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My Worldcon 75 Probably Final Schedule

Written on July 17th, 2017 by
Categories: News
Worldcon 75

In August I’ll be flying off to Finland (by way of Iceland) for the 75th annual World Science Fiction Convention (aka Worldcon 75).

In mid-June the organizers were kind enough to send me a tentative schedule, but asked me to wait before posting it as they wanted to firm up some items. We’ve had some back and forth on things (owing in part to my plans to leave Helsinki on Sunday morning and miss the last partial day of the convention), but they have been great to work with.

Today I got the green light to share the schedule. Things could still change, but I’m liking what I see.

Thursday, August 10th
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. | 103 Messukeskus | Reading
Reading slots are apparently hard to come by at this convention. I am one of two authors in this hour (the other being the awesome Scott Lynch!). Depending on what people want, I”ll either read the opening chapter from next summer’s BARSquel, or the opening to the next month’s Amazing Conroy novella.

Friday, August 11th
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Courtyard Messukeskus | Strolls with Stars
I’m a big fan of the Worldcon strolls. It’s a great opportunity to chat with authors and fans while also taking in some local sights. Plus, I get some of my steps in!
with Eva Elasigue, Walter Jon Williams, and lots of other folks!

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | 215 Messukeskus | SF & Education
Science Fiction and Fantasy are interrelated with education in many ways. From the earliest years SF was thought of as a way of sugar coating science – and many young readers have in fact been inspired to go on to study the sciences by their early enthusiasm for SF. But it also goes the other way – many reluctant readers are motivated to learn by the pleasures of genre books. Then there are all the imagined schools – Hogwarts is only one. As well, SF and Fantasy serve as ideal forums for imagining how education could be different – even wildly different – think brain implants or babel fish! This panel will delve into the links between SF and Education – as is only appropriate in a country whose schooling leads the world in the education league tables!
with Charlie (M), Nick Falkner, Diana ben-Aaron, Aidan Doyle

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. | 208 Messukeskus | Alien Language in Science Fiction
As easy as a Babel Fish is, usually alien languages are handled differently in science fiction. The panelists discuss various alien languages and how they are understood. I’ll be moderating.
with David J. Peterson, Stephen W. Potts, Cora Buhlert, Heather Rose Jones

Saturday, August 12th
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Signing Area Messukeskus | Autographing
I’ve been given a slot for signing all the things. So, even if you don’t have a copy of Barsk on hand, or a back issue of Spin with one of my Finnish translations, do stop by anyway and I’ll sign one of my new Historical Science Fiction Trading Cards (I’m #158).

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | 205 Messukeskus | Coping strategies for publishing in small markets
Sometimes the publishing markets aren’t that big – perhaps because language reasons. There are different ways writers from smaller countries can and do use to reach a wider audience, however. Getting famous in your own country first, writing in a foreign language, selling straight into translation and other strategies are discussed. And again, I’m moderator.
with Tom Crosshill, Teodor Reljic, Raita Jauhiainen

While it’s possible that some portion of the above will change prior to the start of the Worldcon, it’s unlikely I’ll be in a position to post an update. So, either go with the above or consult the program schedule in Grenadine.

Eating Authors: Rajan Khanna

Written on July 17th, 2017 by
Categories: Plugs
Rajan Khanna

As you’re reading this on a Monday morning, I’m catching my breath. This is my week to do that, a brief span of presumed normalcy as I recover from the glories that were the NASFiC in Puerto Rico even as I prepare for the 24th annual conference of Klingon speakers that begins next week outside Chicago. Or as I like to think of it, transitioning from Spanish to Klingon.

Amidst the unpacking and repacking, the sorting through piled up correspondence, thinking about the sounds of language provides a good segue for this week’s guest. Rajan Khanna, in addition to writing fiction both long and short, has built himself a reputation for his narration of other authors’ work in venues likes Beaneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, and PodCastle, to name just a few.

