender, and there was this older guy (a Libertarian, like me) whose name currently escapes me. Overall, it was a cool panel, and I got to coin the phrase “Freedom is spelled G.U.N.S. Ampersand A.M.M.O”.
Sigh. Now, if only I could have that on a coin—preferably a gold or silver one.
Immediately after that panel, I managed to crawl over and participate on Putting the Science in Science Fiction with Santora, Catherine Asaro, Creek, D’Ambrosio, and Mulcahy. What with all those degrees around me and me being a high school dropout, I was bursting brain cells just to try not to sound stupid. I think I managed. Asaro, being both a hotty and a Quantum Physicist pretty much rocked that panel.
Of course, someone just had to ask us what education and degrees we had. Figures….
After that panel, I went and got some grub at the Mexican restaraunt. Oh boy, their hot sauce is HOT! Worse, it’s even hotter coming out than it was going in.
Ugh! Certain parts of my body still burn just from the memory.
Then I did my 8 PM panel, The Prose of Gaming, with James Daniel Ross. What with the combination of a hangover, queasy stomach, super-paneling brain drain, bursted brain cells, and hot sauce trauma, I was more than happy to let Ross do most of the talking to our one guest. Besides, he’s a good orator.
I skipped the 9 P.M. panels and went straight to the Meadowhawk Press and Shroud parties. And no, I did not get drunk this time! I ingeniously figured out the perfect caffeine-to-alchohol ratio in order to consume mass quantities of both caffeine and alchohol while remaining completely sober.
And, no, I did not fall on my arse trying to break dance; my Evil Twin tripped me.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
Day 3 – A Sun, Sunny Day
I managed to wake up in time to do my 10 A. M. panel, Keeping The Faith, with Jason Sanford, Aceneaux, Creek, Asaro (a.k.a. Hottie Quantum Physicist), Wyatt, and S. A. Swann. I was definitely in my element on that panel and also flashed the handy-dandy Ancient Pagan Symbols book. What can I say? I love that book. It’s a major eye-opener when it comes to symbolic literacy.
Then I was on to Since When Can I Understand the Troll Speaking? with Stephen Zimmer and Sandy Lender. That panel was small enough to turn into a round-table discussion, and Linda Winks was there with one or two others. It’s also officially the first panel I ever moderated (Yay!). Naturally, since a troll appears in The Silverblade Prophecy, I got to plug the podcast novel yet again (Yippee!).
At Noon I got to listen in on Gender Issues in Writing and Publishing and did my last panel at 1 P.M.: Translations, with Maura Heaphy and Stephen Zimmer, which was all about translating books into movies, music into stories, etc. Eventually, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen popped up in the discussion which allowed me the opportunity to coin yet another new phrase: “Jesus Christ Has Chrome!!!”
Erm, in order to understand that, you’ll have to see the movie. I’ll give you three hints, though: Optimus Prime, the “Three Kings”, and a certain “star” in the east. 😉
Seriously, all that is in the movie.
Tended the closing ceremonies, got applauded for doing the most number of panels at this year’s Context, met new folks, made new friends (even if I can’t remember all their names), and ate out at a bar & grill with the fine folks at Meadowhawk Press and Shroud Publishing.
All-in-all, it was fun—despite the water-logged books.
Here’s a quick run-down of my 2009 MARcon experience:
Got my badge and went to the consuite for some grubb. Talked to a couple fellow convention-goers while Samuel T. Clemmons had a Mark Twain tea party thingy. I was too deep in conversation to catch the whole thing, but that’s okay. I found it on YouTube when I got home:
At the Dealer Room, I ran into T. R. Chowdhury, who I met once before at Context 21. Since I owed her a book purchase, I bought hers and T. M. Crim’s book, Shadow Over Shandahar: Child of Prophecy. As of this date, I’m currently on Chapter 4. Pretty good so far. The writing style reminds me of Ed Greenwood a bit.
I checked out the Twilight panel before going to the panel I was on with Brian Mosteller, Rebecca Kernaghan, and David Pitstick: “As a Gamemaster, What is Your Goal?” Prior to the panel I had a conversation with a Klingon about the new Star Trek film.
People got a laugh at my idea of using a half-orc named Bubba as a cell mate to make sure a player “gets the hint” on why his character should stop causing needless trouble.
Afterwards I went and ate Sushi at the Consuite and ran into a couple people I had met two years ago at MARcon 42. Then I went to the “Con Sociology 101” panel. Alas, I had a hard time listening due to the heavenly sight of a hot babe with some really sexy boots on – and a really, really big gun….
Then I went to the restroom, splashed some cold water on my face, and went outside for a cigarette. On my way down the hall, I encountered hotty with big gun again. Back to the restroom for more cold water.
What can I say? I love guns.
Visited the Vampires in Literature panel, mostly because I knew there’d be a few hotties dressed like vamps there. Oddly, there were only two. I decided I’ve seen enough horror panels for one night, so instead of visiting the Scared Hot panel, I had a one-on-one discussion on religion and ancient societies with a guy whose name I can’t remember. Eh, I can barely remember my own name half the time.
Smoked a couple more cigs then crashed out at the all-night movie theater. Unfortunately, I got so enamoured in the movies that I only got about 45 minutes of sleep in. Somehow I even skipped the Catacombs/Guilty Pleasures and Play Party going on across the hall from the movie rooms.
Dang, I’m such a geek….
