LUNACON schedule update!


There is an update to my panel schedule at Lunacon, which I posted here yesterday

First, I am no longer a panelist for “Fake Geek Girls, Threat or Menace?” at noon on Saturday.  I will probably attend that panel anyway, as I’d like to put my own two cents (or more) in anyway.

Also, the panel “Safe Spaces, Standards, 2nd Chances” has now been moved to 7pm on Saturday.

Lastly, I am NOW scheduled for to be on the panel “Target Diameter“, in the Birch room at 9pm this evening.  This would seem to be an expanded version of the “flirting/dating” panels that you often see at cons.  The description is:

Want that fan across the room to notice you (in a positive way)? Flirting is great, and will definitely be a part of the package, but we’ll also look at how to dress, carry yourself, and converse in general to send the message you want — and how to kindly but firmly reject the fellow fans who aren’t right for you along the way, as well as how to take a rejection gracefully, but not personally.

Now, there is a good chance that I may still be on-the-road, and on my way TO Lunacon, when that panel starts, so do not be surprised if I am late or unable to attend.  But I will still hold out hope that I will be there in time.  And I will still be on all my panels tomorrow and Sunday.  So I hope to see you there!

By wearehugh

My LUNACON Panel Schedule!

I have been invited to be a panelist at this year’s LUNACON in Rye Brook, NY (just north of NYC).  Here are the panels that I will be speaking on…


Fake Geek Girls, Threat or Menace?    Seymour Boton    Fan Interest         Sat 12:00 PM    

Sex & sexism in fandom. How do we fight stereotyping & stigmas, while still honoring the fact that for many, our fannishness and sexual self-expression are intertwined? Can we create a safe space where sexy self-presentation is respected but not expected from men, women, and genderqueer fen alike? How do we deal with loving works that are problematic? How much is it fair to judge any single work for its contribution to a climate in which women are disproportionately represented in certain ways?


Game of Thrones: TV vs. Books    Westchester Ballroom A2    Media         Sat 3:00 PM    

We’ve had two seasons of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES, roughly covering books 1-2 of GRRM’s “A Song of Ice and Fire.” How good is the adaptation, and how does it differ from the books? Does it matter to your impression that Martin is involved in the adaption?


Sci-Fi Movie Making On the Cheap    Oak    Media         Sat 6:00 PM    

How do you get your sc-fi fantasy idea on video. There are many ways to shoot low budget and still get something watchable. We will discuss some tricks of the trade.


Steampunk – More than Cool Goggles     Westchester Ballroom A2    Costuming    Sun 10:00 AM    

These days almost anything goes. Find out the essential parts needed to make an outfit steampunk.


Safe Spaces, Standards, 2nd Chances    Seymour Boton    Fan Interest     Sun 12:00 PM    

The controversy over sexual harassment at Readercon raises the question, how do we make our cons as safe spaces as we can? What policies should we set & how should we communicate them? What standard of proof can we legally & should we ethically require, & what do we do about cases that don’t reach it? What can & should we do about participation from people who have allegedly committed harassment at other cons? Is it ever appropriate to let someone try again? If so, when, & who decides?


Where Are the Fen?           Birch          Conrunning    Sun 1:00 PM    

Bringing SF readers to cons seems harder than ever… how do we reach them? How does a generalist con continue to attract an audience when their interests are no longer stigmatized, the Internet allows them to connect to other fen year round, and specialized events dig deeper into individual fannish interests?

I will be spending a lot of time at the PHILCON table as well, selling memberships to those who want them.  So, if you have the chance to come by and say hi, please do so! :-)


By wearehugh


(Clockwise from upper left: Emma Watson (Hermione), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), in 2000.)

As I mentioned yesterday, we’re talking about beginnings this week. And here we have the publicity photo that was released when Warner Bros. announced the casting for the three major roles in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. All three of them were about 11 years old at the time, and it was an amazing trip over the next decade watching them grow up into an amazing trio of actors.

(The actors in 2011, at the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” Photo via The Guardian.)