I’d been pursuing Rajan for the better part of two years, trying to lock him in for a visit at EATING AUTHORS, but the timing was never right. That happens a lot with authors’ schedules which are a whirlwind of deadlines and obligations. But I’ve learned to be patient, send the occasional follow-up email, and wait for the right time or circumstance. In this case, a trip up to New York last month triggered the necessary cascade and here we are.

Rajan’s latest book, the third volume in his Ben Gold series, is entitled Raining Fire. It comes out tomorrow from Pyr. And, if you want to catch him performing his own fiction, you’ll find him reading at KGB (alongside Greg Frost) on August 16th.

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Eating Authors: Sam J. Miller

Written on July 10th, 2017 by
Categories: Plugs
Sam J. Miller

If things are going according to plan (stop laughing!), this will automatically post on Monday morning, I’ve survived the NASFiC in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and right this very minute I am trekking through the tropical rainforest known as “El Yunque.” Seriously, my life is pretty freaking blessed.

Part of that blessing includes providing a weekly dose of EATING AUTHORS for you, bringing you both familiar and new authors, and doing my part in the great karmic wheel of the speculative fiction community to pay it forward and celebrate the work of others. Case in point this week is none of other than Sam J. Mill. You probably already know Sam from his breathtaking short fiction, and justly so. His work has earned him a Shirley Jackson award, a Sturgeon nomination, three Nebula nominations, and a World Fantasy nomination.

All things come to those who wait (or so the saying goes), and so it often is with authors going from short form to long. Sam’s debut novel, The Art of Starving, comes out tomorrow from Harper Teen. Clearly you should click the link and buy a copy right now. Don’t do it for me or even for Sam, do it for “El Yunque.”

LMS: Welcome, Sam. What stands out as your most memorable meal?

SJM: I was eighteen. I was coming out of a long struggle with disordered eating. For the first time in my life I had a gay friend — a brilliant, older painter I’d been paired with in a mentoring program for at-risk youth. He was a vegetarian, and I was hanging out with a trio of super-hot vegan punk rock vegan boys. All three of whom I was hopelessly in love with. And desperate to impress.

March 2nd, 1997. I’m working the night shift at a bookstore for minimum wage — $4.25 an hour at the time — and my hot vegans come to hang out there and talk shit and be generally intimidating. And it’s my coworker Alison’s birthday, so we decide to all go out to dinner afterwards.

Understand: I am angry. I am a miserable knotted-up mess of unrequited lust. My father’s butcher shop just closed, thanks to a Wal-Mart/supermarket combo’s arrival in town. Eating meat meant buying it from the same store that put us out of business. And thanks to my bookstore job – and my commie vegan hardcore straight edge crushes — I’d been reading Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, had sharpened my critique of global capitalism, the exploitation of workers, the death of small businesses and the rise of corporate superstores, factory farming, the suffering of animals. I’d tried, several times, to go vegetarian, and failed repeatedly. I had already come out to my father as gay, but for the son and grandson of butchers to stop eating meat felt like too great a betrayal.

The Art of Starving

The waiter comes. I stare at the menu for a second and then decide, “I’m not going to eat meat anymore,” and order broccoli with garlic sauce. That was twenty years ago, and I’ve never looked back once.

Back then, I didn’t realize one very important fact – and I wouldn’t realize it until I started writing my novel, which is about a bullied small-town gay boy with an eating disorder (all of which I was) who believes that starving himself awakens latent supernatural abilities (which mine did not). Now, I can see that becoming a vegetarian was not separate from my eating disorder. Both were born of rage and sadness at what a fucked-up world we have… but that night, at the Spring Garden in Hudson, New York, was the moment when I took hold of my rage at the world – at injustice, at homophobia, at corporate hegemony & toxic masculinity & suffering – and ceased to turn it in on myself. Instead, I turned it outwards. I sat next to other people who were just as angry as me, and I joined them.

