Yes, I’ve also got an award eligibility post

I’ve been going through several of the posts recommending genre work that has been published throughout 2016 and promoting their own, and I’m really impressed with the all the great stuff out there. (And getting ready for a reading frenzy.)

For example, I’ve just finished rolling through A. C. Wise’s commodious What Have You Done, What Have You Loved? 2016 Edition and Fran Wilde’s Things To Read While Rebooting posts, both of which are musts if you want to find something good to read.

So I thought I’d contribute my own, much shorter list of my own eligible works and a few of the works that I’ve read and enjoyed over the past year.

Eligible Works

Sabbath Wine
Clockwork Phoenix 5
This story, about a father trying to put together a Sabbath meal for his daughter and her new friend during Prohibition, is one that I’m especially proud of.

Unfortunately, it’s not available to read online. SFWA members can find it as a PDF attachment in the Short Stories 2016 area of the SFWA forums. Otherwise, there is a video of me reading it at a recent NYRSF Readings session. (Or, of course, you can always buy the book! <g>)

With Triumph Home Unto Her House
Abyss & Apex
Near-future science fiction with a bit of social politics thrown in. A middle-aged middle-class woman tries to work her way back after a series of financial disasters and learns that following the rules doesn’t always work.

Recommended works

Unfortunately, it’s been a busy year, and I haven’t done nearly as much reading as I’d like, but here are some that come to mind. (Hopefully, I’ll add more over the next few days.)

Short stories

El Cantar of Rising Sun by Sabrina Vourvoulias
Uncanny Magazine #13
A lovely, poetic and tragic story. One of my favorites of the year.

Wilson’s Singularity by Terence Taylor
People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! / Lightspeed
I have to say that I’m prejudiced in favor of this one because it was workshopped in my writers group. It’s a great story of how change can have society and personal effects.

Breathe Deep, Breathe Free by Jenn Brissett
People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! / Lightspeed
Two kids text each other in a world that is uncomfortably possible.

A Handful of Dal by Naru Dames Sundar
People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! / Lightspeed
A recipe changes through the generations but still helps keep descendants rooted.

The Book of May by C. S. E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez
Clockwork Phoenix #5
Not going to say anything except this one made me cry and smile at the same time. Really.

Things With Beards by Sam J. Miller
Clarkesworld #117
A wonderful, frightening and touching follow-up to The Thing (1982 version).

Novels and Collections

Bone Swans by C. S. E. Cooney
A lovely collection of stories; it won the 2016 World Fantasy award.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
I’m not usually a fan of novels where “apocalypse” is part of the story description, but I’m glad I made an exception for this one.

The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez
Fabulous (in both senses of the word) stories with a nice sense of humor behind many of them.

Clockwork Phoenix #5 edited by Mike Allen
I’m sorry to be repeating myself here, but besides the story mentioned above (and my own), there is some really fine writing in here. Very worth checking out.

Tomorrow: The Margot Adler Memorial Reading

img_20140315_115911890Margot Adler was one of those people whose lives are a marvel. She was known and loved by many people who were part of many different communities: those who worked at and listened to the radio stations where she worked, WBAI and WNYC; the members of the Wiccan community; those who read her books on paganism, Drawing Down the Moon and Heretic’s Heart; and those who read her later book Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side, and who heard her speak about it. And probably many more.

Originally, I knew Margot’s husband, John Gliedman, as well or better than I knew Margot. He was an extremely smart (actually, quite brilliant), technically knowledgeable, and just plain nice human being who occasionally freelanced as a technical writer. John and Margot lived in a beautiful apartment on Central Park West, and some of my best memories are of meeting them there to talk, watch movies (or the election returns), or just hang out.

John died in 2010. Margot died in 2014. Both died too early. I miss them both.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 1st), the first Margot Adler Memorial Reading will be held at the NY Review of SF Readings — appropriately, on All Soul’s Day. It is being curated by Terence Taylor, and features Terence and Sabrina Vourvoulias — two exceptional writers of fantastic fiction. It will take place at 7 pm at the Brooklyn Commons Cafe at 388 Atlantic Avenue.

