Worldcon: Kansas City, Missouri– August 17-21, 2016

This (extended) weekend I’ll be at Midamericon II, the 74th Worldcon. Here’s my formal schedule:

• Your Character Ate What?
Thursday 17:00 – 18:00, 2504B (Kansas City Convention Center)
A Hollywood-Squares style game that will challenge your memory, your appetite, and your constitution at the same time.

• It’s Not Torture if it’s the Good Guys
Friday 10:00 – 11:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Zootopia at first glance appear to have little in common but both use the premise “I won’t kill you, but my friend will.” Just a few scenes apart in season 2 of Daredevil the lead is shown torturing someone “heroically” followed by a mob boss torturing someone “evilly.” In this session we discuss the hows and whys this dichotomy can have developed and whether it is time to start challenging the notion of good torture on screen.

• Kaffeeklatsch: Phil Foglio, Les Johnson, Bradford Lyau, Scott Lynch
Friday 12:00 – 13:00, 2211 (KKs) (Kansas City Convention Center)

• A Cast of Thousands and A Unity of Plots
Friday 14:00 – 15:00, 2207 (Kansas City Convention Center)
How do you write a novel that features many, many characters with parallel/divergent plot lines that must be woven together seamlessly? How do you avoid plotting yourself into a corner? What tools, tips, techniques, and research approaches are useful? How do you leverage the knowledge of experts? How do you plan for and execute multiple plot lines?

• Appreciating the Pulps
Friday 15:00 – 16:00, 3501H (Kansas City Convention Center)
The stories in the old pulp magazines may feel dated, due to old science and done-to-death clichés, and some espouse outdated beliefs that are no longer socially acceptable. As a genre, these stories capture something unique, especially from a historical standpoint, that makes them valuable. In fact, many of them are still enjoyable. Why do the pulps still hold sway over the imagination? Which ones stood the test of time?

• We Don’t Need Another Hero
Saturday 12:00 – 13:00, 2210 (Kansas City Convention Center)
…or do we? In the 1985 feature film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Tina Turner sang her iconic balad “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” More and more we are seeing bands of protagonists pulling together to fulfil the role of “The Hero.” Has the Scooby Gang-Effect changed the way we think about story? What dangers do we face without a hero to hold us together? What benefits do we reap from the shared responsiblity?

• Autographing: Alexander James Adams, John Joseph Adams, Robin Wayne Bailey, Jennifer Brozek, William Hayashi, Scott Lynch, Keith Yatsuhashi
Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Autographing Space (Kansas City Convention Center)

• Reading: Scott Lynch
Sunday 10:00 – 10:30, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)

• Magazine Group Reading: Uncanny Magazine
Sunday 12:00 – 13:00, 2504B (Kansas City Convention Center)
Our Magazine Group Reading series continues with a special group reading that features authors from Uncanny Magazine– Scott Lynch, Max Gladstone, Alyssa Wong, Elizabeth Bear, and Lynne M. Thomas

The Big Move

Well, we did it.

After several years of nebulous dreaming, a year and a half of actual planning, six months of mind-numbingly arduous mortgage loan nonsense, and a frenzy of packing, Elizabeth Bear and I have taken up permanent residence together at our new home in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of western/central Massachusetts. I’ve been a lifelong upper midwesterner, so the relocation has involved some cultural and geographical acclimation.

Bear managed to move most of her stuff a few months ago (since she previously lived less than an hour away). I, however, was coming from western Wisconsin, about fourteen hundred miles. We made the trip in a three-day drive, hitting seven states along the way. Most of my possessions aren’t here yet– dealing with U-Haul has been one logistical nightmare after another. We were supposed to be unloading everything today, in fact, but won’t see the U-Boxes until Monday at the earliest, a fact that was unknown to me until 8:30 this morning, when I called the local office directly to ask why there’d been no phone calls, texts, or e-mails about their plans, as specified by the service contract. U-Haul, in my experience, is fine when you’re renting something to drive or haul yourself, but if you have any option other than getting U-Box service through them, I would solemnly advise you to pursue that other option.

Moving has been a crushing distraction and a massive time commitment, and it has thrown much of my schedule into disarray. It has ended (or nearly ended, since I’m still waiting on most of my worldly goods) well, with a great house and a great new workspace, but getting to this point has been a trial, and it’s going to have some consequences on the rest of my year, which I will detail very, very shortly.

For now– we’re safe, and mostly content, and hoping nothing else gets fucked up, because we have a very narrow window to fix anything before we head out for GenCon next week. Fingers crossed.

Boston!

This week, Elizabeth Bear and myself will be in Boston for two events.

First, we’ll be at Pandemonium Books from 7:00 – 9:30 PM on Thursday, February 12. This will be the launch party for Bear’s excellent new novel, KAREN MEMORY, and we’ll have a bonus author in the form of Charlie Stross, whose original appearance at Pandemonium was pre-empted by a weather emergency. There will be cookies from Flour Bakery!

Next, we’ll all be at BOSKONE 52 over the weekend, February 13-15.

My panel and appearance schedule:

SIDEKICKS & HENCHMEN
Friday, 5:00 PM

APOCALYPSE HOW
Friday, 6:00 PM

THE ANTIHERO
Saturday, 10:00 AM

DUNE 50 YEARS LATER
Saturday, 1:00 PM

KAFFEEKLATSCH (Me and Bear)
Saturday, 3:00 PM

READING
Saturday, 4:30 PM

Memory, Sorrow, and Mars

What a week or two it’s been. Technology has made me its chew toy several times over, and I’ve been smacked in the face by piping-hot anxiety attacks fresh from the neurological oven. On the bright side, I survived my first Worldcon and my girlfriend walked away with her third Hugo award. She’s now here in Wisconsin for a few weeks, and is essentially the reason I’m still coherent and functional.

I’ve been organizing the house and packing things, since I expect to leave this place before November (total distance of my intended move is about one mile, nothing dramatic), and I keep stumbling over the detritus and evidence of my ex-marriage in the goddamnedest places. The mementos of a 12-year relationship simply get everywhere, like fine volcanic ash. My reaction has been variable. Sometimes it feels like those things happened to another person entirely and sometimes it feels as though they happened five minutes ago. The scribbles on one envelope recognizably belong to the woman who left me in 2010; the writing on the very next piece of paper just as clearly belongs to the girl I fell in love with in 1998. Throwing them in the same box feels disrespectful to one or the other; I can never figure out which, and I never want to think about how long I’ve held these crumpled old things poised above the box while trying to decide… fuck it, sigh, mumble, sigh some more, into the box they both go. Into the hermetic memory vault I’m sealing up for Eventually Whenever. A little present tucked away in a corner of the TARDIS for some future regeneration to stumble over and curse me for. That’s the way it works. I had to clean up the mess the last guy made of this place. Future Me can figure out what to do with the papers.

In happier news, there is more Violet. QUEEN OF THE IRON SANDS continues with the second part (of three) of Chapter 8: Across Savage Mars. I hope to get the last third, the longest bit by far, up some time this weekend. E-Book making is frustrating at the moment, but good old HTML and RTF are so simple even a clusterdunce like me can reliably tame them.