Readercon! Uncanny Magazine! And I am teaching an online course!Hello! I hope your spring and early summer have been excellent. I went to Writefest in Houston, Texas and the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) in Orlando, Florida before settling in for a few months of working hard at home.
Right now today, Uncanny Magazine Issue Eleven is out, and I am super excited about the poems and the reprint story in this issue. There are two excellent poems by Jessica P. Wick and Ali Trotta examining witches from different perspectives. They're very different, and yet in a way, I like to think of them as in dialogue with each other. The third poem in this issue is by the excellent Bryan Thao Worra and is lovely as well. The reprint for this issue is one of my very favorite stories: "Travels with the Snow Queen" by Kelly Link! I love the way this takes on familiar fairy tales and upends their narratives to give the women in them more agency and supportive friendships. Hurray!
Readercon is THIS WEEKEND!!! What!?!? How did that sneak up on me so fast? I'm on four panels, and if you happen to catch any of them, please do say hello!
Thursday July 07--8:00 PM BH Bees!
Max Gladstone, Natalie Luhrs, Julia Rios (moderator), T.X. Watson.
From the serious scientific question of colony collapse disorder, through the also-serious metaphoric House of Evil Bees of Captain Awkward, to Chuck Wendig's ridiculous #facebees, bees seem to proliferate among the interests of our genre community. Why? Are we in it for the honey or the sting, or is it the combination that attracts us?
Friday July 08--1:00 PM BH Seriously, Enough: Tropes in YA We'd Love to See the Last Of
Lena Coakley, Maria Dahvana Headley, Nicole Kornher-Stace (leader), Julia Rios.
YA tropes (obligatory romance! love triangle! high school drama!) are pervasive and limiting. We seem to feel that books marketed to all other age groups such as preschool picture books, early chapter books, MG, and adult can be about anything, but that YA readers' imaginations are assumed to be so narrow that if those tropes aren't hit upon in the text, teens will find nothing in the book to relate to. How did this came about and why does it persist? It is an insult to the imaginative capabilities of teens. We can do better.
Friday July 08--3:00 PM 6 Steven Universe
Susan Jane Bigelow, Max Gladstone, Bart Leib, Kate Nepveu, Julia Rios (leader). How has a cartoon show meant for children so thoroughly captivated some of the most interesting adult SFF writers we know? Our panelists will dig deep into what makes Steven Universe work so well for the different ages of its audience and try to glean some tips from how it packs such huge amounts of story into very short episodes. Warning: There may be singing.
Sunday July 10--1:00 PM BH Power, Wealth, and Economics in Writing and Plotting Romance
Max Gladstone, Ada Palmer, Tom Purdom, Julia Rios, Terence Taylor.
There are many modern romances with a wealthy man and a woman who isn't, and many with both male and female partners with money, but few with a wealthy woman and a man who isn't. Does the wealth disparity create a power dynamic similar to the one that was inherent between men and women in pre-modern society? Modern romances frequently imitate and reuse formulas and tropes from romances written in pre-modern society when an inherent power tension between empowered men and comparatively politically/economically dis-empowered women existed. Do these power differentials still exist or do modern romances artificially recreate the same kinds of tensions and stresses by writing about the very wealthy? Why wouldn't reversed roles be as compelling in a modern romance? What happens when other genders are included or polyamorous lifestyles are considered? Is the wealth disparity the be-all and end-all of romantic settings? How do wealth and other types of modern power work in modern romance, and how does it relates to pre-modern ideas of romance?
So, Readercon should be A LOT of fun! And FINALLY: I am teaching an online course! Starting later this month, you can join several other fabulous writers to learn all about Making Your Inner Editor Work for You! This course is offered through Writespace, the wonderful organization that hosted Writefest in Houston. Everyone I've met through Writespace is fantastic, supportive, and passionate about writing and encouraging other writers. I am thrilled to be teaching for them! Here's more course info, including how to buy tickets.
That's it for now. Next up will be WorldCon in August in Kansas City! More details on that when I have them!