The line ended up on the cutting room floor, but at the end of The Art of Starving, the protagonist realizes “There are no Chosen Ones. Saving the world, righting every wrong, is no one’s responsibility. It’s everyone’s.”

For the past fifteen years, my day job has been as a community organizer. I’ve organized hundreds of protests, seen dozens of legislative and policy victories. I’m still working out that broccoli-with-garlic-sauce epiphany, the idea that people can achieve anything when they come together. That turning our anger outwards will transform the world as well as ourselves.

Thanks, Sam. And hey, don’t give up on those latent supernatural abilities. It could happen any day now.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!


Eating Authors: Stephen S. Power

Written on July 3rd, 2017 by
Categories: Plugs
Stephen S. Power

Things are a wee bit hectic just now. With the NASFiC (aka NorthAmeriCon’17) just around the corner, a Klingon conference at the end of the month, a European vacation wrapped around a Worldcon a few weeks after that, my editorial letter for the BARSquel about to drop, and a DayJob that’s becoming a bit more demanding as a grant that’s been partially funding me for the past two and a half years just ended, I’m feeling a little frazzled. Oh, and don’t even get me started on Independence Day.

At the same time, I’ve been trying to get ahead by lining up the guests for EATING AUTHORS further in advance than I normally do. That’s a nice plan, but… reality happens and sometimes people slip through the cracks, making a mockery of my attempts to feature authors in a timely manner to support their book releases. This week’s guest, Stephen S. Power, is a case in point.

Stephen’s latest book, The Dragon Round, came out in paperback on June 13th (the hardcover was published last July, but that flew completely below my radar). In a perfect world, I’d have been able to fit him into the rotation three weeks ago to boost the signal on the paperback release. Ooops. Clearly, this is no way to treat an editor.

Yes, that’s right, Stephen isn’t just a novelist, prior to writing his first book he’d already logged more than 20 years editing books in NYC. It’s always fascinating to me to see editors make that transition (another fine example is my friend and past guest here, Laura Anne Gilman). Stephen eased into fiction with dozens of short stories and, as if that weren’t enough, he’s also a poet whose poems have earned him Pushcart Prize nomination.

Anyway, if you haven’t read his book yet, perhaps the following meal will convince you to mend your ways.

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My REALLY-I-MEAN-IT Final NorthAmeriCon’17 Schedule

Written on July 1st, 2017 by
Categories: News

I’ll be spending Independence Day packing for my trip to NorthAmeriCon’17, aka the 2017 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC).

Now, I know what you’re thinking: didn’t I already post my final schedule a month ago? Well, you’re right, I did. But the Powers That Be decided to move a couple things around and so I’m posting the *new and improved* final schedule, because I’d hate for you to be looking for me at a particular time and place and not be able to find me.

That said, while I have been assured that the times and dates shown below are spot on, the location of things may be wrong. In fact, I’ve noticed that according to the online programming list, the same room has been allocated to different items at the same time. Oops! My advice, ignore the locations listed here and double-check once you’ve arrived on-site.

Friday, July 7th
12:30 p.m. – 12:55 p.m. | Sol | Reading
I’ll read a bit from the sequel to BARSK (aka, the BARSquel), specifically a scene set on an island. Seems appropriate.

5:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. | San Cristobal | What’s so Funny?
Humor is a coping mechanism, but it’s also a vital mechanic of fiction. Our panelists talk about humor, and it’s sure to be a lark.
with Mel White, Mike Substelny

Saturday, July 8th
3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. | San Cristobal | World Building as more than Background
How does an author create a well developed world? Cultures, government, biospheres, religion, social equity, et cetera must be explored.
with Lee French, James Dorr, Ctein

4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. | San Cristobal | Translation in Space
Understanding alien language is at the heart of the 2016 Hugo-nominated moview Arrival. Our panelists discuss the challenges of talking with aliens in fiction and (potentially) reality.
with Chris Rose, Jonathan Brazee

It looks like I’m not going on the Thursday tour of Arecibo Observatory with Brother Guy Consolmagno. I didn’t win that ticket lottery. If you did, and cannot go, and want me to go in your place, hey, why haven’t you told me yet? C’mon, pick up the phone!