I hope to see you there.

Capclave is coming! And here’s my schedule.

Capclave dodoJim and I will be attending Capclave next week — a small but really fun literary-minded convention in Washington D.C. that runs from Friday, October 7th through Sunday, October 9th.

I’ve got a pretty good idea of what my schedule will be (although there may be last minute changes, of course), which will include that perennial favorite “Dealing with Discouragement” — for all those among us who could paper our homes with the printouts of our rejections.

So without any further ado, here’s my current schedule. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi.

Friday

4:30 pm:
Reading (Ends at: 4:55 pm) Bethesda
I haven’t decided what I’m going to read yet; I may actually go for something short and funny from several years ago.

5:00 pm:
Well Worn Classics (Ends at: 5:55 pm) Frederick
Panelists: Scott Edelman, Barbara Krasnoff (M), Karen Wester Newton, Lee Strong
Some science fiction classics are so steeped in the time they were written, they are painful to read now. In some ways, getting the technology wrong is secondary to getting the sociology wrong, as when sexism and racism rear their now-ugly heads. What classic novels show their age but are still a pleasure to read, and which make us wince?

6:00 pm:
What Ever Happened to the Standalone Novel? (Ends at: 6:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Anthony Dobranski, William Freedman, Barbara Krasnoff (M), Darcy Wold
These days it seems like every book is part of a series. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the standalone novel and why has it become so rare? What are good recent standalone novels?

Saturday

10:00 am:
Tap That Muse: Where Ideas Come From (Ends at: 10:55 am) Salon A
Panelists: Sarah Beth Durst, Barbara Krasnoff (M), J. J. Smith, Joan Wendland
Non-writers often ask authors about this, as if writers have access to some secret, and limited, stash which they are unwilling to share. The panel will divulge their methods for coming up with story ideas.

2:00 pm:
Writing Gadgets Well (Ends at: 2:55 pm) Rockville/ Potomac
Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff, Edward M. Lerner (M), Lawrence M. Schoen, Darcy Wold
How do you work technology into your story without boring the reader? You want to make your “inventions” believable, but how much is too much?

Sunday

12:00 pm:
Dealing with Discouragement (Ends at: 12:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Marilyn “Mattie” Brahen, William Galaini, Rahul Kanakia, Barbara Krasnoff (M), James Maxey
The story you’re sure is good is rejected. Your carefully crafted novel is shrugged off by several different agents. This discussion will cover personal strategies to deal with disappointments, rejection, and other setbacks.

The Backstory behind Backstories

Back in February, I was staring at a photo I had taken recently: The impressions that my shopping cart made in damp snow, and it occurred to me that somebody who was overthinking things might think it was left by something or someone other than a shopping cart. Like two flamingoes on bicycles.

flamingos on bikesI posted that on Facebook and thought, well, that was fun. The next evening, I was staring up at the various tschotskes on my mantel, and starting wondering what some of the little plastic Android bots were actually thinking — or doing — as they stood up on the mantel. So I wrote that up, careful to stay within the 140-characters (less, actually, because of the photo) demanded by Twitter, and posted it on Twitter and Facebook. And, I decided at the last minute, on Instagram.

So Backstories was born. Backstories are basically short, ridiculous imaginings of what is going on in the minds of the animals and supposedly inanimate objects around us. After all, they live in our world alongside us, don’t they? Who are we to presume that birds, trees and garbage cans don’t have inner lives as well? And thoughts as wise or as silly as anything that runs around in our human brains?

Currently, I set them to go live at 8:30 am every weekday on Facebook and Twitter; they usually appear on Instagram sometime the night before. On Facebook, they are gathered in an album called Backstories; on Twitter, they can be found in my personal feed; and on Instagram, tagged as #theirbackstories. If you’re curious, please do check them out.

How long will I keep publishing them? As long as I can continue to figure out what the animals and objects around me are thinking, I suppose — and as long as that process continues to be fun. Right now, it is a great deal of fun — to create and, I hope, to read.

