The Unified Doyle and Macdonald Boskone Sked

DOYLE

Worldbuilding Within Epic Fantasy at the Dawn of a Modern Age
Format: Panel

14 Feb 2020, Friday 17:00 – 17:50, Marina 1 (Westin)

Fantasy is real, but so is scientific discovery. When an epic fantasy is set during the transition from a rural society to an emerging, world-transforming industrial age, how does the setting help define the parameters of the story? How does it affect the creation of characters? Is a Victorian-Era feeling inevitable? What other examples can be used as models? When magic is at play, how might it alter the evolution of an industrial revolution?

Reading: Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
Format: Reading

14 Feb 2020, Friday 20:00 – 20:25, Griffin (Westin)

The Future of Libraries
Format: Panel

15 Feb 2020, Saturday 10:00 – 10:50, Marina 4 (Westin)

The card catalog is already kaput. How long can stacks, carrels, and tome-laden tables last? How soon till the world’s One Big Library is seamlessly interconnected with everybody’s local, a collaborative sharing space with digital pipes to every seat and a helpful robotic assistant “manning” the “desk”? Any room left for the most systematically refined information storage technology of all: the book?

MACDONALD

Reading: Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
Format: Reading

14 Feb 2020, Friday 20:00 – 20:25, Griffin (Westin)
Editing from Agent, to Editor, to Publisher
Format: Panel

15 Feb 2020, Saturday 14:00 – 14:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Writing is only half the work when crafting a story, novel, or article. Once the words are on the page, what happens next? Our panel discusses the review, revision, rewriting, and more needed at each stage of the process before the finished piece lands in the hands of a reader.

Seeing Through the Tech Hype
Format: Panel

15 Feb 2020, Saturday 16:00 – 16:50, Marina 3 (Westin)

With so many new innovations and discoveries, it’s easy to get carried away by the possibilities of what a shiny new technology can actually accomplish. What questions should you ask to see through the tech hype surrounding everything from driverless cars, gene editing, and artificial intelligence to VR gaming and 3-D printing? What’s really possible? How do fiction and entertainment media affect the writing, publication, and understanding of actual scientific and technological advances?

More Magic!
Format: Children – DragonsLair

16 Feb 2020, Sunday 11:00 – 11:50, Galleria – Dragonslair (Westin)

Jim Macdonald does stage magic.

When Is Death?
Format: Panel

16 Feb 2020, Sunday 14:00 – 14:50, Burroughs (Westin)

Death is as intrinsic to the human experience as life, but what does death really mean in fiction … or in reality? Do we pass on to another existence? Will we be written back into the sequel? Will we be uploaded into a quantum network to exist as long as the hardware doesn’t fail? How has our imagination affected our understanding of death over time?

No Kidding, It Was Cold Last Night.

The overnight low in our back yard was -27°F (that’s -32.8° Celsius, for those of you in metric climes.)

It was so cold in our kitchen that the water in our teakettle froze.

So cold, that taking the trash to the dump sounded like a good idea because it meant we could drive around in a well-heated Subaru Forester for a while. (If you live in a cold and snowy country, try to buy cars made in cold and snowy countries. The people who make them Understand.†)

Tonight’s supposed to be warmer, with a low of around 17 above. Which doesn’t sound warm, I suppose, until you realize that it’s about 44 degrees warmer than last night.


According to Google, the temperature in Hokkaido right now is 16°F, which is four degrees colder than I am.

On the Variability of Symbols

It’s always dangerous to assume that the meaning another person attaches to a word or a picture or a gesture is the same one that you do.

Consider, for example, the hand sign made by folding down the middle two fingers of one hand while leaving the index finger and little finger extended. Depending on who and where you are, this can mean, variously:

  • I worship Satan.
  • I like heavy metal rock music.
  • Your spouse is cheating on you, ha ha!
  • Bad luck, go away!
  • I am from Texas and am a big fan of the University of Texas Longhorns football team. Shorter version: “Hook ’em, Horns!”

With regard to the last one, there was much confused commentary (outside of Texas, anyhow) about the well-attended and televised funeral service of proud and much-loved Texan Lady Bird Johnson, where the choir and congregation sang the UT fight song “The Eyes of Texas” at the conclusion of the service, accompanied, as is traditional, by the “Hook ’em, Horns!” gesture. Yes, even on the part of the officiating clergy.

Tri-State Magic Auction

Madhouse Manor

tri-state magic auction Maine/New Hampshire/Massachusetts Auction

ANNUAL MAGIC AUCTION

Sunday, April 19, 2020

BJ Hickman, MC and Auctioneer

LOCATION-The Chill Function Hall

580 US Highway 1 Bypass, Portsmouth, NH

It’s in the back of The Roundabout Restaurant and next door to the Holiday Inn

Time: Sellers Set Up8:30 am

Auction Viewing9:00 am

Auction9:30-4:00

Lunch Break1:00

Admission$7.00

To be a Seller – Contact Mike Aranda, Auction Chair(jediwakko@msn.com) to let him know that you wish to sell. Sellers will be placed in the order that you contact Mike.

