Category Archives: Events
In a few hours, I will be boarding a plane. This plane will cross an ocean and land in one place, and then I will get on another plane which will cross a continent and land in…
That’s right, campers – I’m off to Worldcon! To distant Scandanavia! So close to Russia and yet so far from Japan!
(but seriously, I need to get that song out of my head. The Finns will think I’m insane.)
Hopefully I will see some of you there. If not, hopefully I’ll see somebody I know. If, by some lucky confluence of events, you will happen to be there and happen to also wish to see me/meet me/accost me, this is where you’ll be able to find me:
Panel #1: Any Sufficiently Immersive Fantasy is Indistinguishable from Science Fiction
Thursday 15:00 – 16:00, 216 (Messukeskus)
In Rhetorics of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn made the observation that “immersive fantasy is that which is closest to science fiction”. Might there be any corollary on the side of science fiction, and what rhetorical devices make a work feel more as fantasy or as science fiction? And can the method used in Rhetorics of Fantasy be used fruitfully on science fiction too?
Signing: Auston Habershaw
Friday 14:00 – 15:00, Signing area (Messukeskus)
Panel #2: It Can’t Happen Here
Saturday 18:00 – 19:00, 216 (Messukeskus)
It can’t happen here: Looking at the headlines these days, and many people seem to be thinking bad things can’t happen where they live, but then we get Brexit. President Trump. Turkey sliding into authoritarian theocracy. Russia annexing Crimea with the international community watching. What can history teach us about things that can happen, and how do we write SF that is not going to be dystopias after dystopias? Heinlein’s story, Logic of Empire ends with the line “Things are bound to get a lot worse before they can get any better.” Is this inevitable? What can we do about it, and how can SF offer hope for the future with our fictional worlds?
So, there it is – my schedule! I hope to meet new people and see new things and learn new stuff. I also hope my book signing isn’t an hour of me sitting alone at a table (grand ambitions, I know).
See you all on the other side!
Hey, gang! I’m going to be interviewed on the Steve Katsos Show tonight at 8pm EST. Short notice, I know, but very exciting! If you’ve ever wanted to hear me talk or watch me be a real, live person, tonight is your chance!
I’ll be talking about my books (current and upcoming), my journey as a writer, and other things of (hopefully) popular interest.
It should be a fun time! Tune in!
Hi there! Haven’t posted in a while. Did you think I was dead? Well, I was. As it’s Halloween, however, I have risen from my grave to tell you what I’ve been doing in the
Underworld Columbus, Ohio.
That’s right – just got back from the 2016 World Fantasy Convention! Great times were had and now, in brief and pithy statements, I shall explain such times to you.
First off, I have to say that, despite my little crack above, Columbus is a pretty nice little city. The food was good, the neighborhood around the hotel was really cool, and the weather was downright pleasant. As a highlight, I got to go to a burger place that served not just regular hamburgers, but also burgers made of turkey, duck, elk, wild boar, or bison. I had an elk-burger with bacon, pepper jack, and a variety of interesting mayonnaises and it was quite the flavor explosion. I could probably eat at that particular restaurant every day for a year and not get sick of it.
WFC is a convention of readers above all else. Nowhere is that more noticeable than in the book bag you get as a bonus for attending. Check out this spread:
Them’s a lot of books, folks. So many books, in fact, that after stuffing said haul into your suitcase by some feat of spatial gymnastics and raw strength, on the way into the airport on the trip home the TSA will yank that suitcase out of the X-Ray machine and hand examine it. The guy unzipped my suitcase, peered inside, and offered up a non-plussed “it’s…just a fine selection of books…”
Yes, TSA guy. Yes it is.
I went to see several panels over the course of the weekend and even sat on two myself (I’ll explain those two later). The panels and the highlights were basically as follows:
I Believe I Can Fly was a panel on the mystique of flight in fantasy fiction. I saw it because my friend, Dan Koboldt, was sitting on it and I knew he and I would be on a panel later together on a similar topic. I was worried I didn’t have a lot to say about flight, but it turned out that I totally did and I wound up talking a bit much during the panel itself even though I wasn’t on it (sorry, folks). One of the better comments came from Curtis Craddock (I think) who said that, as mammals who sleep on our backs and look at the stars, flight has always been important to us. Alan Smale was also on the panel, and his alternate history novel Clash of Eagles (where the Roman Empire has survived to the 13th century and invades North America) sounds cooler and cooler every time I hear him talk about it.
