GoH | Golden GoH | Fan GoH | Toastmaster | Also Appearing
Alex BledsoeAlex Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He's been a reporter, editor, photographer, a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, and a very successful writer of urban fantasy and sword and sorcery. Now he lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls, writes before six in the morning and tries to teach his three kids to act like they’ve been to town before. He is the author of the Eddie LaCrosse novels (The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, Dark Jenny, Wake of the Bloody Angel and He Drank, and Saw the Spider), the novels of the Memphis vampires (Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood) and the Tufa novels (The Hum and the Shiver, Wisp of a Thing and Long Black Curl). He also writes the Firefly Witch short story chapbooks. Alex is a genuinely good guy and lot of fun to talk to. More info at AlexBledsoe.com
(Photo Credit: Beth Gwinn)
Ursula K. Leguin gave our Golden Guest of Honor, Gene Wolfe, the coolest jacket liner quote: "Wolfe is our Melville". He's inspired so many readers and writers, and even corresponded with J.R.R. Tolkien. The bibliography of his work goes on and on and on (you can read it here). He's won Nebula, Locus, Rhysling, BSFA, World Fantasy, August Derleth, and Campbell Awards, and his work has been nominated for eight Hugo Awards. He was the Guest of Honor at the 1985 Worldcon, won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1996, inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007, and named SFWA Grand Master in 2012. He received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master award at the 2013 Nebula Awards. And he'll be ChamBanaCon's Golden Guest of Honor for as long as the man wants to come to the con. We love his stories and his wicked sense of humor. Juanita Coulson shares this story about Gene that truly illustrates Gene's personality:
SHADOW OF THE WOLFE
by Juanita Coulson
Photo Credit: Juanita Coulson
Erudite, whimsical, and unpredictable, in a charming and entertaining way. That's ChamBanaCon's GoH, Gene Wolfe. For those of us lucky enough to correspond with him, read his novels and short fiction, and enjoy personal contact, Gene's been a delightful surprise package par excellence. Y'never know where his extremely fertile imagination is going to take you next.
Maybe into a lesson on how to write fascinating tales. Maybe voicing a strong opinion on which of many movies portraying the Gunfight at the OK Corral is worth watching. Maybe to an eerie and mind-boggling road leading into a nearly forgotten corner of ancient history - which then becomes a springboard for a whole new way of looking at science fiction and fantasy.
Erudition? I've added more words to my vocabulary by reading and listening to Gene than I ever did as a result of any language class. Dip into his books with an O.E.D. or some other really good dictionary to hand. The exercise is good for your brain; it'll enlarge your neurons.
Whimsical? He took us on a grand tour of beautiful downtown Barrington, IL, his home base, and showed us The Castle. Although NOT the Castle of the Otter. Ask him about that castle in Barrington, and about his book The Citadel of the Autarch, which somehow became transformed into a haven for furry clam eaters.
Unpredictable? Let me tell you a true story, children. Years ago, comes a phone call from Gene. After the opening pleasantries he inquired of his fellow gun crank if Buck owned a Luger. Always wanted to shoot one of those, he told us. Could he visit and shoot some holes in a target with that famous weapon? Why, sure, pardoner! Time and date were set, and in due course into our rural driveway rolled the Gunslinger from Barrington, ready and eager to test-fire the Luger. And providing his own target: a blue-light special K-Mart windbreaker. Puzzled but game, we tacked that garment to our backstop. The Luger fired just fine, but Gene wasn't happy with the size of the holes it made in the hapless coat. Did we have a bigger caliber available? You bet. The .357 made nice BIG holes, after which that windbreaker was most sincerely dead. Alas, eventually time came for the Barrington Marshal to saddle up and head home. I offered to detach the perforated corpse from the backstop, but he didn't want the thing. No need. He'd already taken a photo.
Whaaaa...? His explanation for a 400-mile round trip to massacre a cheap windbreaker? His editor wanted a jacket shot. Be careful what you ask for, when the request goes to Gene Wolfe.
So...get ready to be surprised, amused, and occasionally quite startled. This is NOT your ordinary kind of GoH. Have fun.
Phil Parker has been a familiar face at sf conventions and especially at Chambanacon for decades. His fannish mother Helen Parker raised him right. He is a dedicated filker, and avid wildlife photographer, an active conservationist, and a furry fan. He gives his time to a tiger conservation and rehabilitation site in Indiana. Despite his fearless demeanor (the guy plays with tigers!) and his deep and resonant voice, Phil can be rather a shy fellow, so it is about time that we recognize him for his years of unwavering support of Chambanacon.
Adam SelzerChicago author, singer/songwriter, and ghost tour guide Adam Selzer writes humorous books by day and researches history, ghost stories, and naughty playground rhymes by night. He's published sixteen books, including the acclaimed Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History, I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, and Play Me Backwards. In 2015 he cranked out two new nonfiction books; one on silent film production in Chicago (Flickering Empire, co-written with Michael Glover Smith, Columbia University Press) and one on Abraham Lincoln ghostlore (Ghosts of Lincoln, Llewelyn). Adam started filking in Atlanta, Georgia, and upon returning to the Midwest joined the 82nd Street Band. They produced an album called Every Man has His Price and Mine is $300, which "started out as a novel called I Beat Up Charles Dickens, then a screenplay but the publisher went with the other manuscript, the director pulled out of the movie, and the story became a bunch of songs." We’re going to have a blast with Adam!
More info at AdamSelzer.com