Tag: conventions

Preliminary Boskone schedule

I mentioned Boskone in my last post. They have posted their “almost final” program schedule and I went through it this morning, trying to decide what I wanted to see. It’s tough; I wanted a mix of good s.f. discussion, as well as good sessions on writing. Here is my preliminary list, subject to change, of course, up to the last minute.

My tentative schedule

Capclave, Day 1


Capclave 2007 was held at the Rockville Hilton this year with Jeffery Ford as the author Guest of Honor and Ellen Datlow as the editor Guest of Honor. I’ve wanted to meet Ellen Datlow for quite some time so I was pretty excited to go. Among others I wanted to meet was Scott Edelman. It seemed like a fun time, and as it turned out, it was.

Read about the convention

Convention attendance update

I made some decisions about attendance of upcoming science fiction conventions over the next 6-8 months or so.

I will be attending Capclave 2007 in Rockville, Maryland (a mere half hour from my house). I will also be attending Boskone 45, in Boston over Presidents Day weekend 2008. I will not, however, be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, NY. Scheduling and other factors make it too difficult for me to make there in November, which is too bad because Joe Haldeman is scheduled to be there and it would have been nice to get a chance to meet him.

Last night, I booked my hotel room at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel where Boskone is being held. I’m staying two nights and I cashed in 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for my room which saved me about $400. I need to book my travel up there; I will probably take the Acela. I paid for my membership to the convention so, except for travel, I’m all set.

I still have to sign up for Capclave, but I’ll do that later today or this week. Scott Edelman will be there and so I’ll finally have a chance to meet him in person. Ellen Datlow will there and so I will get a chance to meet her. And Edmund Schubert, editor of IGMS, will also be there so I’ll get a chance to see him again, too.

Balticon 2007

I attended my first ever Balticon science fiction convention today. It was the last day of the convention and I got to the hotel just before the convention opened, having driven straight there from Dulles airport (my flight from Las Vegas got in at about 7:30 AM). It was a lot of fun but I was exhausted and not my usual effervescent self. Here is what I attended:

Reading by William Shunn
I finally got to meet shunn in person, after having first read a story by him in January 1994 when I was a senior in college at UCR. I walked into the reading room and he was sitting at the head table, working on some last minute edits to one of the stories that he was going to read. He kindly signed my January 1994 issue of SCIENCE FICTION AGE, which contains his story, “Two Paths in the Forest Toulemonde”.

He then set out to read two stories, both of which had never before appeared anywhere. I think it is so cool when authors do this. It’s like getting a “beta” copy of the story and you kind of feel like you are inside some exclusive club. The first story, called “Timesink” was actually a moving story and one which with I can greatly sympathize, since I am planned on getting rid of my TV’s a little later this spring. The story will be appearing in a future issue of :ELECTRIC VELOCIPEDE:.

The second story was a hilarious story called something like “Care and Feeding of your Piano”. It was written as a uniquely self-updated set of instructions, and anyone who has ever been frustrated by complicated sets of instructions will love it. It was really rather ingenious.

Tony Ruggiero’s Quick-Write

The premise here is that the group is split into three teams, two comprised of the panel and one from the audience. I volunteered for the audience team. Each team decides what order they will write in. Then the first writers are sent to the table. A “person” is then given and the first part of the story has to make use of that person. The “person” we were given was “a convention fairy” and each of the writers had 2 minutes to write the first part of a story making use of a convention fairy somewhere in the plot. Then the second writers get up. They have 30 seconds to read what the first writer wrote, and are then given a place. The place they were given was a baseball game where the home team was losing. They then had 2 minutes to write their section of the story. The idea was to mix in as many “points” from the first part into the second, and thus make the story make sense. Finally, it was my turn. I was the group of third and final writers. When I got up there, we were given a “thing”; specifically, the fairy had to have a hangover. We then got 2 minutes and I wrote feverishly, trying to tie all of the various plot threads together. In the end, I guess we did an okay job because our team tied with Edmund Schubert‘s team for first place.

We did one more round, and again, I was in the last writing group. The second round is more complicated because not only do you need to refer to the new “points” you are given, but you still want to refer back to the points from the previous round. The second time around, the first writer got “the ghost of the most beautiful stripper ever”; the second writer then had to add in something about “the Vatican”, and finally, the third writer (me!) had to tie in an incense-allergy. It was a lot of fun, and the stories that came out were hilarious. But man, was I nervous! I’ve never had to sit up in front of a group of people and just write!

Come Ask the Author About Writing

I attended this session with Larry Hodges, from my writing group, and went mainly because Edmund Schubert was on the panel. It was as interesting to hear the questions that the audience asked as it was to hear the answers that the writers gave. It was another fun panel and one in which I managed to learn a thing or two.

