jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 23rd, 2017 01:43 pm)

Despite the fog that descended upon Michigan some time on Saturday, I made it home from ConFusion 43: Friendship is ConFusion. It was an amazing and wonderful weekend, as always. And as always, my biggest frustration is that there just wasn’t enough time to talk to and catch up with so many cool people.

A few random highlights…

  • Doing the Steven Universe Discussion Squee panel with Amal El-Mohtar
  • Nabbing copies of books by Kameron Hurley and Mishell Baker
  • Reading a bit of Terminal Alliance and having the audience laugh in the right places. (And not laugh at the other parts.)
  • Lots of hugs!

The hardest part of the weekend was the loss of Larry Smith, a convention book dealer who passed away unexpectedly on Friday. I met Larry and his wife Sally when I was first starting out as a writer, more than ten years ago now. He was a great bookseller, always doing his best to make sure he stocked up on titles by guests and attendees, and very knowledgeable about the field. Midwest conventions aren’t going to be the same without him.

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I also put the new Canon 6D through its paces. I had a little bit of focus trouble with the new lens, but the camera did much better in the low-light environment, which is what I was hoping for. I could take higher ISO shots that would have been far too noisy on the old camera. And I got to do author photo shoots for two friends, which was fun.

Pics are up on Flickr. Here are a few of my favorites…

Mishell Baker Cherie Priest Navah Wolve and Amal El-Mohtar Vacation Santa and Hellboy Delilah Dawson

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My thanks as always to everyone who works to make such a fun, welcoming, well-organized convention happen year after year.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 17th, 2017 03:15 pm)

I’ll be at ConFusion in Detroit this weekend. It’s one of my favorite cons, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone. (Even though I know I won’t get to see everyone, and I’ll come away on Sunday being frustrated that I didn’t have time to chat with Person X, and only saw Person Y in passing, and hoping they all know it wasn’t a deliberate slight or anything…)

They’ve posted the programming schedule in several formats. If you’re looking for me (or looking to avoid me), here’s where I’ll be.

Friday

  • Nothing! I’ll just be hanging out and socializing LIKE A BUM!!!

Saturday

  • 10 a.m. – Social Media Tips & Tricks for Authors
  • 11 a.m. – Steven Universe discussion with me and Amal El-Mohtar!
  • 5 p.m. – Autograph Session
  • 7 p.m. – Reading with me, Mishell Baker, and Janet Harriett

Sunday

  • Noon – Here’s What They Did to My Baby! (I think Baby = Book, but you never know…)

Who else is going to be there?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 28th, 2016 03:00 pm)

ConFusion has become one of my favorite conventions. I remember years ago talking to one of the volunteers about how they were working to make this one of the premiere literary SF/F conventions, deliberately seeking out and inviting more writers and professionals, and generally just doing a lot of long-term work to create something special.

As usual, I was lugging the camera around. This time, I forced myself to do everything in Manual mode — setting shutter speed, ISO, f-stop, white balance, etc. This was purely to help me learn more about what the camera can do. The resulting pictures — the ones that turned out — are on Flickr.

The convention is now at the point where a large group signing isn’t enough; they had to schedule two full-room autographing blocks, one after the other, in order to get to all of the writers.

Now, if you’re not there for the writers and the literary side of things, it might not be the convention for you, but I love it. It’s the one time each year I get to catch up with a lot of old friends, as well as meeting new people and people people I’ve only known online:

Amal el-Mohtar and Marko Kloos

Amal el-Mohtar and Marko Kloos

Natalie Luhrs

Natalie Luhrs

Navah Wolfe

Navah Wolfe

If you’re wondering about the crown and tiara, we all had them as part of our Princess panel, courtesy of Merrie Haskell.

I will say that as someone who’s on the more introverted side of the spectrum, I tended more toward the small groups than the huge mob of folks at the bar. That’s just a bit too much noise, and burns out my batteries faster than smaller groups and one-on-one chats. But I got to see and spend at least a little time with almost everyone I’d hoped to see, which is pretty darn good.