By wearehugh

BEHIND THE SCENES – Let’s start at the very beginning…

So, I have a collection of what I call “behind-the-scenes” images that is actually pretty big.  Like, over 1200 production stills, candid shots, pre-processed SFX photos, and lots of other goodies sitting on my hard drive.  Some of them are actually very little seen images, or are very rare.  So, I decided, why not share some of these here on my blog.  So, I’m going to start making “BEHIND THE SCENES” a regular feature here… provided that all of you enjoy it, of course.

Well, since we’re starting something here, I figured that this week I would share some images that have to do with “beginnings” in some way.  And what better “beginning” to start with than the filming of one of the most famous title sequences in film history…

Click for full-sized image

“It is a dark time for the rebellion…”
(Photo via Industrial Light & Magic)

Yes, this was how the shot the original opening crawls for the first three STAR WARS films shot (this one being for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in particular).  The titles were painted onto a glass sheet, which was then lit from below by very strong studio lights (which you can see at the bottom of the photo in the round holes).  A motion-control camera would then slowly track over the sheet, with all of the lights in the studio (except the ones under the glass) turned off.  That way, the only thing that the film picked up was the lettering of the opening crawl that the lights shone through.  They then used a filter to get the yellow tint for the lettering, superimposed the crawl over a shot of the opening starfield (which was a black velvet cloth with pinprick-sized holes poked into it, with strong studio lights behind it), and viola… classic STAR WARS opening crawl!

Anyway, that’s all for right now.  There will be more posted this week, and I hope you enjoy them!

By wearehugh

“The Call of Great Cthulhu” (to the tune of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”)


Pardon me, boy, is that the call of Great Cthulhu?
Ia!  Ia!
From the City of Dreams!
Just listen, you’ll hear the screams!

Can you afford to ignore the call of Great Cthulhu?
No! No!
The stars have aligned,
So you might lose your mind!

Oh, the sunken burb of R’lyeh will being to arise
Thousands of byakhee will then take to the skies!
Hangin’ with the Old Ones!
They sure are some fun ones!
Soon you bet their minions will be eating someone!

When you hear the screaming and the cries of “Ia!”,
Then you know the End of Days is not very far.
This is a disaster!
Bow to your new master!
Just remember not to call the name of [He-Who-Is-Not-To-Be-Named]!

There’s gonna be a lot of terror ‘cross the nation
Scream! Scream!
Blood, guts, and gore,
From now until evermore!

You’re gonna cry
‘Til you finally get to meet your doom!
So, please, Oh Great Cthulhu
Won’t you please eat me soon?
Please, Oh Great Cthulhu,
Won’t you please eat me sooooooooon?


Oh, and if you’d like the musical accompaniment, we have this…

By wearehugh

Twenty years of BABYLON 5…

Twenty years ago today, the TV series BABYLON 5 premiered.  While never a huge hit in it’s own time, the show became incredibly influential… it was the first show to not only tell season-long story arcs, but it was the first series to actually tell one complete story, from beginning to end, over the entire series run.  And, unlike some shows that drop the ball at the end (looking at you, BSG and LOST), the final episode of B5, “Sleeping in Light”, is still one of the best hours of television out there.  (And that last 5 minutes still makes me cry like a little baby…)

So, for those of you who were fans of the show… what was your favorite part?  Which character(s) did you love the most?  What made you love the show?

And, as a little gift for you, here’s a photo taken in April of last year of several of the cast members and show creator and producer J. Michael Straczynski after they enjoyed a small dinner party together.  I found this in my collection of behind-the-scenes photos, and I love it…

L to R: Bruce Boxleitner (Sheridan), JMS, Patricia Tallman (Lyta), Bill Mumy (Lenier), Mira Furlan (Delen), and Claudia Christian (Ivanova).

And here’s a photo of the entire cast from season 4, displaying the class and refinement that defined the show…

So, have a happy Babylon 5 day, everyone! :-)


By wearehugh

Domino Theory



First of all, look at this gif…

Doesn’t seem terribly impressive, right?

Now, what if I told you that the largest “domino” in that shot weighs over 100 lbs.?  Suddenly, it’s a lot more impressive, isn’t it.