My Boskone ScheduleI'll be at Boskone this weekend, and here is where you can find me:
Small Presses & Magazines: Welcoming the Unexpected
Friday 17:00 - 17:50, Griffin (Westin)
Authors in the slipstream, weird, magical realism, or speculative literature categories can have a hard time finding the right home for their work. With stories that aren't always a good fit for the larger genre markets, it's still important to find quality publishers. Such homes exist in both the literary and SF/F/H publishing communities. This panel will take a "deep dive" into the world of small presses and magazines, presenting fantastic venues and discussing hard-learned lessons such as publishers that promised more than they could deliver. Whether you're looking for good work a little off the beaten path or trying to find potential new markets for your writing, this panel is for you.
Julia Rios (M), Kate Baker, Neil Clarke, Shahid Mahmud
Reading: Julia Rios
Friday 19:30 - 19:55, Independence (Westin)
The Wonderful Women of YA
Saturday 16:00 - 16:50, Harbor II (Westin) Young adult fiction is filled with exceptional young women who break the old mold. From protagonists to leaders, brainiacs, and baddies, these females are taking on traditionally male roles within fiction. What is it about these characters that captures our imagination? Which YA characters and writers do you love to follow? And when can we expect their action figures?
A.C.E. Bauer (M), LJ Cohen, Jordan Hamessley, Hillary Monahan, Julia Rios
Steven Universe and the Cartoon Renaissance
Saturday 20:00 - 20:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
“Believe in Steven!” Cartoons are back with a bang, and the incredible Steven (a half-human, half-Gem hero) is helping save the world. Steven Universe is just one of several adult speculative cartoons that have been praised for their complex characters and rich worldbuilding. From Space Ghost to Futurama to Robot Chicken, these shows have captured our imaginations. Why do we love them so much, and what else should we be watching?
Teddy Harvia (M), Susan Jane Bigelow, Gillian Daniels, Max Gladstone, Julia Rios
The Economics of Magazine Publishing
Sunday 12:00 - 12:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
Many publish for love, others for prestige. Some even manage to turn a profit. From circulation to ad revenue, staff turnover, and content acquisition, what factors are critical to the sustainability of magazines and e-zines? What’s the cold hard truth on the bottom line of your balance sheet?
Julia Rios (M), Neil Clarke, Shahid Mahmud, Steve Davidson
Alien Invasions — Why Do They Bother?
Sunday 13:00 - 13:50, Marina 4 (Westin)
Terribly-tentacled conquerors and their ilk trying to take over the Earth are a science fiction staple. But really, what’s in it for them? Why us? In a universe of precious resources, why would they destroy the Earth? We’ll discuss various examples, including why the Martians would even want New Jersey.
Allen M. Steele (M), Julia Rios, Robert J. Sawyer, Frank Wu
Where you can find me at BoskoneAfter the giant whirl of travel in August and September, I needed a big break, so I burrowed into my hermit hole and skipped Arisia this year. Naturally, I picked the snowiest time in Boston EVER to emerge! But! Assuming the T is running this weekend, I will be at Boskone. Here is where you can find me. Please do say hello!
All my panels look pretty fun this year (and I hear that the comedy movie panel may even involve a prize for a lucky audience member!), but on Saturday, I have two events that are both likely to be small, and I would love to see you there. First at 10am, pull up a chair, a cup of coffee, and a snack from the consuite, and join me and Gillian Daniels for a discussion of fanfiction. Next, at 2pm, come listen to me and John Chu reading stories from Kaleidoscope!
The Continuing Adventures of the QUILTBAG
Friday 18:00 - 18:50, Harbor II
Our media may be starting to feature more characters and situations from the queer/questioning, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender/transsexual, bisexual, allied/asexual, gay/genderqueer (QUILTBAG) perspective, but there's still a long way to go. How do we move from tokenism to full inclusion? We'll discuss favorite characters, new challenges, and available resources for writers and readers.
John Chu (M), Susan Jane Bigelow, Justine Graykin, Julia Rios, Jill Shultz
The Best Bad Movies
Friday 21:00 - 21:50, Harbor III
Watching bad movies on purpose has become a phenomenon, and many of the films in question are SF, horror, or fantasy flicks. Why do people watch them? What makes one truly terrible and another "terribly" good? And what bad movies should we all be watching?