I also love that ConFusion is trying to make the convention more inclusive and welcoming to all. A couple of visible examples include designating service animal areas in the consuite, setting up unisex bathrooms, and setting up handicap-accessible seating and areas for wheelchairs and scooters.

Handicap seating

This isn’t to say that the convention is perfect. No con is. But from what I can see, ConFusion is listening and taking steps to do better each year. It makes me proud of Michigan fandom, and grateful to everyone working to put on the convention year after year.

Let’s see, what else…pretty much everyone I ran into commented on the beard. (Generally quite positively.) Professional instigator John Scalzi suggested I do a moustache-related fundraiser of some sort. I’m considering the possibilities there. Also, I played my very first game of Cards Against Humanity, thanks to Alex Kourvo (who I learned had pulled the racist cards from the decks beforehand, thank you).

And then it was time to come home and collapse, because no matter how wonderful a convention might be, it still wipes me out afterward.

A few related links:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 18th, 2016 10:47 am)

I’ll be at ConFusion this weekend, along with a ridiculously long list of cool people. When I’m not doing panels, I suspect I’ll be spending all my free time meeting and catching up with folks. (With occasional introvert breaks where I retreat to my hotel room to recover for a few minutes.)

My official schedule looks like so:

Saturday, 1/22

  • 11 a.m. So grim. Much serious. Wow. (Moderating)
    • Humor and light-hearted adventures have a storied history in science fiction and fantasy. Yet it seems modern work is focused on the darker elements of story telling. Is genre too po-faced outside the work of certain specifically ‘comedy’ writers? Why do so many writers steer clear of overt fun?
  • Noon. Novel Gazing.
    • The Male Gaze is often discussed in relation to how women are objectified in fiction. Less common is the Female Gaze, which is often confused as a direct opposite to its Male counterpart. What are the Male and Female Gaze? How are they different? And how is the Female Gaze changing fiction for the better?
  • 3 p.m. The Princess Problem.
    • Are princesses actually the problem? Does shaming the idea of princesses and the femininity they represent push girls out of the narrow marketing confines of the pink aisles, or does it harm them in other ways? What about girls of color who so rarely see themselves represented as princesses, or cis boys who want to be Elsa, or trans girls who want to see themselves, too? How do we combat the confining box that is “princess culture” without shaming kids who enjoy princesses and the positive traits they’ve come to represent?
  • 4 p.m. Autographing Session.
  • 6 p.m. Cover Art: The Good, The Bad, and the WTF.
    • No genre places more emphasis on stunning cover art than science fiction and fantasy. It often goes right, but not always. With powerful visual projection, the panelists will observe a series of good, bad, and WTF covers from science fiction and fantasy, provide commentary, both in praise and… not.

Sunday, 1/23

  • 10 a.m. Fanwriting in the 21st Century
    • Before there were SF conventions, there were fanzines. Fanzines are still around (one of our panelists won a Hugo for hers) but now there are blogs and podcasts and fanfic too. Our panelists talk about what fanwriting is and why it’s as important as ever in the 21st century.

This is one of my favorite conventions. I can’t wait to see everyone there!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 19th, 2015 11:16 am)

ConFusion in Dearborn is one of my favorite conventions. I’ve been attending for years, and it seems to just keep getting better. I missed it last year, because I was doing a Guest of Honor gig at MarsCon, which was also cool. But I was happy to get back to Fusion, too.

And not just because it meant I got to play D&D with a bunch of awesome authors … though that’s definitely a bonus. Here you see the party in miniature, setting out to explore a maze of twisty passageways, all alike. Three guesses as to which mini Sam Sykes was using:

Miniatures

Trouble was, I think we may have entered into an alternate universe where the laws of probability no longer applied. I mean, I can understand bad dice luck. I’ve rolled plenty of poorly timed 1s on the d20. But when our party rolled three 1s in a row during combat, it got weird. And then we rolled a fourth … a fifth … and finally six 1s in a row, which ended with Diana Rowland accidentally slaying the party magic user. Oops!

