Get Your Steampunk on at ApolloCon 2014

ApolloCon, Houston's science fiction, fantasy and horror convention, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year at the DoubleTree Intercontinental Hotel. Unlike other pop culture conventions that bring in Hollywood stars as their big draw, ApolloCon is more of a "thinking person's con" that caters to crafters, writers, readers and makers.

Programming Director Angela Hardy promises an epic event. "This year, we have 60 programming participants and over 120 different events and panels spanning over three days," she says. This year's Guests of Honor are novelist and screenplay writer David Gerrold (perhaps most recognized for writing the Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles), artist Theresa Mather (known for her detailed sci-fi themed paintings on natural canvases such as feathers and rocks), Vampire Files author P.N. Elrod, über playtester and gamer Al Griego and Jonathan "Skippy" Schwarz, of the Skippy's List and creator of Redshirts, a card game.

"Our scheduling is packed with a wide range of geeky panels and events that should pique varied interests," says Hardy. Panel topics range from thoughtful ("Medical Concepts In Science Fiction") to practical ("Intro to Corset Making") to downright whimsical ("Steampunk Ghost Hunting").

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"Of course, as always, there will be plenty of panels and workshops to help those aspiring writers to perfect their craft, along with readings and panels discussing various sci fi, fantasy and horror properties that are popular right now."

A new feature this year is the comprehensive "makers" track with a chain maille class, making toy guns into props for costumes, and panels with information about how to get started in costuming. There are also offerings in home arts such as crochet, knitting, tatting, and even spinning.

"One of the best kept secrets of ApolloCon, I think, are the, what I like to call, after dark events," says Hardy. That includes scotch and cheese tasting, a masquerade, a dance party, gaming and more. "One of them is a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Another event is a steampunk fashion show that will happen during the judging of the Masquerade costume contes

Advance sign-up is required for some of these special events (like the tastings) and they fill up very quickly as spots are extremely limited. If you want to sign up for one, visit the operations room right after you pick up your badge.

ApolloCon 2014 is set for 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Sunday. DoubleTree Intercontinental, 5747 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. For information, visit apollocon.org. $20 to $40.

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