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MALICE DOMESTIC XVIII April 21-23 by Malice Domestic, Ltd.
Review by Gayle Surrette
Malice Domestic, Ltd. Convention  
Date: April 21-23, 2006 / Show Official Info /

The fit between mysteries and science fiction is a natural one. In fact SFRevu has had reviewed several science fiction mysteries over the last few months: Dead Man on the Moon by Steven Harper; Memory in Death by J.D. Robb; Sharper Than A Serpents Tooth by Simon Green; Already Dead by Charlie Huston; and The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde among others.

I attended Malice Domestic for the first time. The convention is relatively small, consisting of about 800 people (fans, writers, and others). Looking around when I first arrived I felt that I'd somehow taken a wrong turn and walked into a Science Fiction Convention. For example, the panel on Crossing Genre's had the following panelists: Sally Fellows, Lois Greiman, Maria Y Lima, Carole Nelson Douglas, Barbara Hambly, and Lillian Stewart Carl. There were also many familiar faces in the audience.

Opening ceremonies was followed by a reception featuring desserts from the novels of Katherine Hall Page the guest of honor whose books feature a minister's wife who also runs a catering business. The desserts were absolutely wonderful especially the chocolate layer cake, chocolate cookies, and ... well everything. Actually, this set the tone for chocolate -- it seems mystery readers and writers are as enamored with chocolate as science fiction fandom. Later the first evening Malice Theatre of the Air did a radio script presentation of a short story by the ghost of honor Craig Rice, dramatized by Hal Glatzer called "His Heart Could Break."

Panels were well attended and usually there were 5 or 6 during each time slot. A short list of panel titles shows the diversity of material covered: Tea and Strumpets: First Base? Second Base? What is cozy sex.; Mr. Monk meets Mr. Poirot; The Role of Humor in Mysteries; Using the Mystery to Confront Social Issues; Chicklit Mysteries: We've Come a Long Way, Baby!; What's My Plot; Poison's (expert panel on how they work, detection, plot ideas); How to Disappear (expert panel on how to disappear in America by a person who actually hides people for a living); Cozy Taboos and Crossing the Line; Swimming with Sharks: What I've Done for Research; and many others.

The expert panels were somewhat similar to the science track at a science fiction convention. Experts from police departments, hospitals, ballistics, and other fields offered a lectures in their field of study. These were usually filled with concrete information and where to look for details for the mystery plot that needs to use poison, a gun, hide a victim, or whatever. Definitely a working writer's type of conference.

Besides programming, there were the usual extras: a lounge/con suite with food and drinks (and chocolate), freebie tables, dealers room, interviews with the guests of honor, a free bag of books, a book swap table, and a charity auction. If you're interested in mysteries, this is small convention that offers plenty of opportunity to meet and talk with authors and other readers of the genre -- and you may have a chance to meet with friends from the SF field too.

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