Diana Rowland

Saturday was pretty much a nonstop day, from Author D&D to panels to a book launch with ConFusion Guest of Honor Karen Lord, which was awesome. I read and loved her first book, Redemption in Indigo. Well, Karen is as smart and lovely a person as she is a writer, and I came away with autographed copies of The Best of All Possible Worlds and The Galaxy Game, both of which I’m looking forward to reading.

Oh, and I read from and moved some copies of Unbound, too.

The mass autographing went really well, but my favorite part was when Tegan showed up and gave me a beaded Smudge she had made. I love it!

Tegan gave me a Smudge!

ConFusion attracts a lot of awesome people, and I loved getting to just hang out and chat with people. I knew going in that there wouldn’t be enough time for me to catch up with everyone I wanted to, but I did the best I could, and I had a blast.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early on Sunday. My wife had texted me on Saturday to remind me that we had tickets to the Blue Man Group, which I had somehow managed to not add to my calendar. The show was fun, but I’m bummed to have lost the extra time to hang out.

There’s only one thing to do. I’ll just have to go back again next year to catch up with everyone I missed!

I’ve posted the rest of my photos on Flickr, in the ConFusion 2015 album. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. I’m still very much an amateur photographer, but I feel like I’m learning a bit more each time.

I hope the rest of you had as good a weekend as I did!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Jan. 14th, 2015 09:30 am)

ConFusion is one of my favorite conventions. I missed it last year, since I was busy being Guest of Honor at Marscon. (Which is, you know, pretty darn cool too.) But I’m very excited about getting back to ‘Fusion this weekend.

Friday, 1/16

  • 5 pm: Dumb Questions 2015. Michigan – Big Top. A panel where the sillier the question, the better. Please show up ready to try to stump the panel with goofball queries, or just set up a good joke to see what is done with – or to – it.
  • 6 pm: Whose Cartoon Is It Anyways? Allen Park. I’m MCing a cartoonist face-off — the audience gives the panel of cartoonists a situation to draw. Cartoonist #1 draws half of it – Cartoonist #2 finishes it and adds a punchline!

Saturday, 1/17

  • 9 am – Noon: Author D&D. Great Room. Come watch as some of your favorite authors join together in a rousing game of Dungeons & Dragons. During the game we ask that you refrain from interjecting or disrupting the players.
  • Noon: I Suck. Erie. A panel of authors play “dueling suck” with their own works, trying to see who can best generate a vacuum.
  • 1 – 3 pm: Galaxy Game/Unbound Book Launch. Michigan – Big Top. A shared book launch with me and author guest of honor Karen Lord.
  • 3 pm: Mass Autographing Session. Huron—Ontario—Erie.
  • 7 pm: Writers as Fans, Fans as Critics, Critics as Writers and Fans. Southfield. Reviews are not for authors, they’re for fans. But many authors are engaged, critical fans. How can authors engage with fans without creating a chilling effect on criticism?

Sunday, 1/18

  • Sleeping in, hanging out, and whatever else I feel like doing.

ConFusion has turned into a very author-friendly convention, with a lot of author guests. I’m already bummed because I know I won’t have enough time to see and talk to and hang out with everyone, but I’m really looking forward to the chance to catch up with so many amazing people.

Hoping to see some of you there!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Default)
( Jan. 10th, 2013 09:30 am)

I have my tentative schedule for ConFusion next weekend:

  • Friday 7:00:00 PM Inclusion in an Expanding Fandom
  • Saturday 10:00:00 AM Author D&D
  • Saturday 3:00:00 PM Aicardi Syndrome Foundation Fundraiser: Group Cover Pose Unveiling
  • Saturday 4:00:00 PM Lady Voldemort
  • Saturday 5:00:00 PM Mass Autograph Session
  • Sunday 10:00:00 AM Reading: Jim C. Hines & Diana Rowland
  • Sunday 12:00:00 PM Dumb Questions

I may also be participating in a skit on Saturday night, which should be fun.

