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Honestly I’m just tired…

So anyway if nothing else last night’s Hugo Award ceremony is pretty much the last nail in the coffin for the relevance of so-called “old guard” science fiction and fantasy. CoNZealand can issue all the mealy mouthed apologies they want but when it comes down to it they were still the ones who booked Martin full-well knowing the guy has a long, long, long history of chauvinist community exclusionism.1 Everything that happened last night—and I do mean everything—was blindingly obvious from a thousand paces.

Oh but, yanno. Marin is Famous™. And if nothing else Worldcon can always be counted on to kiss the asses of anyone it feels may bring it even the teensiest, tiniest bit of cultural relevance to its table.

Incidentally, the rough estimate is that there are about one thousand people that regularly attend Worldcons. One. Thousand. When it’s held in larger cities, i.e. with populations in the millions, it scrapes up into the higher four digits.

I live in a city of about 300,000 people. Our local annual media convention got around 5,000 attendees the last time it was run. It’s considered tiny for its type.

When Worldcons are held in similarly sized cities they struggle to get numbers in the hundreds.

And to be super clear about this: this is by design. It’s an open secret that there are people associated with Worldcon that want to keep it small and cliquish and closed to outsiders—by which yes you may absolutely read “anyone not a white American man”, give or take a degree or two—and they want to do that while simultaneously wanting it to be seen as the “premiere” driving force in science fiction and fantasy. It’s all the kids who were2 laughed at and spat on at school stomping off to make their own Cool Kids’ Club so that for once they can be the biggest fish in the smallest pond and shove all the even nerdier losers into lockers.

Is it any wonder, then, this long, slow, wheezing stumble into irrelevance?

And, to be clear, I do think think there’s something salvageable there. The Hugo Awards themselves are evidence of that; evidence of a growing diversity and a youthful energy. So is the anger things like last night provoke. But nothing is going to change, not really, when the next two years’ of Worldcons have snapped back, rubber-band-like, to the comfortable mediocrity of being hosted in the United States, and nothing is going to happen when guests of honor continue to be all white and awards hosts can’t even be bothered to learn to pronounce people’s names in prerecorded video.

Nothing here is new. And it is systemic, it’s connected.

And I’m just so fucking tired.

  1. However he isn’t, at least to my knowledge, a “missing stair“, as they say, which makes him the “non contentious” choice to represent the Famous Old White Men of SFF. Yes, we really, really are at the point where “doesn’t sexually harass, assault, and/or creep on attendees” is the fucking bar that people are trying to clear. []
  2. Or at least felt like they were… []
2020-08-02T09:30:05+10:002nd August, 2020|Tags: cons, fandom, hugo awards, sff, worldcon|

Worldnon.

John W. “Slavery Was Good Actually” Campbell won the WorldCon Retro Hugo for best shortform editor because of course he did and honestly I’m just tired.1

And of course I still have no access to anything because the concom can’t handle people having Discord emails separate to their Worldcon registration emails, which… c’mon, guys. Surely someone there has a thirteen-year-old with a Fortcraft: Minenite server who can teach you how to do this. I even raised a support ticket about it and they… changed my Worldcon registration email to my Discord email and still didn’t give me access to the freakin’ Discord.

And of course panels are solely being broadcast via Zoom, which… can we just not? I mean literally do not use this platform. Not to get too topical but it’s like the computer science equivalent of going to a packed movie theater with no mask because it’s “just more convenient.”2

So yeah no Worldcon for me, I guess. I paid how many hundreds of dollars for this?

  1. And of course Lovecraft won Best Series for the Cthulhu Mythos, although the 2020 Retro Hugos are for 1945, which was after Lovecraft’s death, and most of the work being doing to actually make the mythos The Mythos—as opposed to just “Some Shit One Guy Wrote”—at that time was being done by August Derleth. []
  2. Like… is it, though? Is it? []
2020-07-31T07:56:53+10:0031st July, 2020|Tags: cons, conzealand, fandom, sff, worldcon|

Monstrous contents.