Erin Underwood (M), Dana Cameron, Jennifer Pelland, Julia Rios, Stacey Friedberg
Transformative Fan Fiction
Saturday 10:00 - 10:50, Galleria-Discussion Group
Looking for fiction that breaks boundaries across gender, race, and religious roles? What is fan fiction? Moreover, what is transformative fan fiction? Why do people write it? Where did it come from? What needs does it fulfill? And where can you find it?
Julia Rios (M), Gillian Daniels
Reading: Julia Rios and John Chu read from Kaleidoscope!
Saturday 14:00 - 14:25, Independence
SF Screen Comedy: Galaxy Quest to Guardians of the Galaxy
Sunday 14:00 - 14:50, Harbor I
Anybody order a side of Meatballs? Let's talk about the most successful SF films with a lighter touch. We've seen many SF feature-length cartoons in the last few years aimed primarily at children: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Planet 51, Mr Peabody & Sherman. Which of those are worth seeing? What about live-action comedies aimed at adults? Are there examples the other way around? Which are the "best" big-screen SF comedies, and what sets them apart from the crowd?
Julia Rios (M), Gillian Daniels, Craig Shaw Gardner, Annalisa Schaefer, Stephen P. Kelner
Where you can find me at LonConLonCon is next weekend! This is the World Science Fiction Convention for 2014, and I will be there and doing all sorts of things. Come say hi!
Rewriting Gender Defaults
Thursday 18:00 - 19:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)
Several recent novels, including Ann Leckie's "Ancillary Justice", Kim Stanley Robinson's "2312", Kim Westwood's "The Courier's New Bicycle", Deb Taber's "A Necessary Ill" and Kameron Hurley's "God's War", have tried to imagine futures with increased gender diversity, or changed gender defaults. This panel will discuss how writers in English approach the technical aspects of challenging and disrupting gender binaries: how do issues such as narrative voice or structure affect our impressions of the worlds created? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different choices?
Roz J Kaveney (M), Alex Dally MacFarlane, Julia Rios, Geoff Ryman, Mary Talbot
An Anthology of One's Own
Friday 11:00 - 12:00, Capital Suite 6 (ExCeL)
Thanks in large part to the efforts of publishers like Aqueduct and Twelfth Planet Press, and the increasing use of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, we are in the middle of a small wave of feminist SF anthologies -- including the Twelve Planets series and the Lightspeed Women Destroy X special issues, and with Alex Dally MacFarlane's Mammoth Book of SF by Women and the VanderMeer giant anthology of Feminist SF still to come. Such anthologies are part of a tradition stretching back at least to Pamela Sargent's Women of Wonder anthologies in the 1970s. How have they helped to shape contemporary understanding of SF? To what extent have they been successful at rewriting the narratives of SF history (and breaking what are often cycles of discovery and elision)? And have they left any blind spots of their own?
Julia Rios (M), Jeanne Gomoll, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Ann Vandermeer
Kaleidoscope Book Launch!
13:30 - 14:30 in the Book Launch area of the Library
Come hang out with me, Alisa, and some of the Kaleidoscope authors. We'll have some biscuits/cookies to nibble on, and we'll be handing out Kaleidoscope stickers!
The Trouble With Teens
Friday 16:30 - 18:00, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL)
What are some of the big obstacles associated with writing a teen-centric story within an adult-centric world? What dangers lay in wait for the unprepared first time YA writer? What do young adult readers expect to see in their stories and how will you know if you’ve gone off target in the writing process?
Julia Rios (M), Suzanne van Rooyen, Amy McCulloch, Eric Senabre, Janet Edwards
Friday 20:00 - 21:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)
The "Bechdel test" for female representation in films is now widely known. To pass it a film should contain two named female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. In recent years, similar tests have been proposed for other under-represented groups, including the Mako Mori test for characters of colour, and the Russo test for queer characters. What are the strengths and weaknesses of such tests? How do they affect our viewing choices? And what does the popularity of such tests say about how popular media are being received and discussed?