I’m excited about a lot of the programming this time. The inclusion in fandom panel is something I feel strongly about, and I love that we’ll be starting off the convention with a conversation about how to make the experience more inclusive. Because it’s nice that conventions are comfortable for me as a straight white male author, but it would be even nicer if we could work harder to make them comfortable for everyone.

The Saturday Group Cover Pose panel will be the unveiling of the collaborative efforts of myself, John Scalzi, Mary Kowal, Pat Rothfuss, and Charlie Stross, photographed by the wonderful Al Bogdan. Please note that the actual photoshoot will not be public. (I’m told there had been some questions about this.) My plan is to talk about Aicardi Syndrome and the fundraiser, about sexism in book covers and the genre, and then reveal the AWESOMENESS of our group cover. There may also be something special to auction or raffle off at the end of the panel ;-)

Then there’s the Lady Voldemort panel, which started from a question I posed online. On Twitter, I think. I asked how the Harry Potter series would have been different had Voldemort been female. And not just Harry Potter, but how does gender affect the way we write villains in general? How would the evil and horror of Sauron have been different? How did the White Witch being female affect the way she came across in the first Narnia book? It led to a fascinating discussion online, and I expect the panel to be equally good.

And then there’s author D&D and reading with Diana and talking about dumb questions and seeing a ridiculous number of my friends and fellow authors.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to this con!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Default)
( Jan. 25th, 2012 09:30 am)

Despite the post-con neuroses, I had a great time at ConFusion last weekend. I’ve been going to conventions for about a decade, and this was one of my favorites. Being Toastmaster for the first time was a blast, if a little exhausting. The whole weekend was well-organized, the hotel space works great, and there were so many wonderful people that even though I went up a day early, there was no way to spend as much time as I wanted with everyone.

I apologize for everyone and everything I’m about to forget, but here’s my highlights reel for the weekend…

Author D&D: Friday afternoon, I joined Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie, Pat Rothfuss, Jay Lake/Scott Lynch, Yanni Kuznia/Elizabeth Bear, and Peter Brett for an old-school, first edition adventure through the Keep on the Borderlands. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed kindly DMed the adventure. Favorite moment: too many to count … there was me attacking an old man with half a jaguar, Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie’s ongoing thief vs. assassin bit (with kissing!), Pat’s fawning manservant … author D&D should be a regular part of all cons from now on! My least favorite moment: almost getting killed by goblins. Ah, the irony.

Here’s my badly-stitched wide-view shot of the game. Pete is blurry because he has an extra-high DEX. (There are write-ups of the game from Myke and Brent.)

I Suck: Last year, I proposed a panel in which various authors would talk about … well, you get the idea. I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but we packed the room. John Scalzi, Scott Lynch, Pat Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie and I talked about our own weaknesses, the joy of one-star reviews, and much more. It was tremendous fun.

Opening Ceremonies: Last April, Howard Tayler (of Schlock Mercernary fame) set a high bar for Toastmastering excellence at Penguicon. I don’t know if anyone can top Tayler’s tuxedo and most excellent boots, but I did my best, going in with an epic hat and a sonic screwdriver. My goals were to 1) entertain people and 2) give a good introduction to our guests of honor. Judging from the response, I think I managed to pull it off. Favorite introduction: “This is Joe Abercrombie. He’s British.” Going up on Thursday helped a lot, since I had time to get to know the guests a little more.

