“The library deeps lay waiting for them. Out in the world, not much happened. But here in the special night, a land bricked with paper and leather, anything might happen, always did.”
-Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
As a librarian by trade, this sequence in Bradbury’s coming-of-age fantasy was bound to make an impression on me (light puns are the best part of waking up, right? Anyone?). The language is striking, giving these seemingly inert objects made of paper and leather a life of their own. It is a life that is somehow more promising, more tangible, more real than reality itself. It is the power of stories to change the world.
On this third day of Chicon 8, the library encounters of Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade came to mind for a couple of reasons. The obvious connection would be the fantastic exhibit now on display at the American Writers Museum, Ray Bradbury: Inextinguishable. If you have the chance to walk down to Michigan Avenue, it is well worth your time (or you can scroll through the virtual exhibit, featuring excellent histories and interactive 3D models).
Then again, it could simply be the wondrous truth that Bradbury touches upon: these stories, filled to the brim with dreams, have the power to reshape reality. Yesterday, I attended a terrific workshop hosted by author Michael Zapata, “Last Evenings on Earth: Writing the Otherworldly.” In addition to giving us insightful writing ideas and tools for our craft, Zapata showed us how the real and unreal become tethered in fiction. Our reality informs our stories and our stories let us see through the eyes of another, changing our world in surprising ways. And here, in the very real city of Chicago (or wherever our members may reside), we are celebrating this magical transmutation of stories becoming our reality.
Of course, there are problems with the lines that follow in Something Wicked, and we should be willing to acknowledge the limitations of cultural representation in our favorite novels. However, the ideas remain strong and can be reborn with the help of new voices. Zapata suggested that we read Our Dead World by Bolivian author Liliana Colanzi, which draws inspiration from Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. However, she uses this inspiration to tell a new story about marginalized peoples and contemporary Latin American culture. We are always building upon the stories of the past, revisiting these ideas with a new perspective.
The convention halls are waiting, surrounding us with paper and ideas and the words that change us forever. How will the “unreal” shape the realities of today?
Rex Allen Hughes, Newsletter Editor
The First Chicon
Want to learn more about the First Chicon and our Guest of Honor, Erle Korshak? Stop by The First Fandom Experience table in the Dealers Room and pick up a copy of their new book!
WSFS Business Meetings on YouTube
You can watch the proceedings of the WSFS (World Science Fiction Society) as they appear in the following YouTube channel. Be sure to bookmark this channel for future recordings!
Werewolf Game in Breezeway
Jack Frost will be hosting a Werewolf game in the 2nd floor Breezeway connecting the East and West Towers at Midnight, Saturday night. Please note that this is NOT convention function space; the hotel has given permission to use this public space to host the game and can take that permission away if we are not respectful of all hotel guests who may use it at the same time. All are welcome to join us.
Fan Gathering : Number 6, The Prisoner, Portmeirion, Secret Agent (D-Man)
On Sunday, September 4th, at 6:30-7 pm in the Acapulco Room, join Dave Lally (immediate past chair of ESFS, which runs the annual Eurocons, and first-time visitor to the US!) for a chat regarding all things Number 6. A raffle will be held with proceeds going to Fan Funds, TAFF, GUFF, etc. Some items focus on the famous Prisoner “Village,” Portmeirion. These include village maps, two bottles of No 6 Stout (one full and one empty… sorry).
Also, you can hear news regarding LocationCon, August 2024 (one week before Glasgow Worldcon). Starting in London and ending in Glasgow the day before that Worldcon starts, we visit two Prisoner locations (Number 6’s London house and the above village in NW Wales) plus other SF sites (London TARDIS, Steed’s Avengers Flat, and H G Well’s Tripod, plus sites from The Wicker Man). Look for The Prisoner and LocationCon leaflets around Chicon 8. Be seeing you!
Poster Art for “Man and Atom Society”
If you were admiring the display of poster art by Kelly Freas at the “Man and Atom Society” booth, you might be interested to know that there are six total pieces. These are being displayed in rotation, two at a time, so come by Saturday, and then Sunday or Monday, to see the whole set.
Making Clones… I mean, Copies!
If people need photocopies, there is a FedEx/Kinko’s in the Illinois Center through the pedway off the West Tower (Gold Level). It is on the pedway level to the left once you get into the Illinois Center. The FedEx/Kinko’s is open Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm. It is closed Sunday and Monday. Black and white copies can be made for 17 cents each.
Experience the Launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission
A NASA science expedition to the international space station wants 35 social media users to get a behind-the-scenes look (on the ground). Check out their website here (applications due Tuesday, September 6th, 3 PM EST).
Special thanks to David Lally, C.D. Carson, Helen Montgomery, Kevin Standlee, Jack Frost, Jodi Schneider, and Polly Peterson for contributing to the Sunrise Edition.
If you would like to submit updates to the newsletter for morning (Sunrise Edition, 9 am) or evening publication (Chicon Signals, 5 pm), please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can also visit our social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook for more news!
The Star Chart newsletter is produced with the (much appreciated) help of several folks, including our Publications team, roving reporters Suzan Spitzberg and Michael Nelson, and various contributors. We look forward to experiencing Chicon 8 with all of you!