Trilogies? Small Stuff! This was possibly the best panel I saw. You got to watch Mercedes Lackey and Lee Modesitt argue over who has longer running series and more books altogether (the answer is Lackey, by a country mile as it turns out), got to listen to David Drake and Sharon Shinn and Kay Kenyon talk about how to keep from getting burned out (a lot of them switch protagonists or POV as the series develops) and all of them talked about the size of a story you were planning to tell. Quote of the panel was probably from Lackey: “My muse is my mortgage.”
L.E. Modesitt Jr. Guest of Honor Speech Listened to Lee Modesitt talk about how he wound up being an author (basically spending a lot of his life working in jobs he was poorly suited to), how he writes (2.5 mile walk in the morning, then breakfast, then writing from mid-morning until 7 or 10pm, with breaks to shop, eat, etc.), and how he wound up writing fantasy (he found himself as a junior author on a panel as the only scifi writer among fantasy authors. When asked “what do you think about modern fantasy authors’ takes on economics and politics his flustered response was “they don’t seem to know anything about either one of them!”).
Sword and Sorcery Today: Still Slashing Away featured moderator Scott Andrews (of Beneath Ceaseless Skies) trying in vain to get panelists Mercedes Lackey, David Drake, SM Stirling, and James Moore to talk about contemporary sword and sorcery but instead they mostly argued about what it was and whether they wrote in the genre or not and why it mattered.
How Does Who We Are Affect What We Read was an interesting one featuring Robert J Sawyer, David Coe, and others wrestling with the interaction between reader and text and, more importantly, to what extent can we or should we learn from past writers who held reprehensible beliefs by today’s standards (HP Lovecraft, for instance). I found the discussion really interesting and the panelists got very contentious at times, which itself was instructive. No clear answers were arrived upon, as expected.
Old Stories, New Twists talked extensively about re-tellings and fairy tales – a topic that I’m professionally interested in as a professor, even if I haven’t done that myself. The panelists explored how you get into your head to retell something (the stuff that annoys you about the classic tale and exploring that further) and what new you can bring to old texts. There was also a shout-out to the fact that Belle’s behavior in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is textbook battered wife syndrome, which is something I’ve discussed at length before on this very blog.
The Mass Book Signing!
On Friday night, all authors who were on panels or otherwise part of the convention gathered in the ballroom to meet and chat with fans and sign any books of theirs that happened to be present. To my mild surprise, I had a name tag and everything and was entitled to a seat at the table with everybody else!
Now, I had but one copy of my novel and none were for sale in the dealer’s room, so I figured I wouldn’t be doing much signing. I parked myself next to Sarah Beth Durst (read The Queen of Blood, by the way – it’s great!), who I expected was going to get a lot of traffic (she did!) and maybe, just maybe some of those folks, while waiting in line, would talk to me. It worked pretty well, actually, and I maybe convinced 4-5 people to buy my book.
Then, to my complete surprise, two people (separately, without coordination) came up and asked me to sign my short story “Lord of the Cul-de-Sac” in May 2016 issue of Galaxy’s Edge. So I did get to sign stuff, after all – cool! Of course, next year I need to remember to bring actual books or see that they’re stocked in the dealer’s room, at least.
I got to sit on two separate panels, both of which were a blast.
An Aviary of Beasties was a panel all about flying critters in fantasy and what kinds were at our disposal and what to do with them and so on. It was me, Dan Koboldt, EJ Stevens, Rajan Khanna, and Susan Shell Winston as moderator. I mostly talked about the difficulty of owning or training flying mounts in a fantasy world (what do you feed them? How do you train them? What do you use them for? How expensive are they?) and a fair amount about the evolutionary role such creatures should or ought to play in your environment. EJ Stevens talked a lot about the role of various fey creatures in her own novels and some discussion was had about the dichotomy between the really big flying things (Dragons, the Roc) and the really little ones (Pixies, sprites, etc.). Dan talked a bit about the meeting of high-tech drones and dragons in his work, and Rajan discussed how his post-apocalyptic airship setting had to do a lot with how flight was an escape – freedom, essentially. Me, being the party pooper of a modernist that I am, talked about how that could also be taken as a myth – how conflict can develop from wishing you were free and then finding that you aren’t.
