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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

5 Don'ts of Panels (and Podcast Roundtables)

I'm officially back from Worldcon/LonCon3, which marks my third convention this year (preceded by ICFA and CONvergence).  Having had a few experiences as a panelist, I've learned a few things about what works and what doesn't.  The below list is not exhaustive by any means, but it reflects my fairly new experiences as an panelist and audience member.

Here goes:

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Taxonomy of Genre: Science Fiction as Supergenre

I recently stayed with Maureen Kincaid Speller and Paul Kincaid, two wonderful people whose book collections would make almost any sf fan drool.  One of the brief discussions we had before I headed off for my final days in London concerned the often pointless debates about what science fiction “is.”  Paul suggested that thinking of sf as a “genre” in the narrative sense is not accurate to the use of “genre.”  Unlike romance or crime, there is nothing unique to the narrative practice of sf that can be separated from everything else.  This might explain, for example, why there has been so much discussion about the nature of sf as a cross-pollinating genre – crossovers being so regular an occurrence that one would be hard pressed to find an sf text which does not cross over into other generic forms.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On LonCon and Thanks

I'm currently in Bristol after a long, exciting weekend at LonCon, resting up, seeing some touristy stuff, and generally dropping the weight from my shoulders.  Overall, this trip abroad has been beautiful.  I'll talk about some of that here (warning:  this will be more rambly and random than usual).

LonCon!
I still have a few days to look forward to in the big magic city, but my experience at the convention was overwhelmingly positive.  First, the LonCon staff put together a fantastic convention.  Though I could not attend every item I wanted to for all sorts of reasons, there were so many incredible panels this year, including a whole sub-track on World SF.  Clearly, the con runners heard all of the complaints and concerns about San Antonio (and previous cons) and took it to heart.  The international presence was phenomenal, in part served by the location (LONDON!) and by the smart programming staff who wanted to highlight the contributions of non-US/non-UK authors and fans.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Adventures in England: A Primer (Worldcon / LonCon3 Schedules and the Yorkshire Secession)

If you didn't know this already, I will be in the lovely country of England tomorrow morning.  There are two reasons for this.

First, I'm attending Worldcon / LonCon 3, partly because of the World SF Tour on The Skiffy and Fanty Show and partly because I happen to be nominated for a Hugo.

Second, I have been hard at work on the secession of Yorkshire from the United Kingdom with other like-minded individuals who believe in the necessity for the return of the Ormian Republic and its attending empire (the Yorkshire Empire, as it were).  I will be meeting with several leaders of the Yorkshire Secessionary Front and coordinating the process of land allocation and touristic public relations.

Only one of these things is true.  I'll let you guess.

In the event that the first is true, I should let you know that I may be on programming.  As such, my schedule would look like the following:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My CONvergence Schedule!

If you're curious what I'll be up to at CONvergence this year, you're in luck because I've just dropped a not-quite-full schedule over on the Skiffy and Fanty Show blog!  The schedule will be updated later w/ other happenings; for now, enjoy the huge list of panels, some of which I'm actually on!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Link of the Week: John Chu’s “Stand Back! I’m Going To Quote Junot Díaz (Thinking about language)”

John Chu's recent post over at The Booksmugglers is a must read.  He talks about the difficulty of including foreign language in works of fiction and has some truly interesting things to say on the subject.

An excerpt:
Whereas listeners might reasonably experience that orchestration both ways, readers either understand a foreign language or they don’t. However, like how the orchestration of the Carousel Waltz must be compelling in either instrumentation, a story that makes use of dialect or foreign language must be compelling either way. Non-fluent readers must never feel as though something is missing but fluent readers must never feel as though anything is extraneous. 
Go on.  Read the whole thing.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mass Market Paperback Bingo #2: Pick a Book; I'll Read and Review It

I had a bit of an disaster today:  I got stuck in a thunderstorm, which resulted in my backpack, my notebooks, and my copy of Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear getting soaked through.  Since the Bear book is the one I'm supposed to be reading for MMPB Bingo, I've decided to temporarily jump ahead to the next shelf on the same bookcase (front row of books) so I can at least start reading something else while Ink and Steel dries out.

If you've not seen this before, here's how it works:
  1. You find a book in one of the images below that you'd like me to read (if you load the images on their own, they should be large enough to read everything without squinting).
  2. You leave a comment below telling me why you'd like me to read and review it.  There are no guidelines for this part.  You can say something silly.  You can be dead serious.  You can appeal to my corrupt side.  Doesn't matter.  I'll pick whichever comment sounds most appealing to me.
  3. I pick a winner, and then I read and review the book.
It's pretty straight forward, no?

So have at it.  Here are the images: