New story up!

January 27, 2011 at 8:46 am (Stories online)

Ever said to yourself, “Self, what I really want to read today is a story with industrial accidents, involuntary magic, tabletalk, and opera”?

No?  Why the hell not?

“Recapitulation in Steam” is now up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  It’s another in the industrial fantasy/steampunkish world that “The Guilt Child” and “A Serpent in the Gears” share, but it’s gone in an entirely different direction.  Hope you enjoy it!

“I’m fine,” Izzy said, swinging his feet off the cot and trying to blink away the persistent pinkish cast to his vision. “The compressor coils. That’s where the leak was, wasn’t it?” He remembered climbing down into the main ore distillation chamber, going to the secondary vapor line on a hunch, hearing a tremulous hiss….

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Supernatural Underground: In which I talk about imaginary friends

January 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm (Cons, Supernatural Underground)

I’ve got a Supernatural Underground post up — a little late, but still on time — about how revision is my friend. Mixed metaphors and confused imagery abound!

If the first rush of composing a new story is like the glamourous, bubbly friend who shows up with tickets to That Thing You Love and buys you tea and little chocolate pastries and gives you sparkling advice about your relationship problems, then revision is the kind of friend who will help you move, but will at the same time point out that maybe the last few life choices you’ve made have not been very good ones. Revision will tell you that no, the bandage dress doesn’t work on you, then remind you to file your taxes.

Arisia was a lot of fun, though as usual I barely got enough time with the people I wanted to see and spent far too little time just relaxing. It was also apparently “imprudent financial decision time” at the dealers’ rooms. I regret nothing.  NOTHING.

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Arisia schedule

January 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm (Cons)

I’ll be at Arisia next weekend, and whoo boy did they put me on a lot of panels. At least the serious ones are mostly at the beginning, so I can switch over from attempting to be professional to fannish happy babbling as the weekend goes on.

Friday, 6:30 PM
Boston as Setting (Cecelia Tan, Margaret Ronald, Steve Popkes, Alexander Jablokov, Robert Davies)
The subway line to Cambridge inspired H.P. Lovecraft to visions of subterranean Antarctic horror; Hal Clement drowned Beantown under dozens of feet of water. Why Boston? Who’s writing about here lately? What scenic SFnal and fantastical possibilities do our fair city present?
Boston’s got an awful lot of both history and secrets. Every time I go out to learn more, I’m floored by the sheer weight of it — and by the possibilities that crop up for new stories. Tunnels! Drowned towns! Shipwrecks! Unnamed statues on the Charles! I’m curious to see how it’s being treated as an SF setting, too. (And, if possible, I might try to bring up Boston as it appears in Fringe, since that’s a show I’ve been enjoying lately.)

Saturday, 2:00 PM
Fantastic Women (Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Margaret Ronald, Sheila Oranch, Adrienne Brennan, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Vandana Singh)
Once we mature past the (male) adolescent fantasy of women, modern fantasy provides us with complex heroines. We’ll talk about the touchstone women of fantasy, our current favorite fantastic women, and how society’s changing view of women in general both drive the creation of these characters and is influenced by them.
I’ll have to come up with a list or two for this, because while there’s currently a glut of ass-kicking heroines out there (particularly in the urban fantasy department), I’d like to explore some heroines who don’t fit that role. I’d also like to look at what the constructed role of the “ass-kicking heroine” says about current perceptions of women.

Saturday, 6:30 PM
Autograph Session
Just a reminder: I don’t sign body parts, even if they’re still attached. (Zombies get a special exemption, but only if they leave my brain unchewed.)

Sunday, 3:30 PM
Man-in-the-Machine Anime (Corwin Greylore, Margaret Ronald, Robert Luoma, Jeff Warner, David Lee, Pam Larson)
Evangelion, Gundam, Ghost in the Shell, Robotech, Fullmetal Alchemist, and all other mad scientists who cross the lines between man and machine are discussed, with some doses of things to come.
Sunday seems to be my fan panel day. I’m hardly an expert on anime, so I might be talking out of my hinder for this entire panel. However, I find the blurred distinction between man and machine fascinating, and several anime series have looked at that in depth. I’d also love to bring up Pluto, which is a manga series that, among its other powerful themes of forgiveness and trauma and giant robot fights, explores the emotional aspects of artificial intelligence in a human society.

Sunday, 5:00 PM
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Pam Larson, Margaret Ronald, Amber Nakano)
Rebooting a storyline is nothing new. See Superman, Batman, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek as examples. But there has not been a reboot of a popular anime series until now. Released in February 2010 to rave reviews by English-speaking audiences, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood should be nominated for a Hugo Award.
Also a fan panel (about which I’m always nervous, since I’m both a little reticent about sharing what I love and uncertain about my qualifications). I’m more familiar with Brotherhood than the first anime, but I think there’s a lot to be said for both, particularly in how they construct a world and then turn it on its head. I might also try to talk about reboots in general, and how strange it is that there are two forms of equally valid canon. All the other examples that I can think of are from really early works — the multiple continuations of the Grail stories, for example.

Monday, 9:30 AM (yikes)
Reading (Rita Oakes, Margaret Ronald)
Damn, this is early in the morning. I’m still deciding what I want to read, but it’ll probably be either from early in Soul Hunt or one of the short stories forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. And I promise I’ll have coffee and donuts on hand for anyone who makes it to the reading.

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2010 vs. 2011

January 3, 2011 at 8:45 am (Personal)

Last New Year’s, I:

  • drank far, far too much
  • was apparently a charming if talkative loon when drunk
  • ended up barfing in between either 1) apologizing to my food for not giving it a better, more permanent home or 2) explaining the plot for the best fanfic idea EVAR
  • learned the true meaning of a hangover

This New Year’s, I:

  • listened to the resident organist play for First Night in Boston
  • shared a glass and a kiss at the stroke of midnight
  • joined friends in the Berkshires for assorted goofiness
  • watched fire poi and fire staff work (and no one was set on fire)
  • talked plots and characters and ideas with many creative people
  • attempted to convince a toddler to finish his food, which through a series of events too embarrassing to go into resulted in me being dubbed “Chicken Dance”
  • demonstrated the Chicken Dance for those who had never seen it
  • thoroughly enjoyed my role as Horrible Aunt Maggie

2010 was a very good year with an inauspicious start.  So far, 2011 has been much better.  Let’s hope that continues.

Except for maybe the Chicken Dance.  I can do without that.

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