Weird, Wrinkled and Wordy

October 11, 2007

Getting Ready to Geek Out

Filed under: 13th Colony,BIFF,Firefly,science fiction,Vancouver — Valorie Hoye @ 2:11 pm

VCON 32I don’t go to science fiction conventions very often, perhaps one a year for a few years in a row, and then nothing for several years. I’ve been to fan-run ‘cons’ and huge, highly commercial ones. I definitely prefer the smaller ones. I think my favourite had to be a Norwescon in Seattle back in the early 1990s when I got to hear Robert Silverberg talk to two dozen eager fans about writing and where I first saw the artwork from James Gurney’s then upcoming book “Dinotopia.”

VCON, Vancouver’s annual sci-fi convention is just over a week away and for the second year in a row I’ll be there promoting one of my various clubs. Last year I ran a table in the Dealer’s Room on behalf of BIFF, the Burrard Inlet Fan Fellowship. Our stuff sold very well and I got to meet and chat with some very cool people, including authors Robert J. Sawyer and Kathy Tyers. But honestly, it was a lot of work and I never even managed to get to any of the panels. I plan to pace myself better this year, but so far it is looking even busier.

I’m hosting a Room Party on the Friday night on behalf of The 13th Colony, Vancouver’s Battlestar Galactica Fan Club. I’ll also be running a Fan Club table to promote that club, as well as the local Firefly/Serenity club and BIFF. I would love to check out the art show, some of the science programming and the filk concert.

It’s not like I don’t indulge my inner geek on a regular basis anyway, but this feels a bit like binge geeking.


July 25, 2007

Is Fiction Safe Online?

Filed under: BIFF,Writing — Valorie Hoye @ 12:31 pm

For several months now, I’ve had a bunch of my short stories up on the Internet. Part of our routine at BIFF is to challenge each other with short story ideas. We started out with 500 words on the topic, “Frog for Rent.” It was great fun and we had several contributions. My most recent contribution was 1322 words about “Hairy Parade Ninjas” (or not about, in my case) and has just been put up online.These aren’t stories I have a deep emotional investment in, but I have to admit I worry about them, just a little bit. Will someone try to scam them, spam them or just plain plagiarize my work? And would it even matter to me if they did, since they were just done for fun?

As a relatively new and so far unpublished writer, most of my writing is still very private; a personal indulgence rather than a profitable venture. Reading my stories out loud in front of a dozen or two of my friends was easy, but giving the go-ahead to have them published online took some consideration. I look at the firestorm around the release of the most recent Harry Potter book and it scares me. What a tremendous achievement, and one I’m certainly glad J K Rowling decided to share with the world, but what horrible pressure. I think one has to truly need to go public in order to balance off all of the fears that come along with putting your writing out there.

Not sure I’ll ever get there. One very good step in the right direction is to attend the Surrey International Writers Conference.   Registration opens tomorrow.

May 28, 2007

The Force Was With Us

Filed under: BIFF,Movies,science fiction,Star Wars — Valorie Hoye @ 2:24 pm

They ate all of the cake. BIFF’s Star Wars party was a success. We had almost thirty people come out to celebrate the 30th anniversary of my all-time favourite movie. Not too shabby. Kathy Tyers read her favourite scene from Balance Point, and described a bit about the story meeting where she pitched the idea that Luke & Mara should have a child. She considers herself a godmother as a result of her successful efforts. Cindy Turner came out to sing three Star Wars filk songs, and I had the tune for “He’s always a Wookie to me…” going through my head for the rest of the weekend.

I made a couple more contributions to the evening, aside from the cakes, including the Top 30 lines of dialogue improved by replacing one word with “pants.” The best of which was “I find your lack of pants disturbing.” I also polled a number of BIFF members for their memories of Star Wars, and got a very interesting picture of the group.

Half of the respondents named Han Solo as their favourite character, but 50% of them thought his name was really Hans. We ranged in age from 6 to 25 when we saw Episode IV: A New Hope for the first time, but more than 20% of us have never seen the movie in a movie theatre. 43% of our group doesn’t own any Star Wars toys, but I managed to single-handedly skew the results since I confessed to owning more than 50.

36% of our favourite Star Wars memories involved being with other fans. 36% related to the movie itself. 22% didn’t have a favourite memory (of which one declared themselves to really be more of a Trekker), and 6% involved an act of action figure vandalism (something about an epic battle in the microwave).

But the best part of the day was when someone at work (who isn’t really a fan but had listening patiently to me chattering all day about how much I was looking forward to the party) ducked into my office as she left and said “Have a good weekend. May the Force be with you!”

May 24, 2007

All ready for the Star Wars Party

Filed under: BIFF,science fiction,Star Wars — Valorie Hoye @ 10:03 pm

Chocolate ChewieR2D2 Cake Cakes are baked, and they are wonderfully hokey! My contribution to tomorrow night’s “BIFF Celebrates Star Wars 30th Anniversary” Party. Besides the fun of actually making these two, I dug up an old shoebox containing my original Star Wars trading cards from 1977. We’re going to use my old extras of cards and stickers from 1977 as prizes for “starwars-iness”, a heretofore undefined quality we hope to discover among BIFFsters! Thank goodness I don’t have any of the gum left. I also found a “Darth Vader Lives” button from the same era.

I’m going to wear it proudly.

May 7, 2007

Celebrating 30 Years of Star Wars

Filed under: BIFF,Family,Movies,science fiction,Star Wars — Valorie Hoye @ 7:22 pm

I was only nine years old when Star Wars came out May 25, 1977, and it took awhile for the movie to get to the small city in Alberta where I grew up and even longer for me to get around to seeing it. I wasn’t interested until my Dad said “You’ll like it; it’s like Star Trek.” Since our family got our first TV in the early 70s, the favourite hour of my day had been the hour between when Dad got home from work and when dinner was ready. Star Trek was on and that was our time together. Mom said the monsters made my cry but I would not stop watching.

I’ve always wondered if Dad regretted convincing me to go see that particular movie in that summer of 1977. I spent hundreds of his dollars going to the theatre over and over again, buying the action figures, packs of trading cards, puzzles and T-shirts. The sequels meant even more money spent, as I forked over my allowance going back more than a dozen times to see The Empire Strikes Back with my best friends, so we could come home and write out all the dialogue by heart. I saw Return of the Jedi for the first time with my Dad in London, England. Bought an action figure of the red Imperial Guard at the world famous Hamleys toy store.  I still have that figure, and all of those trading cards.

I wanted to grow up and be like Princess Leia. R2D2Years later fell in love with a scoundrel, who incidentally is the tallest and hairiest man I know. I still harbour a desire to own an astromech droid. I did put down Jedi as my religion on an official census form in the 90s. Someone gave me a lightsabre for Christmas last year. It’s on the mantle in the living room. And on May 25, 2007, I will get together with my friends at BIFF to celebrate the 30th anniversary of my favourite movie. There will be a hip Jedi music mix, an R2D2 cake, probably many much-loved Star Wars toys, and possibly some frighteningly naughty limericks. We’ll even have a return visit from our favourite Star Wars author, Kathy Tyers. If you are in the neighbourhood, and you’re a fan, drop by.

The Force will be with you, always.

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