Bestselling author Neil Gaiman is guest of honor
at AggieCon 33
By JOSH KRACH
Eagle Staff Writer
AggieCon 33, featuring author Neil Gaiman and fantasy artist
Charles Keegan. Activities include guest panels, a dealers
room with comics and collectibles, gaming and a 24-hour anime
WHO: MSC Cepheid Variable
WHERE: 2nd floor of Texas A&Ms Memorial Student
Center and throughout Rudder Tower
WHEN: March 21-24
COST: Nonstudents $22, students $18, One day $15, ages 3-12
To some people,
science fiction is pure escapism. To Yaru Liu, its all about
For the second straight year, the Texas A&M student is director
of AggieCon, one of the largest science fiction conventions in the
Southwest and the oldest to be completely run by students.
[Science fiction] looks into how things could be, Liu
said. Its even sort of a safe medium to
explore present-day ideas and follow them to a conclusion, like
George Orwell did with [his dystopian novel] 1984.
Guest of honor for the 33rd annual event, sponsored by MSC Cepheid
Variable, is author Neil Gaiman, whose most recent novel is American
Gods. According to an interview on Gaimans Web site, the book
is about how, when people came to America, they brought their
gods with them. And then they just werent very interested
in them any more.
The realm of gods is familiar territory for Gaiman, who is perhaps
best known for writing The Sandman, a 75-issue comic-book series
published by DC Comics/Vertigo. The fantasy-horror series focuses
on The Endless, a dysfunctional family of godlike beings nominally
headed by Morpheus, the lord of dreams.
Epic in scope, thoughtful and mature, The Sandman opened many U.S.
readers eyes to the potential of comics as a medium beyond
superhero slugfests and cartoony childrens fare. A multiple
award-winner, The Sandman was also one of the first comics to be
collected into paperback form. Several volumes are available at
the College Station Public Library.
Among his other books are Stardust, Neverwhere and (with Terry Pratchett)
Q&A sessions with Gaiman will be in MSC 201 at 4 p.m. Thursday
and 1 p.m. Friday. He will have a reading in MSC 410 at 10 a.m.
The artist guest of honor will be Charles Keegan, who has painted
covers for books by Poul Anderson and Robert Jordans Wheel
of Time series.
The many other guests include author Joe R. Lansdale and his wife,
fellow writer Karen Lansdale. The Nacogdoches-based Mr. Lansdale
is the award-winning author of more than a hundred short stories
and a dozen novels, many in a style best described as indescribable.
His suspense novels include Bad Chili and Mucho Mojo.
John Lucas is a Waco-based comic-book artist making his fourth appearance
at AggieCon this year. He and acclaimed fellow artist Brian Stelfreeze
kick off the con Thursday, March 21, with Line Game. The artists
are given a few lines, pull the name of an artistic style from a
hat and must produce a picture in that style using the provided
Even though he reads mostly nonfiction, Lucas said that his participation
in AggieCon has been highly rewarding.
I ... get to visit friends, he said. Stelfreeze
has become a pal. I met [previous guest] Tim Bradstreet here, and
weve become pals. And Ive stayed friends with the group
of kids who were running the first AggieCon I came to.
I just really dig small cons. The attendees are always glad
to see you. The big shots dont get to the area, so I can actually
pass as a somebody.
Liu said AggieCon gets between 400 and 500 attendees every year.
Between the guest panels,the anime programming, the dealers
room and the art show, theres plenty to keep them occupied.
In addition, the con does its part for charity with an annual auction
in support of Scottys House.
Weve done the auction for many years, Liu said,
and have brought in as much as $2,000.
Other con highlights include the Masquerade Ball and the traditional
screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A full list of events,
times and places is available at the con Web site.
Tickets to AggieCon are available at the MSC Box Office. For more
information, call the Student Programs Ofiice at 845-1515.
Josh Krachs e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.