Tag Archives: cool

My 2016 Ad Astra Schedule

adastra

My annual local convention, the wonderful Ad Astra, happens this weekend. It’s their 35th anniversary this year, and I realized the first time I attended was their 25th anniversary which means…I’m old.

Anyway, here’s my schedule. I’m only able to attend on Saturday but I’m on what should be some pretty cool panels. Frankly, I’m a bit intimidated by some of the other panelists. Not sure how I’ll sound like I know what I’m talking about. Fake it till you make it, I guess?

Wish me luck!

– S.

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The Decision to Self-Publish

April 30, 2016, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Hall: Richmond A Track: Self Publishing 101

It’s a basic question that all authors are faced with: do you seek out traditional publishing opportunities or do you dive into the world of self-publishing with the hopes of greater ownership and control over your own name and work. In this panel, hear several authors talk about their decision to self-publish or not and the things that they considered prior to making that decision.

Speakers:
A.A. Jankiewicz, Jennifer Jaquith, Marcy Italiano, Robert Boyczuk, Stephen Kotowych
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Modern Anxieties and Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes

April 30, 2016, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Hall: Markham A Track: Storytelling and Literature

Zombies. Outbreaks. Warfare. Environmental cataclysm. Sometimes all of the above. In recent years, post-apocalypses have become all the rage. But why? Why are we so interested as a culture in exploring the end of Western civilization in the 21st century? How do the post-apocalypses we create reflect real fears and anxieties in our own time? In this panel, we’ll explore the link between post-apocalyptic fiction and worlds and modern events.

Speakers:
Alyx Dellamonica, Catherine Asaro, Naomi Foyle, Peter Watts, Stephen Kotowych
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Crafting a Believable Alternate History

April 30, 2016, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Hall: Richmond B Track: Storytelling and Literature

Some authors borrow from history, others outright reimagine it, rewriting historical figures and scenarios in unexpected ways. Are there certain considerations to take when reimagining recent history over ancient history? What are some of the challenges of working with historical events with which the reader may (or may not) be familiar?

Speakers:
Charlotte Ashley, Dominik Parisien, Jack Whyte, Kate Story, Stephen Kotowych

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“Super Frenemies” Nominated for Aurora Award!

I’m thrilled to announce (after an agonizing two week embargo!) that my story “Super Frenemies” is nominated for this year’s Aurora Award in the Best English Short Fiction category. This is my second Aurora Award nomination: my story “Saturn in G Minor” was nominated in 2008.

AuroraWinner+NomineeLogos_2"“Super Frenemies” looks at a group of children who develop super powers as the result of a pandemic, and how schoolyard politics and power dynamics would play out if suddenly the bullied kids had the (super)power over the bully who tormented them for years. It was originally published in Caped: An Anthology of Superhero Tales (Local Hero Press, 2015).

I really love this story, and I’m so pleased that others did, too, and saw fit to nominate it for an Aurora. It was partly inspired by an idea from Harry Connolly, and partly from my three-year-old son’s growing love of superheroes. Though I’d been reading comics my whole life, it wasn’t until he started wanting to watch Superman and Batman cartoons that I truly realized how important violence is to superheroes, even the good guys…

The full list of the 2016 nominees can be found here. Congratulations to all the nominees! Looks like a fantastic ballot again this year.

A reading package of the nominated works (including “Super Frenemies”) will be available shortly, and voting will begin June 15. More details closer to those dates. The Aurora Awards will be presented during When Words Collide / Canvention 36 on the weekend of August 12-14, 2016 in Calgary.

– S.

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Why You’ll Never Look at Little Red Riding Hood the Same Way Again

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Okay, so this is COOL. Using techniques developed for the study of evolutionary biology, scientists have traced certain folk stories back to the Bronze Age.

Stories, in their telling and retelling, accumulate changes in plot, characters, and settings. In fact, they behave a lot like living organisms, which build up mutations in the genes that they pass to successive generations. And now scientists can reconstruct the relationships between versions of a story using the same tools that evolutionary biologists use to study the change over time in species. They can compare different versions of the same tale and draw family trees–phylogenies–that unite them. They can even reconstruct the last common ancestor of a group of stories.

Little Red Riding Hood, for example, can be traced back to a single origin, 2,000 years ago, somewhere between Europe and the Middle East. Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin were first written down in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively, but they are actually between 2,500 and 6,000 years old.

How cool is that!?!

Much more here. And here, too. Well worth the read!

– S.

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“Saturn in G Minor” Wins 2015 Ictineu Award

I’m very pleased to announce that my story “Saturn in G Minor” has won a 2015 Ictineu Award! What a great way to start the new year.

These awards are given to the best science fiction, fantasy and horror works of fiction published in Catalan during the previous year. “Saturn in G Minor” won for best short fiction translated into Catalan. It appeared in the Catalan-language magazine Catarsi (#15) in November 2014.

catarsi-cover

My thanks to the editors of Catarsi for taking the story for translation, and special thanks to Clara Boia, the story’s translator–who obviously did a great job!

I confess this comes as a complete shock, as I didn’t know I was even eligible for an award! I gather the award is judged 50% by popular vote and 50% by jury; a really interesting way to award such a prize, and it’s nice to know the story can appeal to both sorts of audiences.

I can’t seem to find a list of all the past winners in English, but I found this one in Catalan. Happily, Google will translate for you! Looks like George RR Martin, Haruki Murakami, Orson Scott Card, Mike Resnick, and Cat Rambo have all won this award, so I figure that’s pretty great company to be in!

An award is on its way in the mail, I’m told. I’ll post photos of it when it arrives.

– S.

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A Library’s Quest to Save the History of Fandom

(Laura Hampton / University of Iowa)

Okay–this is cool.

The University of Iowa library’s special collections house almost a century of fandom history: everything from 1920s “dime novel” reviews to T-shirts that were auctioned off in protest of the 2002 Farscape cancellation. In 2012, though, it acquired one of the most valuable resources yet: the library of James “Rusty” Hevelin, a lifelong science fiction superfan and prolific collector of books and fanzines dating back to the 1930s. Last year, the Hevelin Collection was chosen as the first target of the university’s Fan Culture Preservation Project, a massive effort to digitize some of the most vulnerable and ephemeral pieces of science fiction history.

The vast majority of the images will stay offline, but an accompanying Tumblr has given outsiders a peek into the roughly 10,000 zines that Hevelin donated — and into the communities that helped create science fiction as we know it, from fandom clashes to fan fiction.

Sounds like an incredible resource for scholars of 20th Century popular culture. Great to hear this stuff is being preserved. Read the full article here.

– S.

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