There’s two huge Gaming and Steampunk events to go to this weekend

If you’re looking to go do something this weekend, you have two excellent options in Vermont: CarnageCon and the Vermont Steampunk Expo!

CarnageCon is Vermont’s long-running gaming convention, taking place at the Killington Grand Resort starting today and running through Sunday. This year is the 20th anniversary. This is a weekend of table-top, board, and roleplaying games. Preregistration has closed, but you can still attend. Here’s the schedule.

The other big event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, the Vermont Steampunk Expo, which will take place at the Sheraton in South Burlington. Tickets are $25 for one day, $40 for the weekend, while kids under 12 get in for free. The event will showcase panelists, artisans, crafters, and performers, covering everything steampunk.

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Kane Gilmore has a new book out: Viking Tomorrow

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Local author Kane Gilmore has a new novel out: Viking Tomorrow the first installment of his The Berserker Saga, co-authored with Jeremy Robinson.

Here’s what it’s about:

The world is barely holding on. A century after a series of apocalyptic events, humanity is struggling to survive. In the frigid north of Europe, living as their ancient Viking ancestors once did, the last tattered remnants of humankind have become barren. No new live births have occurred in over a decade. When the remaining population dies, the human race will end. But one man of the old sciences has found a way.

When a call goes out to the greatest fighters in the North, men capable of surviving a long journey and crushing any obstacle in their path, a young female berserker named Val takes up the challenge. With her eyes hidden behind red-lens goggles, she violently proves her worth, seizes control of a small band of fellow berserkers, and determines to claim her prize: the first glimmer of hope for a tomorrow.

Scavenging technology from the old world and the time before the annihilation, the group sets out south, marking the beginning of the Third Age of the Vikings. Almost immediately they are set upon by challenges the likes of which none of them have seen before. Mutated creatures and dangerous landscapes abound, while Val must prove her worth as a leader and keep her unruly men in line.

Traveling deep into the ruined wastes of Europe, the Vikings find themselves pursued by enemies determined to stop them at all costs. Attacked from without and betrayed from within, Val fights for the future, and if she fails, humanity fails along with her.

You can pick up the book on Amazon for $3.99 (or $13.49 in paperback).

Read Aimee Picchi’s In a Field of Bone-Bonnets

Local author Aimee Picchi has a new story out today on Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores. The story is called In a Field of Bone-Bonnets, and it’s her feminist take on the Russian witch Baba Yaga, told from the perspective of her hut.

Unfortunately, the story is only available to subscribers, but you can access it here with a subscription. (A subscription can be found here at $12/yr)

Dartmouth’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science introduces speculative fiction award

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth University is establishing a new award that will honor works of speculative fiction, called the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.

There will be three awards in all: the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative Fiction, Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, and the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting.

The institute says that “arts have always had strong creative connections to the sciences, including computational science. Acting as gadfly for the good, provocateur and satirist when the sciences overreach, but also far-seeing prophets of scientific potential.” Each award comes with a $5000 prize, and works published as of June 1st, 2015 are eligible.

NHPR recently spoke with Dan Rockmore, the institute’s director, about the prize.

Tonight at Phoenix Books: Daniel Mills presents Moriah

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Local author Daniel Mills released his latest novel Moriah earlier this year, but you can see him read from the book tonight at Phoenix Books in Burlington.

Here’s what the book is about:

Silas Flood is haunted, a broken man in a broken country. Nine years have passed since the end of the American Civil War, and Flood is helpless to escape its shadow. During the war, he served as an army chaplain at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania only to lose his faith, his family, and his vocation. Now he finds work as a journalist for a New York newspaper.

In the summer of 1874 he is dispatched to the mountain village of Moriah, Vermont to investigate sensational claims of supernatural happenings at a wayside inn. There the brothers Thaddeus and Ambrose Lynch are said to converse with spirits and summon the dead.

In Moriah, Flood encounters others like himself: a grieving couple, a childless widow. By day he questions the Lynch brothers who prove less than forthcoming. They too are haunted by buried secrets, old ghosts. In the evenings he attends séances where the resurrected dead dance and sing and give comfort to the living. As Flood investigates the true nature of these phenomena, he is forced to come to terms with his own past and with the hold it has upon him.

I really enjoyed the novel, and it’s well worth reading. Tickets for the event are $3, and proceeds go to the Vermont Foodbank.

RSVP here.

The 501st’s Green Mountain Squad made a wish come true in Rutland

The 501st Legion’s Green Mountain Squad trooped earlier this week in Rutland, Vermont to help support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The recipient was Ryan Farrington, a high school student, whose wish was to go to Disney World in Florida. Members of the costuming group were on hand to let him know that the wish was granted.

From the Rutland Herald

The audience got an early start on the cheering when Darth Vader came into the auditorium, spending some time getting his audio equipment functioning well before being joined by the guest of honor.

The cheers were deafening, however, when Ryan was wheeled into the gymnasium, showing off the leg braces with the Darth Vader design that showed his fandom.

After the presentation, Ryan posed with various members of the Galactic Empire, alone or with family. He requested a final photo with just him and Vader.

Bad guys doing good.

Kickstart This: DinoGenics: Dinosaur Park Management

Do you like dinosaurs? How about board games? A couple of locals are putting together a Kickstarter project for a game that they’ve been working on: DinoGenics: Dinosaur Park Management!

Here’s the blurb about the game:

DinoGenics is a worker placement game where players compete to build the most successful and profitable dinosaur park. Each player takes on the role of a multi-billion dollar corporation, each with access to their private island park. Over the course of seven seasons, players will send workers to the nearby mainland to collect resources such as DNA, fences and other necessities needed to run a successful park.

Once a player has assembled their resources, they get to choose how to layout their individual parks and decide which dinosaurs they will attempt to house. Parks with the most prestigious dinosaurs will attract the most visitors, but remember, dinosaurs have a mind of their own and if neglected or improperly penned, they will attempt to escape and spread havoc.

You can snag a copy of the game for $54 over on Kickstarter. It’s already well past its $30,000 goal, with delivery expected for November 2018.

Marian Call is stopping by Burlington in October

Geek musician Marian Call is stopping by Burlington for a house concert next month. According to her website, the event will take place on October 5th, and will be a “friendly house concert.” If you want to attend, head over to the website to RSVP and get the location.

If you haven’t seen her perform in person, it’s well worth the time to go see her. She has a fantastic selection of what I’d call acoustic, geek-lite music, writing about things like Firefly, Mr. Darcy, Shark Week, and quite a bit more.

Colin Trevorrow is out as Star Wars Episode IX director

Vermont director Colin Trevorrow will no longer be directing Star Wars: Episode IX. Lucasfilm made the announcement last night that he and the company had agreed to part ways, saying that “we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ.” No replacement director has been announced yet.

Trevorrow had been in the running for Episode 7 way back in 2012, and joined the Episode IX in 2015, following J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson’s The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi with a film that would conclude the latest trilogy. At the time, Lucasfilm touted his work on Jurassic World, as well as his debut film, Safety Not Guaranteed. His latest film, Book of Henry, was lambasted by critics, although it’s not clear that the two are connected. Trevorrow wrote the script for the as-of-yet-untitled Episode IX, but that draft was re-written earlier this summer. That seems to have caused some trouble, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which reported that Trevorrow and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s working relationship deteriorated.

It’s not clear what Trevorrow’s next project will be, but he joins a growing list of directors to depart from Star Wars projects: directors Josh Trank, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and now Trevorrow have been fired from their films, while Rogue One‘s Gareth Edwards had much of his film reshot prior to the film’s release.