Kate Heartfield (M), Kate Elliott, Jed Hartman, Julia Rios, JY Yang
The variant tests mentioned in the description can be found by following links from this article (which LonCon does not necessarily endorse, but it's a convenient single link, and may provide some starting points for discussion, even if to disagree with it!): http://www.overthinkingit.com/2013/08/28/bechdel-test-bechdel-tests/
Strange Horizons Party!
10:00 - 12:00 in Party Area A
Come hang out with me and Niall Harrison and Abigail Nussbaum and lots of other Strange Horizons people! We'll have some brunchy type snacks (pastries, perhaps!), and we'd love to see you.
Truth in Trash
Saturday 12:00 - 13:30, Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)
We all have different definitions of trash. The lurid spectacle of American Horror Story, the crudity of Misfits, or the cheapness of Sharknado are all types of 'trashiness' -- but there is often more to it than meets the eye. This panel will discuss the wit and invention of trashy TV, question what gets classed as trash and what doesn't, and explore how trash can quite often make space for diverse or marginalised stories that more highbrow entertainment can't or won't touch.
Julia Rios (M), Emma England, Kim Newman, Anne C. Perry, Nick Lowe
Hugo Reception and Ceremony
The Hugo Ceremony will be starting at 8pm, and I'll be there with the Strange Horizons and Skiffy and Fanty Show nominees. So very exciting!
News for the Summer of 2014!Goodness, it's been quite a year! I'm a double Hugo nominee this year: once for Strange Horizons, which is up in the best semiprozine category, and once for The Skiffy and Fanty Show, which is up in the best fancast category. This is super exciting and a tremendous honor! I'll be attending WorldCon in London in August so I can party with Shaun, Paul, and Mike from the Skiffy and Fanty crew, Niall Harrison (the Strange Horizons editor-in-chief), and all the other fabulous Hugo nominees across all the categories. The fancast nominees alone would make for an excellent party!
To add to the WorldCon excitement, Kaleidoscope: diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories will come out in early August in North America and Europe, and my co-editor, Alisa Krasnostein, will also be at WorldCon, so we're planning to have a launch party there! Kaleidoscope has been a giant focus for me this past year, and I couldn't be happier with the way the book turned out. There are twenty amazing stories by super talented authors, and I can't wait to share it with the world.
After WorldCon, Moss and I will have no time to be sad about the fun being over because we'll be too busy getting married in Scotland, and then walking the Coast to Coast Path across Northern England. We'll be doing the walk with our friend Sumana, and you won't see us online much (if at all) for the rest of August, but we'll be sure to post some pictures when we get back. In the meantime, here are the engagement photos that C. S. E. Cooney and Patty Templeton took for us! It is excellent to be friends with brilliant writers who are also brilliantly creative in other ways (speaking of which, Patty's debut novel just came out, and I highly recommend it!).
I've also been busy co-editing another anthology called In Other Words with Saira Ali of Kitabiyat Press. That one should be out before too long. It collects flash fiction and poetry by people of color with all profits going to support Con or Bust.
Other than that, I've attended Arisia, Boskone, the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, and Readercon so far this year, and each of them was wonderful. I failed to post my schedules here, but I did record some panels and interviews! The Skiffy and Fanty Show did interviews at ICFA with Sofia Samatar, David Edison, Fran Wilde, Cecilia Tan and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Usman Malik. Meanwhile over on the Outer Alliance Podcast, you can listen to the Unheard Voices of SF and QUILTBAG YA panels from Arisia. At Readercon, I recorded the amazing panel all about butts, so look out for that and my WorldCon schedule in the next news post!
So Much News!
Okay, first, I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before now, but I'm a Hugo nominee! Strange Horizons is up in the Semiprozine category, and I'm one of the nominees! This means I get to go to WorldCon in San Antonio and collect my rocket-shaped nominee pin. I cannot express how exciting that is! I am panning to bring an animatronic cat purse with me, because Science Fiction Awards Ceremonies Are Serious Business.