Hey y’all remember how I was editing that anthology of monsters? Yeah. That’s still A Thing That Is Happening, and we just announced the table of contents (i.e. the authors and their stories) and it is gonna be so good

Also spent all weekend booking things for both Continuum and the motherfreakin’ WorldCon and… it’s happening y’all. It’s really happening…

2020-05-12T08:39:07+10:0024th February, 2020|Tags: books, cons, continuum, csfg, sff, unnatural order, worldcon|

Small ponds.

So Conflux was this weekend and I went and did things and so on and so forth but, mostly, some general observations:1

  • The SFF con scene is not very big.
  • That includes both fans and pros.
  • Big name pros.
  • Internationally.
  • No one is more than two or three degrees of separation away from anyone else.
  • Even if people aren’t directly BFFs, they know each other by reputation.
  • You want to have a good reputation. Especially with the people you aren’t BFFs with.
  • I really, really mean that.
  • And not just for “opportunities” and “career advancement” (though it will help that), but also because you just… don’t want to get the reputation of being That Guy.
  • If you’re ever That Guy, it’s really, really difficult to ever not be That Guy.
  • People notice who Gets Things Done; who organizes events, volunteers time and resources, who goes out of their way to help other people.
  • They really notice the people who are only there for themselves.
  • Not to mention the people who are never there for—to put it delicately—specific demographic segments within the broader community.
  • I mean it is an SFF con, so it’s likely a good number of the attendees are awkward, shy, weird, or all three. Particularly if they’re new.
  • So people are fairly forgiving.
  • But not eternally forgiving.
  • And, like I said, the scene really isn’t that big…

Just… something to keep in mind.

  1. Not, it must be said, directed at anyone likely to be reading this… []
2019-10-09T08:12:57+11:009th October, 2019|Tags: conflux, cons, fandom, sff|

Adventures in booth manning.

So last weekend was GAMMA.CON, and for my sins I ended up manning the CSFG‘s booth through most of Saturday. We had a shared table with Conflux and it was, uh. An experience. Part of it was possibly the placement; we were up in the back corner near all the sword and prop manufacturers, when we’d probably have been more suited to being in the author’s alley segment. And part of it was straight-up lack of planning; our notification was very, uh. Short. So it was definitely a last-minute scramble to organize things to actually put on the table. We did okay—anthologies were sold, tentaplushies were squeezed—mostly thanks to the arrival of Kaaron Warren, who’s much better at this sort of thing than yours truly.

(more…)

2020-05-12T08:38:38+10:005th August, 2019|Tags: books, cons, csfg, fandom, gamma.con, sff|

Two quick updates!

Update Ye Firste: Print books

Because I finally got around to it, print versions of Liesmith and Stormbringer are now available for direct-from-me ordering, for those of who who don’t want to/can’t/whatever buy the Amazon versions.

Update Ye Seconde: Continuum

Apparently Continuum is, like, next week? Yikes.

As per usual, I will, indeed, be there. I’m currently scheduled on between zero and two panels:

  1. Superhero Burnout, Friday 9:30pm.
  2. Post-Capitalist Societies, Sunday1 5pm.

I say “between zero and two” because there’s currently contentious around both of them for various reasons, but failing massive… failing, that’s where I’ll be, if anyone feels like listening to me blather in public.

Update: Okay, not so much with the superheroes. The tl;dr is the panel was split between people who agreed with the premise (i.e. yours truly) and those that didn’t. I was interested in the panel in the context of it being a place to gripe about the genre in general, and the hyper-commodification of it in e.g. the MCU in particular, but in the end that wasn’t where things were going, and it felt like keeping things as they were was just going to get… emotionally fraught for all involved. So that’s a peace out from me on that one.

  1. I know it says Saturday in the program, but it got moved. []
2020-05-12T08:35:10+10:0030th May, 2019|Tags: book news, books, cons, continuum, wyrdverse|

Conference Tips: Writer Edition.

