Upcoming conventions

Although I don’t attend a lot of conventions, I actually have two coming up within the next couple of months.

First up is next weekend: I’ll be doing a reading and appearing in a panel on women in SF at Heliosphere con on Saturday, March 11th in Tarrytown, NY. Heliosphere is a brand new con that will be taking place over the entire weekend; unfortunately, I’ll only be able to be there on Saturday, but if you’ve got the time, you should definitely check it out.

And then, on April 7-8, I’ll be attending Lunacon 2017, also in Tarrytown (that must be a really hoppin’ community!). Lunacon has been around for a very long time, and Jim & I used to go every year. We’ve neglected it in recent years, but we will be attending it this year at its new digs — only Friday and Saturday, since it is unfortunately scheduled a bit close to Passover. But if you want to come by and spot me wandering in the halls, stop and say hi!

Oh, and a final thank you to Bill Shunn for inviting me to read yesterday (Saturday, March 4th) at the monthly Line Break reading series, which takes place at Q.E.D. in Queens. It was a huge amount of fun.

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.

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!

Thanks for a nice weekend at Capclave

Capclave dodoJust a brief note to thank all the folks at Capclave who made the weekend so nice.

There are way too many to mention here. I would definitely start with our good friends Ben Zuhl, Lowry Taylor and their son Will, who always act as very gracious hosts when we come to the D.C. area.

Tom Doyle, who not only did yeoman service on the Linguistics in SF panel (along with C.S. MacCath and Lawrence Schoen, while I played moderator), but also gave a wonderfully dramatic reading from his upcoming novel and sat in on my own reading. (And who, along with a gentleman whose name I did not note down, was gracious enough to listen attentively while ignoring the workmen setting up tables at the back of the room.)

The other folks on my panels, such as Lawrence, Brian Lewis and Sarah Pinsker, who kept the panel Your Day Job As Your Muse going, despite the fact that it took place in the first timeslot of the con, before most people had gotten there. (And an extra thanks to Sarah, whose reading of her lovely short story I attended). The wonderfully informative panel on Crowdfunding and Alternative Funding for Writers, which I also moderated and which featured Bill Campbell, Neil Clarke and Alex Shvartsman. (And an extra thanks to Alex for the breakfast ticket!)

And finally, all the people, too numerous to mention, who chatted, listened, spoke on panels, or who just hung out and made it a really nice weekend (including, of course, the organizers). My apologies to all those whose names I haven’t mentioned. Hope to see you again soon.

Starting to look forward to Capclave: Here’s my list of panels.

Capclave dodoCapclave, the convention held each year by the Washington Science Fiction Association, is coming up. Jim and I like to attend because it’s a really nice East Coast literary con and because we have friend who both attend and live near there. Capclave starts Friday, October 9th and runs through Sunday, Oct. 11th at the Hilton Washington DC in Gaithersburg, MD.

If you’re going to be around the area and plan to come, here are the panels/readings I’m currently scheduled for (I’m told this is a beta schedule, so things may change). Drop by and say hello!

Friday 4:00 pm:
Your Day Job As Your Muse
Salon A
Panelists:Barbara Krasnoff, Sarah Pinsker, Lawrence M. Schoen
SF writers who work for NASA have it easy. What about the rest of us? How does your day job influence what you write when you are off the clock? Do you base characters on coworkers? Turn daydreams of being the corporate hero into your creative works?

Friday 5:00 pm:
Crowdfunding & Alternative Funding for Writers
Bethesda
Panelists:Bill Campbell, Neil Clarke, Barbara Krasnoff, Alex Shvartsman
Traditionally, publishers gave authors an advance on royalties in exchange for the completed manuscript. Today, some writers are receiving alternate revenue streams including crowdfunding of anthologies and novels in advance by the public, serialization in which the author releases a chapter (or story) as long as readers continue to fund it, and electronic self-publishing. What methods have you used and what works? What new methods do you see in the future? How will this change the creation of books?

Friday 7:30 pm:
Reading
Frederick

Saturday 4:00 pm:
Linguistics In SF
Bethesda
Panelists:Tom Doyle, Barbara Krasnoff, C.S. MacCath, Lawrence M. Schoen
What are some of the creative ways writers use language and linguistics in their fictions? How can language be used as a weapon or to unite different peoples? How can writers portray linguistic differences in a way that is not condescending?

What — and who — are genre conventions for?

Just got back from Capclave, a somewhat modest but very active science fiction/fantasy convention in the Washington DC area. Looking at it as sort of a microcosm of fan-run conventions (I’m not going to count events such as ComicCon, which are run by commercial entities — those are larger and different, and somebody else can write about those), I started to wonder: What is more important to the attendees? The panels? The parties? Or just the ability to hang out and socialize with new and old friends, and with writers whom you’ve always wanted to meet?

In my case, it’s a combination of all three. I love being on panels, and exchanging views with the smart, talented people I meet on them (and yes, people on those three Capclave panels I sat on, I mean you). I also love sitting in the audience, relaxing and listening and making notes. And I like just hanging out in the bar or the lobby and chatting with folks I only see once or twice a year (and whom I otherwise might not have the chutzpah to approach because I’ve been reading their stuff for gawd knows how long).

Other people I’ve talked to come just for the parties, or just for the panels, or just for the book signings, or just for the evening events. In fact, I’ve read the blogs of people who went to the same convention I went to — say, Readercon — and have come away with the impression that we attended two completely different conventions.

Which, I’m beginning to think, is the hallmark of a good genre con — a place where a variety of people get together, find each other, enjoy themselves the way they like to, and then leave feeling they’ve accomplished something — either by learning something new, or meeting somebody new, or hanging out with friends, or a combination of all three. (Of course, some business is sometimes done as well…)

A con can’t necessarily be all things to all people, but it can be different things to different people. And that’s a good thing.