Just remember… don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re “too small”, “too weak”, or “not big enough” to accomplish something.  Sometimes, it’s just all about having the dominoes in the right order.

By wearehugh

Allen Steele at Philcon 2013!


Well, as the Programming Division Head for Philcon 2013, I get to pass on this happy bit of news!

Philcon is pleased to announce that our Principal Speaker for 2013 will be bestselling SF author Allen Steele!

Allen M. Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a prolific author of novels, short stories, and essays. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide. Before he established himself as a science fiction author, he spent several years working as a journalist.

Steele began publishing short stories in 1988. Some of his early novels, such as “Orbital Decay” and “Lunar Descent” were about blue-collar workers working on future construction projects in space. Since 1992, he has focused more on stand-alone projects and short stories, although he has written several novels about interstellar exploration centered on the moon “Coyote”.

He is a three-time Hugo award winner: first in 1996, for his novella “The Death of Captain Future”, then in 1998 for his story “…Where Angels Fear to Tread,” and again for best novella in 2011 for “The Emperor of Mars.”

Steele serves on the Board of Advisors for both the Space Frontier Foundation and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and he is a former member of the SFWA Board of Directors. In April, 2001, he testified before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics of the U.S. House of Representatives, in hearings regarding space exploration in the 21st century.

He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife Linda and their dogs.

We are happy that Mr. Steel will be joining us for this year’s Philcon, being held Nov. 8-10, 2013, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. Please check our website for further details as they are available.  We look forward to seeing you all there!

By wearehugh

Sir Patrick Stewart In A Kilt. You Heard Me.


Good Morning, everyone! Here, have some Sir Patrick Stewart in a kilt!

“Make it so… regimental!”

Happy Monday!

(I’ve been offline from home for almost two weeks, and unable to post, so I figured that I should post something that would really jumpstart this blog. How’d I do? *grin*)

By wearehugh

Quote For The Day…


“The Future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

                                                                            – William Gibson


By wearehugh

The Official White House Response to the Petition to Build a Death Star

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross,Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

(The original response was posted on the White House website HERE.  The original petition is HERE.)

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

By wearehugh

“I think I’m… quite ready for another adventure!”


Black Milk Clothing is coming out with a dress that has a map of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth printed on it. (Please note that the dress is not yet available on their website.)  And, yes, there are in fact SEVERAL lovely ladies of my acquaintance who I think would look just smashing in this…

The “Middle Earth” dress, from Black Milk Clothing.


Of course, being me, my mind immediately goes to all of the inappropriate things one COULD say…

“Excuse me… may I simply walk into your Mordor?”

“Man, I’d like to drop MY ring into her Mount Doom!”

“Your Misty Mountains look cold… can I warm them up for you?”

Of course, also being me, I never actually WOULD say any of those things (unless I were joking with a friend).  But I’d THINK them, because underneath it all I’m a very bad man with very bad thoughts. 😉

By wearehugh

Get Your @$$ To Mars

Mars One, a Dutch-based nonprofit company which hopes to put the first colonists on the Red Planet in 2023, released its basic astronaut requirements today, setting the stage for a televised global selection process that will begin later this year.  (Original story from Yahoo!News can be found HERE.)

Mars One isn’t looking for scientists or former fighter pilots; anyone 18 years or older can apply. The most important criteria are intelligence, good mental and physical health and dedication to the project, as astronauts will undergo eight years of training before launch.


And, yes, it looks like they plan to finance this by staging a reality TV show for the selection of the colonists… but, y’know what? They’ve made shows about worse things. This, at least, is something worthwhile… or at least, more worthwhile than, say, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.

Also note that they aren’t looking for explorers, but for colonists… this is a one-way trip, folks.  If you’re going, you ain’t comin’ back.  You’d be like the family at the end of Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, staring into the canal at “the martians”, as their reflections look back at them.

Would I do this?  In a heartbeat.  I mean, I know it’s easy for me to say (as, health-wise, there’s no way I’d qualify), but to have the chance to be among the first humans to live on another world?  Yeah.  Yeah, I’d do it.

But, in the meantime, I’ll let Mr. Quaid have the last word for now…

By wearehugh