Lights, camera — you know the rest

Just because I can: I’ve created a new video page on my blog site. This was, in the main, prompted by the reading I did back in April for the NYRSF Reading Series of my short story “Sabbath Wine,” which appears in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 5 (and which I’m inordinately proud of).

The series is now (through the good work of Jim Freund and Terence Taylor) being broadcast via Livestream. So I have a video of the reading, which I can now offer to anyone who wants to hear me tell the story in in my full Brooklyn accent.

I also have a video that was taken by editor Kay Holt (thanks, Kay!) of a party that took place at the 2011 Readercon SF con;  I read my story “Seder Guest,” which had been published in the late lamented small-press magazine Crossed Genres. (Crossed Genres still exists as a publishing company; check out their site here.)

There are also a few videos of panels I’ve sat on at various spec-fic conventions which I may add at a later date, but that’s about it for now. Enjoy.

My Readercon Schedule

Readercon has posted its “preliminary” schedule; since there are only a few more days to go, I’ve decided to go ahead and post the panels/readings that I’m going to participate in. There are loads of great-sounding panels coming up; I’m really looking forward to it!

Here are mine:

Thursday July 7

8:00 PM    Room 5    Living in the Future. John Chu, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Andrea Phillips, Tom Purdom, Terence Taylor. Today, if we’re going to see another person, we have cellphones to instantly communicate with that person, and maps on the cellphones to help us find our agreed-upon location. Twenty years ago we would have had to phone each other on landlines, pick a restaurant in advance or agree to meet at a landmark known to both of us. Five hundred years ago we wouldn’t have had watches on our persons, so even keeping to the correct time of the appointment would have been difficult—how would we even know when the agreed-upon time of our meeting arrived? Our panelists will discuss some of the conveniences, large and small, that we take for granted, and the absence of which would cause difficulties of the sort that are often elided in fiction. The discussion will also discuss science fiction novels and stories that incorporate and project modern technology into their fictions, and which fail to take these things into account.

9:00 PM    Room 5    The Life and Times of Mary Sue . Gillian Daniels, Gemma Files, Ben Francisco, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Natalie Luhrs. New Republic senior editor Jeet Heer wrote, in a short Twitter essay about Mary Sues, “The popularity of the term ‘Mary Sue’ really says everything you need to know about sexism in fandom/nerdom.” Instead of unpacking the concept of Mary Sue, we’d like to zero in on the troubled history of this term, why it’s troubled, and how better to talk about “self-insertion” in fiction without the sexism.

Friday July 8

12:00 PM    Room A    Reading: Barbara Krasnoff. (It says I’m reading “Sabbath Wine” but I’ll probably read an unpublished story instead.)

5:00 PM    Room A    Clockwork Phoenix 5 Group Reading. Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, Carlos Hernandez, Keffy Kehrli, Barbara Krasnoff, Cameron Roberson, Sonya Taaffe, A.C. Wise. Contributors to the bestselling fifth installment in the critically-acclaimed, boundary-expanding Clockwork Phoenix anthology series read excerpts from their stories.

Readercon & Videos

Is Readercon really next week? It feels as if it’s crept up on me; I keep thinking it’s sometime in the nebulous future. I’ve gotten my initial schedule, which right now is made up of two panels, an individual reading and a group reading, but the schedule is apparently still tentative. So I’ll hold off posting it until everything is set in — well, if not stone, then at least in reasonable secure rubber.

Meanwhile, as usual, I’m indecisive about what to read. I was originally going to read “Sabbath Wine” from Clockwork Phoenix 5, but I realized that not only might I be repeating it for any of my friends who show up (since I read it at the NYRSF Readings back in April), but that it’s way too long for a 25-minute slot. So I’ve asked them to change the description in the program to “Barbara reads a new unpublished story,” and that way, I can make the decision at the last moment.

Meanwhile, if you want to hear me read “Sabbath Wine,” you can! I’ve created a “Videos” page on my website (here: https://krasnoff.wordpress.com/videos/), where you can catch the NYRSF reading. There’s also a video of me reading a short story called “The Seder Guest” that I did at a Crossed Genres party at a previous Readercon.

More on Readercon soon — and I hope to see you there!