Questions:Contact Mike or Nancy Frankel (corkysmagic@gmail.com)

NOTE: Everyone read the fine print please:

PARKING: The entrance to THE CHILL is at the right of the building. Sunday morning is a very busy time for the restaurant. Sellers may unload at The Chill entrance but there is NO PARKING in front of the restaurant. Everyone must park…

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Dammit, CNN

How am I supposed to respect you as a news source if you can’t even get your grammar right?

From this article:

TV and film adaptations of dystopian literature has dominated recent popular culture, from Suzanne Collins’ ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy, to Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, to the upcoming HBO version of Emily St. John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven.’ Each is set in a future society that has devolved into a worse-case-scenario. In utopian fiction, on the other hand, the writer creates a world based on a set of ideals and values they deem important. Both utopian and dystopian fiction matters, as each can be used as a tool to prompt change by pointing out how things could go right — or wrong — in a society.

Do I really need to point out that it should be “TV and film adaptations have dominated” and “Both utopian and dystopian fiction matter“? A plural subject (“Both A and B” is a plural subject) takes a plural, not a singular, verb.

For heaven’s sake, people. If your content providers or whatever you’re calling copywriters these days don’t actually have the grammatical chops to get something that basic right on their own, at least train them to run a grammar-checker over the text before they hit SEND.

Three More Days

A friendly reminder that my Seasonal Sale ends at midnight on 5 January 2020.

(That’ll be midnight-where-ever-you-are, rather than midnight-where-I-am, just to keep things simple.  I’m certainly not going to slam the door on somebody just because they don’t live in the same time zone as I do.)

Treat yourself, or treat a friend; prepaid services can be claimed at any convenient (for you) future time.

Somebody Else’s Train Wreck

As a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (a famously contentious organization that once took six months of vicious internal debate and a nonbinding poll of the membership to decide how to abbreviate its own name†), I’m watching the current explosions over at Romance Writers of America with a connoisseur’s eye.

The thing that boggles me is that the so-called “ethics complaint” that their ethics committee (or maybe — it’s confusing — not the official ethics committee, but some sort of double-secret private ethics committee) brought against Courtney Milan boiled down to “Courtney Milan made mean comments in public about another member’s book.” To which all I can say is, if that were an ethics-complainable offense in SFWA, there wouldn’t be more that three or four of us who weren’t thrown out of the club for it.

Back in the pre-Web days, when the romance writers and the sf/fantasy writers were first meeting up with each other on GEnie and other online fora, there were some real first-contact cultural clashes that went on, a lot of them over the way that the sf/fantasy people were “rude and mean” and the romance people were “too sweet to be real.” Things calmed down after a while, and everyone got used to the idea that “fuck you” in one forum could be the equivalent of a friendly punch on the shoulder, and “bless your heart” in another forum could be the equivalent of a shiv between the ribs, and everybody got together behind the idea that writers deserved royalties and certain publishing houses were scum.

But I think now we’re seeing, among other things, the failure mode of the Culture of Nice: The ride may be smoother than you get with the Culture of Contention, but when the wheels come off they fly in all directions.


SFWA. Per  eventual official decree, the actual acronym is SFFWA — with the second F superimposed upon the first. It also says a lot about SFWA that the membership accepted this as a perfectly logical compromise.

Welcome Back to the Sun!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it, and to all of you who don’t, may you have the happiest possible midwinter (or midsummer, if you’re in the other hemisphere) holiday of your choice!

(And if you don’t do holidays, have a pleasant non-holiday doing what you will!)

Also — it’s not too late to take advantage of my seasonal editorial sale, which runs through Twelfth Night (5 January 2020.)

 

It’s That Time of Year Again

Xmas Promo

Maybe you’ve finished up your NaNoWriMo novel and want to give it a thorough revision and polishing-up now that the first draft’s done. Maybe you’ve got a finished novel that you want to take to the next level before sending it out on the next stage of its life journey. Or maybe you’ve got a friend or a relative who has written, or is writing, or hopes to write a book, and you’re looking for a Christmas present that will help them make their dream a reality.

It’s for people like them — and you — that I’m running my annual holiday special, where from now through Twelfth Night (5 January 2020) my usual rate for a standard-sized novel goes down from $1500 to $1000, and my rate for doorstop-sized novels of 120,000-plus words goes down from $2K to $1500.

As usual, the gift of editorial services (no matter whether you’re giving it to yourself or to a friend) can be purchased now at the seasonal gift rate and redeemed at whatever later date is convenient to the recipient.

Details of payment, format, and so forth can be found here.