Next, I have a ton of new stuff out, including an interview with Rose Lemberg in Strange Horizons, several Skiffy and Fanty Show episodes (including three non-Torture Cinema ones about The Hugo Awards, Teaching SF with David Annandale, and Artificial Intelligence with Mary Robinette Kowal), an essay in Queers Dig Time Lords, and an audio version of "Oracle Gretel" on PodCastle.
Finally, this weekend is WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin! I'll be there all weekend, and you can catch me at all the program items related to Queers Dig Time Lords and The Outer Alliance! I'll also be part of the Open Secrets poetry reading on Saturday afternoon, and I'm co-hosting two parties! One on Friday night for Queers Dig Time Lords and The Outer Alliance, and one on Sunday afternoon for Strange Horizons. Do come say hello if you're there!
I'll also be making an exciting announcement at WisCon, but more on that next time!
First months of 2013
The beginning of 2013 has flown by for me. Partly it's because I was sick for most of January, so that whole month feels like a blur of sniffling and huddling under quilts. I did, however, spend a fabulous weekend at Arisia. I was on 13 program items, which is really a lot! You can hear one of them on Outer Alliance Podcast #28, and you can see panel notes for a few others on my journal.
This month, I attended Boskone, where I was on a much more manageable 6 panels. I've been posting some notes for those under the Boskone tag on my journal. There are still a couple more to come, and then also Outer Alliance Podcast #29, which is a recording of the Boskone QUILTBAG panel. I met wonderful people at both conventions, so despite my month of illness, 2013 is off to a pretty great start.
I am also utterly delighted to discover that I've made the Galactic Suburbia Award shortlist for the second year in a row. This award calls attention to wonderful people and projects, so it's a real honor to be part of it. Full details here.
"Seeds" is a Pushcart Prize nominee!Just found out the delightful news that Niteblade chose "Seeds" as one of their three Pushcart nominated poems for this year. This is a wonderful honor, and I'm in fabulous company, too. My co-nominees from Niteblade include Lisa Bradley, Sara Cleto, and Brittany Warman, excellent poets all! I'm also excited to see K. V. Taylor nominated in the fiction category. So wonderful to see friends get some well-deserved recognition.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go down to my local coffee shop and get a celebratory cupcake!
New Poem and PodcastWhile I was away at WorldCon (which was wonderful and overwhelming), two new things went out into the world. My poem "Seeds" about Persephone appeared in the September issue of Niteblade, and the August edition of the Broadly Speaking Podcast went up. I was a guest on Broadly Speaking this time, participating in a lovely conversation about interstitial fiction. Larissa Niec was the moderator, and Catherine Lundoff and Kristen McDermott were my co-panelists.
WorldCon!August has been a very big month for new stuff. I had a story in Daily Science Fiction, an interview in Stone Telling, a poem in Jabberwocky, and I was a guest twice on The Skiffy and Fanty Show (once to discuss movie sequels and such with the awesome Stina Leicht, and once as part of the Torture Cinema series with hosts Shaun and Paul).
Now I'm off to Chicago for the World Sicience Fiction Convention this weekend. If you're attending, here's where you can find me:
*Thursday: 3-4pm -- Volunteering at the London 2014 bid desk
*Friday 9:00-10:30am -- Writing Gender Roles in Science fiction (in Columbus IJ with Anne Lyle, Catherine Lundoff, Joan D. Vinge, and Victor Raymond)
*Friday 2-3pm -- Volunteering at the London 2014 bid desk
*Saturday 3:00-4:30pm -- Kaffeeklastch, though I may ask my group if they would like to end a half hour early because...
*Saturday 4:00-6:00pm -- Strange Horizons tea party (in the State Suite, co-hosted by Brit Mandelo, Jed Hartman, and Niall Harrison)
*Saturday 6:00pm-7:30pm -- Feminism in Fantasy (in Crystal C with Joan D. Vinge, Sandy Lindow, Sarah Hans, and Valerie Estelle Frankel)
*Monday 11:00am -- Reading (in DuSable)
Do say hello if you see me!