I tend to really resist writing convention reports because if I try to name-check everyone I met, I will inevitably forget someone and then they might swear enmity against me for life and that would make me sad. So I’m just going to say up front that I’m not going to try to name everyone I met.
I was up for a Hugo Award this year, which provided us with a stupendous excuse to take a family vacation in Ireland and Iceland. (Icelandair is both a budget airline and clearly an arm of the Icelandic Bureau of Tourism since they let you arrange a multi-day stopover in Iceland at no extra cost, and inundate you with on-board advertisements designed to sell you on the idea. HORSES! NORTHERN LIGHTS! SCENERY!)
We went over about a week before the convention started. Ed and I visited Ireland 20 years ago — before we had kids — and Dublin was our least favorite bit, so we wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible. We took a train to Cork, where we discovered that the guest house I’d booked thinking it was walking distance from the train station was not around the corner from the train station but straight up a cliff. (There were stairs! I do not recommend hauling a bunch of suitcases up four flights of stairs, in the rain, while massively jet-lagged and operating on almost no sleep. Just, I mean, if you were considering it.)
The rest of the trip went quite a bit better.
Next month I will be at Dublin 2019: an Irish WorldCon. If we know each other (either in person or online) and you’ll be in Dublin and you’d like to try to meet up, please let me know!
Here’s my official schedule:
Reading: Naomi Kritzer
16 Aug 2019, Friday 20:00 – 20:20, Liffey Room-3 (Readings) (CCD)
Kaffeeklatsch: Naomi Kritzer
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 12:00 – 12:50, Level 3 Foyer (KK/LB) (CCD)
The author as a fellow traveler on the hero’s journey
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 10:30 – 11:20, Odeon 4 (Point Square Dublin)
Many authors, unsurprisingly, form a strong emotional bond with their characters, experiencing the joys and frustrations of the story along with them. How does this affect the writing process itself? What about the impact on the writer’s critical engagement with their own work? How much does an author’s engagement depend on their personality, their approach, or the type of story being written?
Dr Kristina Perez (M), Michael Swanwick, Karen Simpson Nikakis, Naomi Kritzer, Daryl Gregory
Gods, religion and atheism in the genre
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 13:00 – 13:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)
Gods and religion are often an integral element of SFF worlds; they offer ways to build conflict and to explore alternative philosophical concepts. How have authors tackled the creation and inclusion of religion in their worldbuilding? Is it possible for atheism to exist in worlds where gods literally walk among the people?
Derwin Mak, Dominic Riemenschneider MA, Ehud Maimon, Naomi Kritzer (M), Meg MacDonald
So remember when I went to China back in December? In April, I got invited to China again, this time to be a Guest of Honor at APSFCon (Another Planet Science Fiction Convention) in Beijing. This was the second APSFCon; there have been almost no SF conventions in China, although there’s an awards event held in Chengdu. The convention culture is incredibly different. I’m going to do a separate post about the awesome tourist stuff we did in China (I brought Ed along) and this post is just going to be about the SF convention.
I’ll note that unlike some of my friends, I have never been to a science fiction convention outside of the US. (I have barely been to any outside the midwest.) But I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what a science fiction convention looks like: you’re in a hotel (or occasionally a convention center), there are panels where people talk and an audience asks questions or offers “more of a comment than a question,” there are a few solo presentations. Fans meet up and hang out. There’s a consuite where you can get food and hang out. There’s a dealer’s room and an art show. All official events happen inside. Depending on the convention, there might or might not be costumes and gaming. Usually there are parties in the evening, frequently run out of hotel rooms but open to all members of the convention. If you’re looking for a writer, check the bar first. (Even if they’re not a drinker, they’re probably in the bar because they went there to find all their friends, who were in the bar. Hardly anyone is actually drinking very much unless there’s an editor there who’s buying.)
APSFCon ran over Saturday and Sunday of last week. Guests from outside of China included me, Allen Steele, Lawrence Schoen, Crystal Huff, Sean Stewart, and Michael Swanwick from the US; Derek Künsken and Kelly Robson from Canada; Samantha Murray from Australia; Kim Bo-young and Kim Juyoung from South Korea; David Sheldon-Hicks from the UK; and Taiyo Fujii from Japan. Most of these people are writers but Sean Stewart is more a VR developer and David Sheldon-Hicks is a visual effects designer for movies.
Invited guests from the China included Liu Cixin (author of The Three-Body Problem), Han Song (who’s similarly famous in China to Liu Cixin, but much less well known in the US because his work hasn’t been translated), one of the stars and one of the directors of The Wandering Earth (Chinese blockbuster SF movie, viewable on Netflix), and most of the writers I met at the Danzhai workshop.
The convention was held at a museum. One of the features of the museum was a detailed model of Beijing (this was only part of it):
So hey, I AM A GUEST OF HONOR AT CONVERGENCE THIS YEAR! I am really excited. Here’s my schedule:
3:30pm – DoubleTree Atrium 7
AI in Science Fiction: From Evil Overlords to Companions
Sunday, July 9
Wondering if you missed any of my stories that came out in 2015? Here is a handy list with links!
