photo by Kelly Robson
The Ad Astra science fiction convention is happening this weekend, and there’s going to be a ton of great programming. Guests of Honor Include Tom Doherty, Jack Whyte, Sandra Kasturi, Brett Savory, and Catherine Asaro.
As for me, here’s when you can find me:
Saturday April 30
- 1:00 p.m. Modern Anxieties and Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes.
- 6:00 p.m. SF Reading with Derwin Mak, Madeline Ashby, and Kelly Robson.
- 7:00 p.m. Loving the Villain .
Sunday May 1st
- 1:00 p.m. Non-Fiction for the SF or Fantasy Writer .
I love meeting readers, writers, students and fans so do come on over, if you’re inclined, and say hello.
Writing the Fantastic, my July course offering at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, is now open for registration. You can find the full course description and syllabus here, but here are the highlights:
This course expands the study of science fiction and fantasy writing to include both short and novel-length fiction. Infusing a narrative with originality and fantastic literature’s much-discussed “Sense of Wonder”–while at the same time preserving its clarity and heart–is a juggling act that can test a writer’s skills to the utmost. Writing the Fantastic places emphasis on meeting this challenge by merging the otherworldly content of speculative fiction with humane, emotionally powerful storytelling. Through exercises and readings, students deepen their understanding of the speculative subgenres: alternate history, time-travel, horror, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, sociological science fiction, and hard science fiction.
UCLA has tons of great classes and instructors if you’ve already taken this one. The popular stuff fills up fast, so browse now, browse often. My classes, especially my summer offerings, are intended to work as alternatives to something like Clarion or Clarion West, in case this isn’t the year when you can take six weeks off work, or preparation for same. WTF, as I like to call it, is one of the classes that qualifies you to take the Advanced SF Workshop that I also run, periodically, through the program.
Cover image for “The Nature of a Pirate,” by Cynthia Sheppard
As I dictate these words, I am sitting on the Go train, headed to UTSC to pick up some things I left in the sessional office. Even though I am teaching in summer, too, they clean out everything between quarters… which makes sense, if they don’t want the shared office to become a cluttered den of crap. It’s a good task for what I hope will be my last day of reduced activity due to the cold. An almost recreational commute, a quick errand, and then back home to see what else I can make of the day.
Next term I will be on campus Thursday afternoons and evenings for the next level of the same speculative fiction class. I am excited about being there, both for the sake of the teaching, which is delightful, but also to see what it is like there in the summer. Fewer icicle photos, more flowers, is my guess.
In other pleasing news, I am currently up for two awards: A Daughter of No Nation is nominated in the Best English Novel category for an Aurora Award, and I am in the running for something called the K.M. Hunter Artist Award. Kelly’s novella “Waters of Versailles,” meanwhile, is in the running for an Aurora too, in the Best English Short Fiction category. If the cool around our house runs any deeper, we will have to issue hip waders at the door.
I am pleased and excited to say that Caitlin Blasdell of the Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency has taken me on as a client.
My previous agent has been in the process of retiring for some time, and while I knew a change would be good for me both personally and professionally, I was looking forward to seeking out a new agent/author relationship with all the joy one brings to the prospect of a triple root canal, sans anesthetic. I hate transition rather passionately.
In the end–and as such things generally are–the search was nothing like I imagined. And, incidentally, nothing like dental work. In fact, it was a process that yielded up some really good writing, and promises, I think, to inspire still more. That’s an outcome that leaves me very happy indeed.
Annual Toronto SpecFic Colloquium, run by the Chiaroscuro Reading Series
Tickets for this year’s Annual SpecFic Colloquium went on sale yesterday, with a shiny change of venue to Innis Hall on the U of T campus, and an earlybird offer that expires February 29th. Who’s speaking? Why… I’m speaking! And so are Peter Watts, Peter Chiykowski, Andrew Pyper, Michael Rowe and Margaret Atwood.
I know! You’re losing your mind, right?
The event itself is happening on March 12, 2016, running pretty much all day. Think of it as a convention with single-track programming and endless bags of coolness. Tangent alert: I love single-track cons. Two of my favorite cons ever was The Science of Murder, which stood in for VCon in 1995. Getting back to the point, which is this particular event, I’m given to understand, there will be snacks and some free books.
The Chiascuro Reading Series sponsors this Colloquium each year and I have heard some mind-expanding and thoroughly wonderful talks there, by authors like Nnedi Okorafor, Simon Barry McNeil and Madeline Ashby, and creative thinkers like Alex Leitch. I absolutely promise, with all my heart, that I would tell you to attend this thing even if I wasn’t giving a talk entitled “How We Became LV426.”