10 Best Things To Do When Writing A Short Story

This was my last session of the day and the only one that was somewhat hard to follow. The speaker was the former editor of Weird Tales and he was rather disjointed. Couple that with the fact that by this time, I was so tired, I was beginning to hallucinate and you can imagine that I really didn’t get a whole lot out of it. What I do recall was that there was more of a focus on what you shouldn’t do when writing a short story than what you should do. And there was a rather lengthy discussion on why self-publishing was So Bad!

While I was at the convention, I purchased by first ever convention t-shirt.

Afterward, Larry and I went over to the Outback to meet Alana, also from our reading group, for dinner. Turns out the Outback didn’t open until 4 PM, so we headed over to California Pizza Kitchen and had dinner there. It was the first time I’d met Alana in person and in a way, it was kind of like a mini-group meeting, with about half of the group there. Our next real meeting, one I will be attending, and one at which a story of mine will be critiqued, is on June 10.

I drove home exhausted and in a blur and it is only through luck that I didn’t run my car off the road. But I did make it home safely and tumbled right into bed.

My Balticon schedule

I’ll be spending the day tomorrow (Memorial Day) at the last day of the Balticon convention. Based on the list of panels for tomorrow, here are the sessions that I plan to attend:

  • 10 AM: Reading by William Shunn (shunn)
  • 11 AM: Tony Ruggiero’s Quick-Write
  • 1 PM: Come Ask the Author About Writing
  • 2 PM: 10 best things to do when writing a short story

At 4 PM, I’m meeting up with some people from the writer’s group to which I belong. It will be the first time that I’ve met most of them in person.

To Santa Monica?

I found out that my team is going to probably be having a retreat the week of May 21 and that I will likely be flying out there, for at least a few days, to take part. (It’s not really a retreat in the sense of a bunch of us going off to a fancy site to be lectured to by guru-type people. Instead, we will be stuck in a conference room with one another for 2 days, isolated from the rest of the team, but able to focus on planning-related issues.)

It’s not 100% definite yet, but I should know by the end of the week. In any event, I’d have to fly back on Friday, May 25 in order to make it back DC in time to attend Balticon on Memorial Day weekend.

Stay tuned…

More conventions

I figure I need some way of keeping up the momentum and so there are a few more conventions that I will be attending over the course of the rest of the year. (Although I do so with some trepidation, worried that however good they are, they cannot possibly beat my experience at Ravencon.)

Next on the list is Balticon where I will be attending at least part of the convention. While there I am mainly looking forward to meeting shunn whose story “Two Paths in the Forest Toulemonde” I read in 1994 and in my opinion was one of the best stories ever published in SCIENCE FICTION AGE; and whose currently a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee for his excellent novella, “Inclination.”

I would have loved to attend the 2007 World Science Fiction Convention in Japan, but it comes too close on the heels of my return from Europe and I just can’t work it out. The conventions is in Denver in 2008 and while that doesn’t sound quite as exciting as Japan, I do plan to attend.

I would also have liked to attend Readercon 18 in Burlington, MA, for the sole purpose of being able to meet up with mabfan, whose terrific novella, “Sanctuary” also happens to be a current Nebula nominee. Alas, I will be in Europe when that convention takes place.

I will, however, be attending the 2007 World Fantasy Convention. I was urged to attend this convention by Edmund Schubert because there tend to be more pros there. Once I saw the list of attendees, I could not resist, but as added inducement, it is taking place in Saratoga, New York, which is a stones throw from where strausmouse lives, so I’ll get to see him, Ryane and little Damian too. That convention takes place November 1-4. Among some of the attendees that will be there are a few I’ve already met: Robert J. Sawyer and David B. Coe. In addition, there are several people who I have wanted to meet for a long time, but never have: Joe Haldeman, Ellen Datlow, John Joseph Adams, and Gordon Van Gelder, to name a few.

That will bring the total to 3 conventions in 2007. It also helps to give me further focus. I’d like to get a lot more writing done and stories submitted by then.


A bunch of people in pirate costumes just walked by. I’m not used to this. (Sitting outside in the sun right now.) My first “event” of the day begins in about half and hour and I’ll be doing stuff from about noon until about 5 PM or so, at which point I head home.

Incidentally, the weather is beautiful here in Richmond, with temperatures going up into the 80s. The temps are going to be in the high 70s all weekend at home, too, which means picture perfect weather for the Orioles game tomorrow.

At Ravencon!

There was no traffic heading down here and I made it to the hotel in just under 2 hours. There was no parking in the hotel lot so I parted in the airport “economy” lot just across the street. It’s a little strange–lots of people in costumes of various kinds; I am in jeans and a t-shirt, so I feel a little out of place. I’m sitting in the hotel restaurant having breakfast (because I didn’t have anything to eat this morning). I’ve already browsed books in the dealers room and bought a copy of Rob Sawyer’s Rollback.

Going to finish my breakfast now. More later…