Other places I expect to be are Thursday night’s Meet the GoHs Ice Cream Social (8-?). Then on Friday, Tobias Buckell’s and Brother Guy Consolmagno’s readings in the morning (10-10:55), the panel on English Language Caribbean SF (3-3:50), and the Science Fiction Historical Trading Cards presentation (4-4:50). On Saturday I hope to attend the panel on Making the International Move (11-11:50), because hey, you never know.

Elsewise, you’ll likely find me just hanging out around the convention. Come up and say hello.

On Monday, after the convention is over, I’ll be taking advantage of an excursion to visit El Yunque (via Spoon Food tours). Maybe you’ll join me? I’ve written two novels set in rainforests, it seemed like a great time to actually walk around in one.

And I’ve been practicing my Spanish (courtesy of Duolingo), so I’m sure to embarrass myself over and over. If you’re a user of this amazing (and free!) language learning service, feel free to follow me.

Eating Authors: Steven Barnes

Written on June 26th, 2017 by
Categories: Plugs
Steven Barnes

Back in 2013, Larry Niven visited EATING AUTHORS to share his most memorable meal, and in my introduction I noted that he’d collaborated with many other authors — most notably Jerry Pournelle, but also Brenda Cooper, Edward M. Lerner, Gregory Benford, as well as this week’s guest, Steven Barnes.

It’s through his collaborations with Larry and Jerry — like the Heorot and Dream Park series — that I first encountered Steven. Of course he’s no slouch on his own as more than a dozen solo novels attests (as well as his own collaborations with his wife, Tananarive Due, and actor Blair Underwood). He’s also written episodic television as well as media tie-in, kicks ass in several martial arts (including kickboxing), and like myself is a certified hypnotherapist.

Seriously, why have I waited so long to invite him here? Wait, that’s rhetorical. Instead, let me distract you by saying his new novel, Twelve Days, comes out tomorrow.

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Eating Authors: Dave Creek

Written on June 19th, 2017 by
Categories: Plugs
Dave Creek

Whenever I’m scheduled to attend a convention, I like to review the list of other program participants to see who’ll be there. Who I know and who I’ve never met before. And who I might check out as a possible invitee to EATING AUTHORS. I tell you this because it’s how I came to meet this week’s guest, Dave Creek.

You may already know him from his short fiction (he’s sold more than twenty stories appear in Analog alone), or from his novel-length fiction (including the epic The Great Human War series — of which Book 3, The Unmoving Stars, came out just over a month ago).

Dave’s bio includes details like being retired from a career as a television news producer, and living in Louisville with his a wife and son. But to me, he’ll always be the guy who showed up at the Nebula Conference and handed a few copies of his work to a relative stranger for a prison library project that I was running. That probably tells you all you need to know right there.

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Eating Authors: Bradley W. Schenck

Written on June 12th, 2017 by
Categories: Plugs
Bradley W. Schenck

I first heard about about this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Bradley W. Schenck, when my editor was waxing delirious at having acquired the novel Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. The title alone hooked me, as did the editor’s quick description of what it was all about. He taunted me though, that what tied it all together was the illustrations.

Months would pass, but eventually my (and now Bradley’s) editor reached out to me with an ARC of the book, asking if I had time and inclination to perhaps provide a blurb — full disclosure, I blurbed it. And that’s when I saw the drawings and was completely blown away.

Although tomorrow marks his debut as a novelist, his illustrations have been around for decades. Much of his earlier work was done under the name Morno, and I’m tickled to discover he did the cover art for some issues of the D&D apa Alarums & Excursions back in the 70’s that contained my own contributions.

The evolution of his work has ranged from Celtic knots and warriors to the gleaming future of mad scientists and killer robots. I can’t encourage you enough to pick up his new book; you’ll be utterly charmed.

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