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‘The future is here’: Bubonicon 51 focuses on science fiction films set in 2019

Perry the Rodent is the mascot art for the Bubonicon 51 science fiction convention, which will be held today through Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Albuquerque Marriott Uptown. (Courtesy of Melody Rondeau)

If things went according to Hollywood, we would have flying cars and watch death row inmates on TV fight for their lives.

Many movies in the 1980s and earlier were set in “the future” in the year 2019. The correlation inspired this year’s Bubonicon 51, themed “The Future Is Now (2019 Is History).” The event will be held today through Sunday, Aug. 25, at Albuquerque Marriott Uptown.

“It was pointed out how many movies are set in 2019, so obviously, the future is here,” said Craig W. Chrissinger, Bubonicon co-chairman. “If you watch anime, (in) ‘Akira,’ Neo-Tokyo falls this year. ‘Blade Runner’ was set in 2019. Where’s my flying car? ‘The Running Man’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger, based on a Stephen King book, is set in 2019 … prisons in (Los Angeles) are putting death row inmates on national TV game shows to see if they survive. It was kind of a funny thing about what are these traditions for 2019 and did anybody hit spot on.”

Panels on the topic include “The Future You Imagine Is The Future You Get” and “Tomorrow Is Here Today: 2019 Is History” where panelists will discuss what came to be and what is total fantasy or science fiction yet to come. Another highlight of the science fiction convention will be the commemoration of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing that recently celebrated its 50th year.

“We’re doing a couple panels on looking at space efforts,” Chrissinger said. “One is ’50 Years to the Moon and Back,’ which is about the fact that we went to the moon 50 years ago and what are we doing now. We have a panel on Sunday called ‘Man in the Moon: How the Moon Landing Changed Science Fiction.’ So how did science fiction change because of that? That is one reason also that we have Dr. Harrison Schmitt doing our Science Talk (at 6:30 today). We’re very excited to get New Mexico’s Apollo astronaut there talking about when he was on Apollo 17 the last mission on the moon.”

There will be programming featuring science fiction and fantasy authors, artists and filmmakers. Guests of honor include sci-fi author Allen Steele, fantasy author Ursula Vernon, paranormal and fantasy author Darynda Jones and fantasy artist Greg Splaneka. Other attendees include revered author Ben Bova, former editor and contributor of Analog magazine; and Aaron Campbell, known for his horror comic “Infidel” and his work on “Uncanny,” “The Green Hornet,” “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Shadow”; Stephen R. Donaldson, best-known for his comic “Covenant”; and Steven Gould, who wrote “Jumper,” which was turned into a film in 2008; J. Barton Mitchell, known for his novel “The Razor”; and S.M. Stirling, known for his series “The Emberverse.” Also on hand will be Daniel Abraham, better-known as one-half of James S.A. Corey, creator of the successful series”The Expanse,” picked up for TV by Syfy and now Amazon Prime.

“We’ve got lots of interesting stuff, and we do our usual panel discussions, and authors will do readings, and there’s a costume contest Saturday evening and late night films after that and our charity auction late Friday,” Chrissinger said. “The Albuquerque Brown Coats are doing a charity screening of ‘Dr. Horrible’ on Friday evening, and that’s money for Equality Now and the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. It’s kind of a big community that comes together, and you just squeeze as many things into the weekend that you possibly can and hope it all works out and have fun along the way.”

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