I did an interview today with Obsolete Press, for their upcoming solarpunk issue. That was an exciting event and I will keep y'all posted on when that's available.
It came at the end of a very long day at work, though, and by the end of the interview I was dipping more than a little into backup fuel -- like, I'm fairly confident that I was cogent, but it was definitely going to be a "finish this then crash for a while" kind of thing, and I'm still pretty crashed.
There's a few more days until the July 23 deadline to submit solarpunk-related content to Obsolete Press, btw.
My last panel, I feel, went very well. It was on Science Fiction and Fantasy Fashion.
Overall, though: holy crap this was one of the best weekends of my life.
The only bad thing I can think of about the entire weekend was that my debit card got rejected at McDonalds on the drive home, because the hotel was still holding the security deposit money.
This has been immensely gratifying, both because it's been a major life goal for the past several years, and because it went so well that I feel like I'm equipped to start thinking up even bigger life goals (because there are dots to connect between here and "Win a Hugo.")
Next up on my list is to apply to be a panelist at the other Boston conventions, Arisia and Boskone, which are in January and February next year. (I can't remember which is when.) I will keep y'all updated about how that goes.
Thursday, July 7
8 p.m. Bees!
Erik Amundsen, Max Gladstone, Natalie Luhrs, Julia Rios (moderator), T.X. Watson.
From the serious scientific question of colony collapse disorder, through the also-serious metaphoric House of Evil Bees of Captain Awkward, to Chuck Wendig's ridiculous #facebees, bees seem to proliferate among the interests of our genre community. Why? Are we in it for the honey or the sting, or is it the combination that attracts us?
Friday, July 8
3 p.m. Fantastical Dystopia
Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T.X. Watson.
Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as "love is now considered a disease" rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?
8 p.m. The Horror Novels of Terry Pratchett
Don D'Ammassa, Jim Freund (leader), Lila Garrott, Chris Gerwel, T.X. Watson.
Laughter is surprisingly proximate to terror. Lurking beneath the humor of Discworld is some extremely effective horror, including the consumerist nightmares of Reaper Man, the eldritch creepiness in Moving Pictures, and the unnerving elves in Lords and Ladies. Whistling is always better when you're walking past a graveyard—isn't it?
Saturday, July 9
Sunday, July 10
2 p.m. SFFF: Science Fiction and Fantasy Fashion
Lila Garrott, Liz Gorinsky (leader), Kathleen Jennings, Julia Starkey, T.X. Watson.
Let's talk about future fashion. According to Carrie Fisher in her memoir Wishful Drinking, George Lucas told her that there were no bras in space, so she wasn't allowed to wear a bra in the first Star Wars movie. He explained to her in 2012 that in space, skin expands, but a bra doesn't, so a person would be strangled by their bra. Setting aside all of the other questions this raises, what scientific and future technological oddities could end up affecting the way we dress? Many designers and writers over the years have tackled this question with clothing to protect from increased UV rays and Star Trek uniforms that include personal climate control. Do we think that future clothing will be purely functional jumpsuits, or will new technologies provide new sartorial delights and abominations? Do our aliens dress like humans or eschew clothing entirely? In fantasy, does historical accuracy matter, and does boob armor really ruin a story?
I'm up late editing audio, and Audition has decided to be frustrating in the last few minutes, so now I'm up late waiting for Audition to update to the latest version in case I'm experiencing a bug that's been fixed in the six months since I've bothered to update any of my Adobe products.
Prerelease of new Solarpunk Press content is tomorrow: our $10 and up Patreon supporters get access to the episodes and issues early, while everybody else gets it the first Monday of the month, next Monday.
I'm happy to be back at this, and looking forward to getting back into this rhythm: it was unreasonably disruptive to have to kind of re-learn all the keyboard shortcuts I normally use, and I'm going to have to look up some other stuff soon to remember how to correctly even out the volume throughout the episode.
And I probably should have said something about this months ago, but I'm going to be a program participant! I'll be on panels! My name is going to go on the website! I'm super excited.
I just finished filling in the panel interest forms -- I said I was interested in 20 panels. I imagine they probably won't put me on all 20 but I hope I get to do a lot. Also, in the coming month I'm going to be doing research to prepare, and may have things to say about the outcomes of that research, too.
The first day of conbust was pretty good -- we didn't sell anything, but we talked to a bunch of people.
I feel like this is a great learning experience, if nothing else. (Hopefully it won't be nothing else.) Like, I thought of a lot of things to prepare. A lot. But I never thought of bringing a cash box or money for change. We'll have that stuff tomorrow, but we didn't even realize it was missing until like an hour after we set up.
We'll both have more to say about Conbust, probably on Solarpunk Press, on Monday. For now: I'm going to get some sleep.
Smith College's Conbust starts tomorrow, and Solarpunk Press is going to have a vendor table. We'll be there every day this weekend, selling issues, as well as doing the first experimental launch of T-shirts -- soon to be available to, at least, existing Patreon supporters while supplies last.
Audio here. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes -- we're about to go on hiatus and will be back in July, but we might be putting out nonfiction podcasts in the meantime. Sign up here for our mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bu25ib
Yesterday we released a new episode of Solarpunk Press, "The Squeaky Wheel" by Sara Kate Ellis. It's by far the darkest story we've published so far, but I also think it's really interesting. You should check it out.
Today we published "Hand-cranked mountain bikes: An interview with Mike Augspurger, inventor of the One-Off Handcycle," who I worked with at Hampshire in my Appropriate Technology class. The handcycle is a really cool piece of technology, a three-wheeled bike that's pedaled by hand and steered by shifting on a chest support, and seeks to provide the best possible athletic experience for people who use wheelchairs.
I really liked doing this and I'm looking forward to doing more.
I don't know what to blog about and it's getting late so I'm just going to signal boost the editorial I wrote for Solarpunk Press that went up yesterday.
In February 2013, Charles Stross wrote a blog post called Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship. In it, he described a problem with systems of power in the 21st century. Extremely simplified, it went like this:
Organizations will always out-compete individuals in pursuing control of a large system
Systems within an organization for choosing representatives and actions will trend towards those that preserve or expand the organization, even when that goal contradicts the stated goals of the organization
Therefore, over time systems will trend towards all supporting a closely similar set of behaviors and values that optimize for organizational survival, and organizations that ideologically set out to resist that will either change to conform or disintegrate
The Solarpunk Press print editions are available for preorder! And I'm announcing it here first, because it's late and this is the only place where I need to write something before midnight. They're going to be up until December 7, the day the next issue of Solarpunk Press comes out -- at which point we'll close the preorder, print the orders we have, and ship them out, in time for Christmas.
The early access rewards for Solarpunk Press's Patreon supporters go out tomorrow -- this is the edge of the very long period of time in which I've been telling people I've been doing a cool thing, and it's about to be the time when I get to actually show people the cool thing. Granted, it's a limited pool of people who have access right now, but still: this is exciting.
Altogether, though, this was a really bad time to get sick. I didn't blog yesterday because by the time I got back to my room at the end of the night I collapsed onto my dorm room floor, arms wrapped around an empty bucket, for reasons.
I didn't go to my classes today, and broadly speaking I did take it easy. But I also had to do my part of the recordings for the podcast -- so, early listeners, sorry for the congested sound of the first episode's intro and outro. (The actual story sounds incredible; Faith and Nicole did an amazing job and I couldn't be prouder to be starting out Solarpunk Press with such a great story, so well performed.) There's a chance I'll re-record before the free and open release on Monday and swap out my crummy recordings for some good ones.