Boskone Mini Interviews: Janet Catherine Johnston and Jon Hunt

As we head into the final days of 2015, Boskone brings you two new Mini Interviews that feature returning Boskone participants Janet Catherine Johnston and Jon Hunt. If you’ve walked through the Art Show in the Galleria at Boskone, you’re sure to have seen Jon’s work or if you have attended one of the science talks, you’ve probably heard Janet speak. However, you may not have had the chance to meet them. So, it is our pleasure to introduce you to Janet and Jon. When you see them at Boskone this year, be sure to say hello.

Janet Catherine Johnston

JanetCatherineJohnstonJanet Catherine Johnston is a published science fiction author, playwright, master costume designer, fashion consultant, private pilot, fortune teller, singer, Middle Eastern Dance performer/choreographer, seismologist, astrophysicist and engineer. She holds four degrees from MIT in four different disciplines. Born in Manhattan, she moved to Massachusetts in 1971; although she has visited or worked in over 45 countries, lived in New York, Virginia, London and Moscow, she always returns to her beloved Plum Island home, where she has lived since 1976. Her hard science fiction stories have an unsettling edge to them and have been described as “H.P. Lovecraft meets Arthur C. Clark.”

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?
The level of knowledge of the fans there. They have read such a wide range of authors, spanning many years of publication. I always come away with a new perspective on some science fiction topic and suggestions for reading new (old) books and authors.

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?
The death of a man I loved. I became kinder and more tolerant. My eyes even changed color, I thought it was from all the tears, but if eyes are truly the window to soul then I have independent evidence I really changed.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?
I’m working on a screenplay based on my novella, “Lune Bleue,” (Analog 2013). It’s about 3 people struggling to survive on the Moon in the wrong place, at the wrong time, having to deal with creepy, autonomous robots, failing life support facilities, giant mutant rats, and World War III–and did I mention one of them is crazy? I thought this would be relatively straightforward after turning two of my short stories into one-act comedy science fiction plays that kindly were produced at Arisia last year, but a screenplay is yet a different animal!

What is your favorite Star Wars memory, scene, or line? What is it that that memory, scene or line that continues to stick with you today?
Although much of my life philosophy comes more from Star Trek, the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Yoda raises Luke’s fighter out of the swamp after Luke exclaims ‘shuffling stones around is one thing but this (lifting the fighter) is totally different’. To this “It’s only different in your mind,” Yoda says and this is my favorite line. As a congenital amputee, I have tried not to let things that at first glance seem impossible discourage me from at least trying. Things like getting a pilot’s license and teaching Martial arts, or sewing and winning a worldcon masquerade…

Jon Hunt

Jon_Hunt-PhotoI work in both traditional and digital media for book jackets, storyboards and concept art, collectible card games, role playing manuals, music videos, and magazines. I freelance for Frombie where I work with a talented group of young artists designing collectible toys, comics, pins, posters and more. In addition to my freelance work, I have developed my own line of creepy character pins called EEPz. I also write a bi-monthly column called “Art Drone” for Art Hive Magazine and am an adjunct illustration professor at three colleges. For more information, visit Jon’s website, friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?
I really enjoy the atmosphere. Boskone is one of the most laid back and conversation-friendly conventions I have ever attended. A bunch of us got snowed-in last year–which was annoying at first, but it actually ended up being a great experience (there’s no better way to end a long weekend than sleeping on a hotel room floor with 4 other illustrators and writers)! Since I am an illustrator, the Art Show is definitely a focal point for me. I can always count on being humbled by a diverse and inspiring selection of paintings and prints by some of the most talented and influential artists working in the genre. And this year’s guest list is stellar! I look forward to catching up with friends as well as networking with artists, art directors, editors and fans.

Jon_Hunt-OnMars-Cover-DetailWhat are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?
I teach illustration as an adjunct at the college level and I have been working on a variety of freelance illustration projects. This year, in addition to 6 book covers, I have done concept art for games and a comic, created a logo design for a clothing company and labels for beer bottles. I drew storyboards for TV commercials and old-school comic-style illustrations that were animated for a documentary about the dangers of fracking. I write a bi-monthly column on art and creativity for the arts and entertainment magazine Art Hive. The diversity of the subjects that I tackle in my freelance work is both exciting and challenging and really keeps me on my toes. It’s a good thing I love research!

From a fan perspective, what new book, film, TV show, or comic are you most looking forward to seeing/reading?
I was disappointed with Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, but I feel he redeemed himself with the quirky moral ambiguity of Chappie. I am especially looking forward to seeing what his unique take will be on the Alien property!

What is your favorite Star Wars memory, scene, or line? What is it that that memory, scene or line that continues to stick with you today?
I was nearly 11 years old when the first Stars Wars (A New Hope) was released. I grew up watching Saturday morning Creature Features and science fiction movies from the 1940s-1960s. So, despite being a bit clumsy and cheesy by my adult standards, back in 1977 Star Wars was an epiphany for me on so many levels. Lucas’ film was the modern incarnation of everything that I loved from those old movies. When I walked out of the theater that afternoon in 1977, my fate was sealed: To this day, through my own art and writing I am still trying to re-live the wonder and awe that the film and the concept art of Ralph McQuarrie inspired in me.

~

Register for Boskone today. Join us February 19-21, 2016

B53-Registration

Registration Rates:

  • Adult rate: $50
  • College student rate: $35
  • K-12 student rate: $25
  • Friday: $25; Saturday: $45; Sunday: $25
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