Cat Pictures Please, Clarkesworld, January 2015.
Wind, Apex, April 2015.
“The Silicon Curtain: A Seastead Story,” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July/August 2015. You can buy the back issue online.
“Cleanout,” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2015. You can buy the current issue online.
“Jubilee: A Seastead Story,” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 2015. You can buy the back issue online.
So Much Cooking, Clarkesworld, November 2015.
The Good Son, Lightspeed, March 2015. (Originally appeared in Jim Baen’s Universe, 2009.)
“Artifice,” ESLI (“If”), translated into Russian. I have no idea how you’d get your hands on this, if you really wanted to read me in Russian. The magazine’s website is here. (Originally appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September 2014.)
Marscon is this weekend. If you live in the Twin Cities and find Convergence fun but have never been to Marscon, you should check it out. If you live in the Twin Cities and quit coming to Convergence because it’s too crowded, you should come to Marscon because it’s like a much smaller version of Convergence.
Here’s my schedule, if you want to find me:
Friday 04:00 pm
How Come Nobody’s Heard Of Me, Dammit!!
Room 419 (Krushenko’s)
Let’s figure out all the things we did wrong!
With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Bruce Bethke, Rachel Gold, Michael Merriam
Friday 09:00 pm
Costuming on a Budget
I Blue Heron (Masquerade Lounge)
Costuming has the potential of becoming an expensive hobby (or even career), but it doesn’t have break your budget. We will discuss where to get inexpensive (or free!) materials, DIY, and tips and tricks for taking advantage of the network, barter and trade strategy. Plus we’ll showcase our own thrifty costume creations.
With: Dorianne McCreary, Naomi Kritzer
Saturday 04:00 pm
Lyda Morehouse Interview
Room 419 (Krushenko’s)
Learn about the mind and works of our Author Guest of Honor.
With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, Interviewer
Saturday 08:00 pm
The Wyrdsmiths: Twenty Years
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars)
GoH Lyda Morehouse is in a writers’ group that was founded in 1994. How does a critique group sustain itself for two decades?
With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Eleanor Arnason; other members if they show up. (Probably depends on how their weekend is going.)
Sunday 03:00 pm
Convoluted Quests: The Modern Writing Career
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars)
Book contracts, self-publishing, short fiction, editing… writing careers these days are often made up of a patchwork of options. Join GoH Lyda Morehouse and other professional writers to talk about how they’ve dealt with current publishing realities.
With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Bruce Bethke, Roy C. Booth, Michael Merriam, Kathryn Sullivan
I’ll be at MarsCon this coming weekend, March 7th – 9th. If you’re hoping to see me there, here’s my schedule:
Getting into the mind of a religious fanatic
Saturday 11:00 a.m., Exec Lounge (Krushenko’s)
Uber villain or bit player, what are they like? Are there any useful generalizations? Are they likely to be suicidal and does that depend on the religion or the person? How can they make for interesting novels and stories without being stereotyped and one dimensional?
With: Naomi Kritzer, mod.; P M F Johnson, Lyda Morehouse, G. David Nordley, David E. Romm, Ozgur K. Sahin
The Press vs. Science
Saturday 1 p.m., Atrium 2 (Re(a)d Mars)
What are some of the greatest howlers in science coverage? What’s the most common kind of reportorial error? What happens when scientists try to write their own press releases? What happens when institutional PR departments do it?
With: Rob Callahan, mod.; Dr. Tom Gardner, Naomi Kritzer, G. David Nordley
Timing and Pacing
Sunday 11 a.m., Exec Lounge (Krushenko’s)
What does timing have to do with writing? How do you know where to put your action/dialogue/sex scene? How can you tell if you have it in the wrong place? How does this differ between novels and shorter works? What horrible things can go wrong? Why do writers’ groups have trouble gauging pacing in novels? Is there such a thing as too fast in pacing?
With: S.N. Arly, mod.; Naomi Kritzer, Lyda Morehouse
Finding the Key to Your Imagination
Sunday 1 p.m., Exec Lounge (Krushenko’s)
What is imagination? Where does it come from? Some of us are blessed (or cursed) with an excess, and others have very little. Most folks think it’s okay for kids to engage in imaginary play and exercise their imaginations, but a lot of folks think it’s odd of grownups to do the same. Does our culture hinder and damage creative impulses? How do you find your imagination if it’s gone missing? How do you keep it engaged and strong? Is it a use it or lose it proposition?
With: Esther Friesner, S.N. Arly, mod.; Haddayr Copley-Woods, Stryder Dancewolffe, Naomi Kritzer
I will also be around, possibly with kids in tow (I apologize in advance if someone wants to chat with me and I get dragged off by a demanding ten-year-old).