Ate some breakfast then went to my 10 AM reading at Suite 501. Discovered it was locked. Went back downstairs to let the staff know. Ran into Nick in the elevator on my way back up, who gave me the key. Alas, only one person showed (I think his name was Steve. I met him once before at MARcon 42, so you’d think I’d have his name memorized by now. Remind me to have everyone write down their names from now on. I sooo suck at remembering names), so I just let him skim through some of my published work, and we talked about writing and publishing for about 10 minutes. Once we realized no one else was showing up, we went back downstairs. As I handed Nick back the key, he introduced me to a guy from OSU who was conducting interviews for a local radio show that’ll be hosted by NPR. I’ll let you know the date and whatnot of when it’ll air when I find out. I know it’ll be sometime this fall.
Oh yeah, prior to heading to my 10 AM reading, I went outside for a cig and had a nice conversation with a hottie dressed as a Twi’lek slave dancer. The costume was 98% body paint. Yep. Cold water time….
Now you know why I stay single. 😉
At 11:30 I visited the “Writing and the Rest of Life” panel being done by Ross Martinek, Tracy (T. R.) Chowdhury, Charles Coleman Finlay, and Faith B. Van Horne. Learned some interesting tips.
At 1 PM, I was on the “I Have No Idea Why I’m On This Panel” panel with Evan Mill Seigling, Finlay, and Michael Z. Williamson. The goal was to figure out what three things we each had in common based on the questions being asked us. Eh, getting two out of three ain’t bad….
Immediately after that panel was my 2:30 panel, “How do You Write The Other,” with Tim Waggoner, Martinek, Andrew S. Swann, the Author guest of Honor: Simon R. Green (who I’ve dubbed “The Brit”), and Williamson. That was the best panel on that day. The Brit has a sense of humor par excellance. He can literally say something that you know will offend half the people listening, but say it in a way that’ll have you laughing too hard to even realize that you’re supposed to be offended.
Sigh. If only I could be so wittily skillfull.
Williamson, btw, is just as witty and funny in his own way. Playing off those two was what helped make me look good. 😉
(Note: the reason I know all these names is because I have this handy-dandy little booklet in my hand to refresh my memory with)
Hanged out at the consuite, went to eat some grubb elsewhere (and get loaded up on CAFFEINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), took another smoke break, then visited the “Diseases For Your Characters” panel.
One word: MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!
Me so evil… 😉
Missed the Tracy Chowdhury reading at 7 (Dangit!) but caught the “Practical Technology” panel halfway through. Why? I got sidetracked….
Don’t ask. My memory’s a bit hazy anyhow. Only 45 minutes of sleep, remember?
“Open Short Story Readings” at 8:30. Martinek was the moderator. Only two people showed up with stories to read. After the one guy nearly killed us over with what amounted to just a set of comedic punchlines….
Hey. At least after him, my stuff came off sounding like a pro’s. 😉
Ate some Deli at the Consuite, and loaded up on more CAFFEINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pumped myself up with more Nicotene and went to the 10 PM “Buffy!” panel, then did the “War Stories From The Gaming Table” with Kernaghan, Alex Rodriguez, and Chowdhury at 11:30. Whether it was because of the Masquerade party or the all day/all night gaming sessions (or both), nobody but the panelists showed up. So, we all went over to where Clemmons, Martinek, and Lisa Richards were doing “Open Adult Readings”.
Guess who else showed up? Yeah, that guy with the killer stories. *shudders*
Eh, at least they were funny….
Suffice it to say, having done all that on only 45 minutes of sleep, not even the movies were enough to keep me awake.
Got up around 6:45 AM, got cleaned up and dressed in the restroom, ate breakfast and loaded up on more C & N. Caught the “Super Robots In Anime” panel because nothing’s cooler than giant robots and hotties dressed up as Anime characters….
Yeesh! Maybe I should, like, just give up on the whole being single thing….
It’s warping my fragile little mind.
Checked out the 11:30 AM panel, “In Space, Who Can Hear You Pray?” There’s something about watching an atheist and a religious person have an argument that kinda gives that same “watching a train-wreck” feel you get when watching an argument on economics between a Keynesian and a Hard Money Austrian. It just leaves you going, “Whoa….that was like, so cool…look at all that blood….”
Then I attended my 1 PM panel, “I’ll Rip Out Your Eyestalks And Stomp On Them,” with Williamson, Martinek, and Green. So yeah, you can probably already imagine how fun that panel was. After a half-hearted attempt to keep it intellectual, we basically devolved down to having the attendees make up some nasty sc-fi critters and have us figure out ways to kill ’em dead.
Only The Brit would instead try to figure out how to have sex with the big nasties. So yeah, The Brit had us laughing our butts off the whole time.
Have I mentioned that this panel was the one con-goers claimed was the best panel of the whole convention?
After that, my last panel to visit before heading home was the 2:30 PM “Programming Brainstorming” for next year’s MARcon.
Erm, I think I got volunteered to help plan the next MARcon.
I never have learned to keep my big mouth shut….
Hey. At least, what with a Horror theme and all, MARcon 45 is GUARANTEED to be awesome! 🙂
Yeppers. I’ll be at MARcon here in Columbus, May 22-24. So far, I’ll be on 4 panels:
7 PM: As a Gamemaster, What is Your Goal?
1 PM: I Have No Idea Why I’m On This Panel (this one promises to be a fun one)
2:30 PM: How do you write THE OTHER
1 PM: I’ll Pull Out Your Eyestalks And Stomp On Them