Rocky Horror Muppet Show: This is the brainchild of Tom Smith. Imagine the Muppets trying to do Rocky Horror. Yeah… This was, if I’m remembering correctly, only the third time in history the show has been performed. I was invited to be a special guest star. Unfortunately, I missed rehearsal due to scheduling conflicts. So I got a copy of the script, showed up about 20 minutes early with a few questions, and winged that sucker. It was tremendous fun. Tom makes an awesome Kermit, Scooter was a blast, Gonzo had her own knitted (crocheted?) nose … the whole cast was obviously enjoying themselves, and I’m very happy I could play a part. There was one spot where I was supposed to sing, and I cheated by going full Shatner on that verse, which seemed to work. I hear rumors there may eventually be a YouTube video of the performance. I’ll link to it when it goes live. Maybe.

The People: Holy dung, ConFusion had a lot of guests this year! Eight guests of honor (not including myself), and an epic list of authors. I won’t even try to name everyone I got to talk to and hang out with, and if the con had lasted a month, I still don’t think I would have had enough time. I love my geek peeps, and I miss you all! Except Scott Lynch. I’m onto you, man…

The Panties: Oh yeah. Someone asked about that, didn’t they? As with many things, this is John Scalzi’s fault. He walked in on our D&D game to say hi,  announced he was heading out to by underwear (he forgot his suitcase), and asked if anyone needed anything? Naturally, this led to various smart-ass remarks. I said I just wanted something pink and frilly. John returned an hour later… You can see my lacy XS thong in this pic of me and Kristine Smith. I also have a copy of John’s book, which he signed to me as his “thong buddy.” If I’d been thinking, I would have had us both sign the panties, then donated them to the archives at NIU along with my next batch of manuscripts and other papers.

Miscellaneous: Yeah, a lot of people have seen those fantasy pose pics I posted. I’ve been told I should do a calendar. (I’m thinking about it.) I did a kaffeeklatch which went well. I talked about Libriomancer, and lots of people are excited about the new book, which pleases me to no end. I did a joint reading with Kristine Smith. (Our stories are both coming out in March in The Modern Fey’s Guide to Surviving Humanity.) I did not make it to Saladin Ahmed’s new book party, and from everything I’ve heard, that’s my loss. My friend M’jit brought me Disney princess Kleenex. Big B. made me an Origami Yoda. I volunteered to play punching dummy for the Women in Combat panel, but nobody took me up on that :-( It was a good panel anyway. And I’ve got to give a special shout-out of thanks to Scott Kennedy, my liaison/keeper/procurer of stuff.

Program Book Note: Seanan McGuire was kind enough to write a wonderful song for my bio in the program book. Unfortunately, her name was omitted when the book went to the printer. So please check that out (page 10), and know it came from the epic mind of McGuire.

In Conclusion: A great con, and I will most definitely be back next year, when the guests include Charlie Stross, Scott Edelman, and Mary Robinette Kowal.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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First off, because it is awesome: A crocheted Jig the Goblin. (Crocheted Smudge the Fire-spider is also pictured.) This officially makes socchan my favorite person of the week.

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I’m off to ConFusion for the weekend, where I have the honor of being Toastmaster. Basically, I get to MC the opening ceremonies and introduce our various amazing guests, including Pat Rothfuss, Harley Thronson, Tom Smith, Roxanne King, Peter Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Brett Weeks, and Robin Hobb. Those are just the guests of honor, mind you. Check out some of the other authors who’ll be in attendance. It is indeed epic.

So is my schedule, which looks roughly like this:

Friday

7:00 pm - I Suck! In which various authors compete in good fun to play “dueling suck.” I’m excited about this one, which I proposed after joking around with Pat Rothfuss at ConFusion last year. If all goes well, it should be mightily entertaining. Jim C. Hines [M], Patrick Rothfuss, John Scalzi, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie.

8:00 pm - Opening Ceremonies I’m actually a bit nervous about this one. I blame Howard Tayler, who did his Toastmaster gig at Penguicon last year in a tuxedo. How can I top that? (I do have an idea or two…)

Saturday

10:00 am - Jim C. Hines Kaffeeklatsch I’ve never actually kaffeeklatsched before, so this should be interesting. It’s in the Concierge Lounge, and it looks like you need to sign up at OPS if you’re interested. I’m thinking about bringing dust jackets for Libriomancer to sign and hand out. What do you think?

