(The following post is an article containing an interview. It describes an upcoming, multi-faceted event with authors of science fiction and fantasy at its heart.)

By David Steinberg

“Superstitions and Urban Legends” is the overriding theme of Bubonicon 45, New Mexico’s annual sci-fi convention. As usual, this year’s convention is spilling over with events – panel discussions, readings, an art show, film screenings, auctions, gaming, costume contest and a dealers room.

Bubonicon will be Friday, Aug. 23 through Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, 2101 Louisiana NE.

Among the headliners are a passel of New Mexico authors. They include George R.R. Martin (yes, that George R.R. Martin of “A Game of Thrones” fame), Daniel Abraham, Darynda Jones, Ian Tregillis, Melinda Snodgrass and John Maddox Roberts.

Out-of-state authors – and there are many – include Diana Gabaldon, Tim Powers and Brent Weeks.

Weeks and Powers are the co-guests of honor. (Powers is perhaps most widely known for the novel “The Anubis Gates,” which won the Philip K. Dick Award. Weeks’ “The Night Angel Trilogy” has been published in 10 languages.

Bubonicon co-chair Craig Chrissinger talked about how this year’s theme came about.

“When we were talking about themes someone pointed out that this (year) is twenty-thirteen. Well, it’s the only time most of us will see thirteen in a year in our lifetime,” Chrissinger said. “In the case of Bubonicon, we’re looking at how superstitions and urban legends begin. What’s their origin? Black cats, broken mirrors, walking under ladders, horseshoes and four-leaf clovers…”

He said the theme will offer a challenge for people who like wearing costumes during Saturday’s events or who enter the Bubonicon costume contest: “How do you dress to represent a superstition, good or bad? Maybe like a leprechaun or the Talking Mirror from ‘Snow White’? It should be interesting to see how people’s creativity interprets this theme,” Chrissinger said.

And authors think about superstitions when they’re writing stories, he surmised. “Do they wear a lucky shirt or a lucky pair of socks?” Chrissinger wondered.

There’s going to be a Saturday afternoon panel discussion on the subject moderated by Tor Books editor Claire Eddy.

Bubonicon’s Toastmistress is urban fantasy writer Diana Rowland. She’s best known for her “Kara Gillian” and “White Trash Zombie” series.  Rowland is on the Friday evening panel discussing “Audience Expectations: Should a Story Deliver.”

Here are some other convention highlights:

*Martin has a reading Friday evening, as well as a one-on-one conversation with Powers noon Saturday on “Whatever Happened to Dark Fantasy.” Martin will also take part in Saturday evening’s mass autographing session.

*Gabaldon moderates a panel discussion Friday evening on the creation of superstitions.

*Scientist Catherine Plesko of Los Alamos National Laboratories discusses “Mechanics of Time Travel: Again, Here We Go” Friday evening. It’s followed by a charity auction for the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at Eastern New Mexico University and the Roadrunner Food Bank.

*A discussion Saturday morning on “Cage Fight: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy.”

*Bubonicon guest artist Alan F. Beck gives a slide show presentation Saturday afternoon. Beck’s art, the Bubonicon press release states, “tends to be realistic and surrealistic in nature, often whimsical and humorous.”

Bubonicon registration begins at 3 p.m. Friday. A three-day pass is $45. Daily passes are $15 for Friday, $25 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday.  Discounts for those ages 14-17. Children under 14 are free when accompanied by an adult. Adult supervision of the child is required.

For more information contact Chrissinger at 266-8905 or visit http://www.bubonicon.com.