Given that Conflux is apparently this weekend (yikes, where did the month go?), it seems portentous to have stumbled across this list of Hot Tips for Writers At Conferences

2018-09-27T07:31:07+10:0027th September, 2018|Tags: agents, conflux, cons, publishing, writing|

Wyrdverse, Conflux, and Kickstarters (oh my)!

Oh no. It’s That Time of the Year again, the time when… (looks around nervously) … things happen.

Thing #1.

I formatted a book! Wyrdverse: Tales of the Wyrd is an anthology of short stories from the, well. Wyrdverse. These aren’t new—you may have previously read them on my website—they’re just now… collated better.

Wyrdverse is currently available super-cheap from Amazon, although if you’d like to snag yourself a free copy you can do so from the princely sum of your email address, by signing up to my book news mailing list.

Oh, and because the whole purpose of this exercise was to practice using Indesign, a print version of the book (in all its extensive, 80-page glory) should be available sometime in the next few weeks. So… keep an eye out for that.

Thing #2.

Speaking of awesome books you should buy (or, rather, back) right now, Crossed Genres’ Resist Fascism speculative fiction anthology is in the final days of its Kickstarter. From the official description:

RESIST. ANY WAY YOU CAN.

The world is in turmoil. The world is always in turmoil, but in recent years, people have seen violence and hatred become proud instead of ashamed. What meager rights we’ve fought for are being deliberately eroded. And the vulnerable have any help stripped away. All of this is happening openly and without fear of reprisal. And the worst perpetrators are some of the largest governments of the world.

Resisting the spread of fascism is as important now as it was 75 years ago. And there are many effective ways to resist.

For full disclosure, friend-and-all-round-awesome-person Rivqa has a story in this anthology, and I have read it and it is boss. So if you, too, would like to read a boss story about found family and Jewish jujitsu IN SPACE, then you should go smash that pledge button, as the kids on teh YouTubes say.

Thing #4.

Oh, and while you’re in the spending money mood,1 Mother of Invention is on sale! From the blurb:

Knit robots, build spaceships, and shape the future.

Extraordinary short stories about gender, artificial intelligence and the art of building something new. Mother of Invention features the work of Seanan McGuire, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Nisi Shawl, John Chu, Justina Robson and more.

Awesome? Yes. So what are you waiting for? Buy like a hundred copies and you’re set for presents to give out to all your friends, enemies, and loved ones at every birthday, anniversary, and culturally appropriate religious celebration for the indefinite future. Let’s all knit a softer, warmer robotic future together.

Finally… Thing #5.

Conflux! It’s coming, and I will be there. You can even come hear me blather on about narrative in the panel Play to write: what tabletop and video games can teach writers of fiction. And by “me” I mean “Rivqa and Elizabeth“, and by “blather” I mean “make interesting and intelligent points while trying to ignore their drooling co-panellist (i.e. me).”

Sound great? Of course it does! See you there.

  1. … I know, I know. []
2020-05-12T07:48:39+10:0012th September, 2018|Tags: book news, books, conflux, cons, fandom, gonzo author stories, sff, wyrdverse, xp|

Oh, WorldCon, no.

Foz Meadows has a write-up of the current WorldCon 76 drama.

This all feels very much like people used to running a small-town parochial con1 with an established member-base suddenly getting in a twist because they have to accommodate (gasp) outsiders.

I do think it’s maybe indicative of the fact that WorldCon is finally starting, in the last few years, to live up to the “world” part of its name. In other words, you can’t just have your local con grab the host spot and expect to be able to run things in the same way you always run them…

Edit: Another write-up.

  1. I know San Jose has a million or so people in it… but on the other hand, Melbourne has about 4 million and it took me like two years to feel like I knew, at least by sight, most of the regulars at Continuum. []
2018-07-25T13:45:50+10:0025th July, 2018|Tags: cons, fandom, sff, worldcon|
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