11:00 am - Reading with Me and Kristine Smith Kristine and I will be reading our stories from The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity.

1:00 pm - Science in Fantasy Jason Sanford [M], Catherine Shaffer, Jim C. Hines, Cindy Spencer Pape.

4:00 pm - Care and Feeding of the Writer Elizabeth Bear [M], Jim C. Hines, Catherine Shaffer, Gretchen Ash, Robin Hobb.

5:00 pm - Mass Autographing

Sunday

11:00 am - Future of Publishing Roxanne Meida King [M], Jim C. Hines, Rick Jackson.

1:00 pm - Women in Combat Carrie Harris [M], Jim C. Hines, Scott Lynch, Kristine Smith, Kameron Hurley.

3:00 pm - Closing Ceremonies

And then I come home and collapse on the couch. This doesn’t even include things like barcon time or the Dungeons and Dragons game I’ll be playing in along with various other author guests. I wonder if they’ll let me play a goblin…

I’m really excited about this con. I’ve been going to ConFusion for roughly a decade now, and the con has just gotten bigger and better. Can’t wait to see everyone!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Default)
( Jan. 24th, 2011 09:30 am)

-Being invited to be Toastmaster for ConFusion 2012.  (And quizzing a few friends to find out what the heck the Toastmaster actually does.)  Among other things, I get to introduce author GoH Pat Rothfuss and Fan GoH Tom Smith at opening ceremonies.  I’ve been going to ConFusion for years, so the invitation … well, it means a lot, and I was both honored and delighted to accept.

-Having my brains eaten by balloon Cthulhu, courtesy of Elder Signs Press.

-Winning $1 from SFWA president John Scalzi by triumphing in the medium-range pen-tossing duel during the mass autograph session.

-I did a lot of panels this weekend, and had a blast.  I enjoyed my power trip as moderator, but the most entertaining panel by far was the political correctness panel on Saturday night.  Not what I would have predicted, but I laughed more in that hour than I did in any other panel, and I think we had a pretty damn good discussion, too.

-Reading the first chapter of Snow Queen.  To everyone who attended the reading … I’m sorry.  I had honestly forgotten how rude a cliffhanger that chapter ends on.  I hope you enjoyed it, though!

-The people were awesome, as always.  Got to spend time with old friends, get to know other people better, and meet some new folks.  This is the very definition of conventionwin.

-Coming home to find the on-signing advance for Libriomancer and Enforcer waiting in my mailbox, along with German copies of Mermaid’s Madness.  A nice way to wrap up the weekend!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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jimhines: (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2011 09:00 am)

This has been a pretty intense week for my little corner of the blogosphere.  I was tempted to find another argument to stir up today, but I think I’ve had about all I can process right now.  People have given me a lot to think about, thank you.  I’ll be doing a follow-up on the whole piracy thing, in part to address aspects of the problem which I hadn’t really considered until they were pointed out to me.

For the moment though, have some random and light tidbits.

1. I’ll be at ConFusion this weekend, and I’ve got a pretty busy schedule.  The program book is here.  I’ll be reading from The Snow Queen’s Shadow [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the Board Room, for anyone who’s interested.

2. Speaking of Snow Queen, I’ve been playing around and made a few LJ icons.  Please help yourself, if you’re interested.  (Credit mentioning me or the book is always appreciated.)  Snow and Talia both get quotes from the books, but I think the “Mother issues” one is my favorite.

3. I haven’t posted anything LEGO in a while.  Time to remedy that.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, an evil empire wanted ice cream.  The All-Terrain Ice Cream Transport was created by Louis K, and it makes me happy.  Click the pic for more, including a close-up of Vader with an ice cream cone.

All that’s left is for a John Williams score to start playing in that ring-a-ding ice cream truck style…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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