NexCon 2 and beyond!

NexCon 2 happened last May 16-17, 2015 at Function Room 2, SMX Aura but I’m only writing about it now because Real Life got in the way. Boo to Real Life! 😛

poster - Nexcon 2015 main poster

First off, I’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone who made NexCon 2 possible: the wonderful attendees (seriously: you guys are the best con attendees ever!), the amazing guests and panelists (we bow to your experience and insights!), the exhibitors (thank you for believing in our event!), and the convention staff (hard workers all around!).

How much fun did we have? A LOT. A WHOLE BUNCH. A WHOLE FREAKING TARDIS-LOAD.

Fitting NexCon 2 inside the TARDIS. Photo by Adam Fuqua.

16 fitting the convention inside the TARDIS - Adam Fuqua

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NexCon Manila – the ultimate science fiction and fantasy party!

The thing that I’ve been helping out with since graduation is finally happening this weekend! Welcome NexCon Manila, the biggest science fiction and fantasy event of the year! It’s on May 31-June 1, 2014 at the Bayanihan Center in Ortigas. What a way to cap off your summer 😀
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What makes NexCon different from other local conventions is that we focus on science fiction and fantasy content from the Philippines and the West. The biggest activities are the film, comics, and literature panels featuring genre entertainment leaders – groundbreakers here in the Philippines and abroad. Where else can you sit down and discuss film with Erik Matti (Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, On the Job) and Louie Suarez (RPG: Metanoia),
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comics with Leinil Yu (Superman: Birthright, Avengers), Danny Acuna (veteran komiks artist), and Carlo Vergara (Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah),
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and horror literature with Karl de Mesa (Damaged People: Tales of the Gothic Punk) and Yvette Tan (Walking the Dead and Other Horror Stories)?
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And the fun doesn’t stop there! GeekFight Trivia Night is celebrating it’s 5th anniversary at NexCon Manila with GeekFight Battle Royale! They’ve planned eight kick-ass rounds of all things sci-fi and fantasy, including rounds that are freaking genius. One of the rounds started out as a joke but they ran with it anyway, so be prepared! I would so join if I weren’t a co-organizer 😛
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And last but not least, we have the contests! There are three contests for the event: Cosplay Masquerade, Cosplay Rumble, and Take Cover. What’s the difference between Masquerade and Rumble? Check out the infographic below:
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For hardcore competitive cosplay, I recommend joining the Rumble. Best in Show receives a 7″ tablet from our sponsors!
Take Cover is a photo competition, where you edit your awesomesauce cosplay photos into even more awesomesauce NexCon Manila comic book covers!
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Did I mention that we’re ending NexCon with a (Big) bang? Because we are! Indie bands Peso Movement, Stereodeal, and Paranoid City – all fantastic bands and Converse endorsers – will get you dancing, singing, head-bobbing, and geeking out, all at once 😀
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Interested in going? Buy your tickets now! There are different ticket tiers to suit everyone’s interest level and budget. I highly recommend that you get the Gold ticket for maximum enjoyment, as it includes access to all the panels and contests for two days, access to NexCon Rocks (the closing concert), AND a free limited edition NexCon shirt if you’re among the first 200 ticket buyers 😀
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Book review: “Libriomancer” by Jim Hines (spoilers ahoy!)

It’s not often that a book makes me laugh out loud, but there’s something about Jim C. Hines’ Libriomancer that got me from the beginning. The official description:

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror, he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic.

At its heart, Libriomancer is a love letter to every bookworm who ever imagined reaching into their favorite book and becoming part of the story. It’s funny, sad, and exciting all at once.

My overall rating: 4.5/5 stars.

SPOILERS INCLUDED IN THE REVIEW!

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Book review: “The Enchantress” by Michael Scott

After five years in the making, we finally have “The Enchantress”, the final book in Michael Scott‘s series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

The official book description:

The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.

San Francisco:
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.

Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.

Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.
But will the twins of legend stand together?
Or will they stand apart—
one to save the world and one to destroy it?

“The Enchantress” took me a while to finish compared to the other books because 1) I had to stop and start because of work, and 2) it felt longer and emotionally heavier compared to the others. My somewhat disjointed thoughts on the book:

  • The whole book felt like one extended battle scene. We have old!Prometheus, old!Tsagaglalal, and Niten on the Golden Gate Bridge;  the Flamels, Billy the Kid, Machiavelli, Black Hawk, Odin, Hel, and Mars in Alcatraz; and Scáthach, Joan, Saint-Germain,  Palamedes, Shakespeare, young!Prometheus, young!Tsagaglalal, Virginia Dare, John Dee, Sophie, and Josh in Danu Talis. There’s little room to breathe as the battles rage on.
  • Because the battles rage on and on and on, there’s little further character development. How the characters are at the end of “The Warlock” are basically how they are in “The Enchantress”.
  • Virginia Dare’s bigger role was a nice touch. I would have loved to learn more about who her Elder master was and why she killed him but with an ensemble cast this huge, I’m not surprised that it was never explained.
  • The big reveal about Sophie and Josh’s origins wasn’t just big – it was mind-bending. Seriously. I hate that there was no fanfare – Isis and Osiris just come out and say it – for something this huge. But I suppose in the greater scheme of the story, their origins weren’t that important.
  • I salute Michael Scott’s expertise in mythology and folklore. He managed to wrangle these disparate characters from all over the world and weave them together into an engaging story.
  • That said, maybe he shouldn’t have included so many characters. Sure, they all get their moments but I would have loved more real development as the story progressed. Out of the huge ensemble, my favorite has got to be Machiavelli.
  • Another thing Michael Scott wrangles well is time travel. Done haphazardly, time travel is an awful, awful plot device. But in this case, he plots everything to perfection. I love it! The twist with Josh is especially cool.

All in all, it was a good book and a fitting conclusion to the series. Here’s hoping that Michael Scott will release more short stories (and compile them!) to fill in the (kinda big) gaps in the story. I totally enjoyed “Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas”.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars.

And I’m finally done! Whoohoo! Now that that’s over, any recommendations for what young adult book I should read (and review) next?