The second panel, and the last panel of the convention, was Atheist Fantasy: Is God Dead? This one was a real treat, with me getting to share the table with Max Gladstone, Lee Modesitt, Larry Hodges, Kevin Maroney, and Jeff Minerd. This, as you can imagine, was a really heady one. We discussed the origins and purposes of religions and how such things were (or were not) distinct from belief in or the existence of a deity figure. I offered the question of whether or not you could have supernatural, super-powerful beings and not have gods (isn’t a god just a supernatural being with a fan club?) and where the line was drawn. Max, of course, was all over the topic (and if you’ve read the Craft Sequence, you know why. If you haven’t, do so!) and Lee Modesitt was an able and provocative moderator. He left as soon as it was over, though, so I didn’t get a chance to ask him to sign my copy of The Magic of Recluse. Alas.
Much of the purpose of these conventions is to meet people – fans, other writers, editors, agents, etc.. In that regard, this convention was a great success – much better than last year, where I knew no one and nothing. In addition to catching up a bit with Sarah Beth Durst, I met fellow Harper authors Kelley Grant-Kelley, Dan Koboldt, and Laura Bickle. I saw CC Finlay and met Gordon VanGelder (both of whom are the nicest people!). I went out to dinner with a whole lot of authors and editors, had lunch with aspiring authors and fans alike, chatted with people about Neal Stephenson and The Grapes of Wrath and Black Mirror and on and on and on. It was fantastic, and I’m excited to go again next year in lovely San Antonio.
That’s about it about that. I’ll be back to my regular posting habits soon, I’m sure. Just as soon as I beat back this encroaching con-crud. Ugh…
Has to be a downside somewhere, right?
This Friday (10/7/16) from 12pm-2pm EST, I will be taking over the Twitter feed of local bookstore, On the Dot Books. Thus will my dominance of all local bookchains be assured, as they will quake in terror of my wrath ever after.
By which I mean I hope to have a lovely conversation with all of you wonderful people out there on Twitter regarding my books (read The Saga of the Redeemed!), writing, scifi/fantasy, and whatever you like. Ask questions, trade pithy jabs, and even be exposed to my vast store of stock photography and memes. It should hopefully be a lot of fun and serve to promote not only myself but also a great independent bookstore here in Boston.
So, this Friday, stop by during your lunch-break to pick my brain on Twitter at @onthedotbooks – great fun will be had!
Hi! Did you know I have a book signing this coming Thursday, September 8th? No?
Well, I do! Come to Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA for me to sign copies of No Good Deed and even, perhaps, do a little reading! I’ll be there from 7pm to 9pm. It’s free!
And…and I also desperately want this thing to be at least a modest success so the guys and gals over at Pandemonium continue to like me and the book sells and I’m not sitting there at a table, all alone, while people shuffle past me to buy Magic: The Gathering cards and try not to make eye contact with me because oh GOD would that be awkward.
I’ve done 3 book signings in my career thus far. Two have been successful (yay!), and one has involved me sitting alone behind the Nook displays at a Barnes and Noble mostly by myself, save for a handful of friends and that one guy who talked to me for a good hour and then didn’t buy the book.
So, in brainstorming over how I can improve my chances, I’ve come up with a variety of things that I probably shouldn’t try. Here they are:
- Anyone who enters the store between the designated hours is trapped inside of a labyrinth (complete with minotaur) that they have exactly two hours to escape and win fabulous prizes. The only way to avoid being devoured by the minotaur is to BUY MY BOOK.
- I shall impose a geas on all in attendance. They must either buy my book and recommend it to friends or turn into an attractive topiary garden-version of themselves until I get 50 reviews on Amazon.
- I will bring cookies. The cookies will contain a slow-acting poison. On one of the pages of my book will be the antidote. Or maybe there isn’t any poison. Maybe I’m making that up. Maybe.
Anyone who refuses to buy the book will have to face Trial By Combat. My champion is Ibtihaj Muhammad.
- Two words: Mind Control.
- I grow much more hair, make it more curly, and then wrap my book up in the dust jackets of Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind. Then we see how long it takes people to catch on.
- I summon up Lucifer and we negotiate (through my agent) for a distribution deal in which every bookstore I sign in has a line of the damned stretching out the door. You know, to drum up a whisper campaign.
I do the whisper campaign Kermit the Frog tries in Muppets Take Manhattan, but instead of in Sardi’s, I do it at every PokeStop in the northeast, and instead of Rizzo and his friends, I use white guys in clever T-shirts and cargo shorts.
- I coax the Kaiju to attack Boston. There is only one Jaeger pilot left, and he is holding stick-fighting auditions in the basement of Pandemonium. It’s the perfect plan.
- Rather than sit there at the table like a chump, I stalk through the book stacks, stealthily slipping signed copies of my book into everybody’s purse, bag, back pocket, or waistband. I whistle the Pink Panther Theme the entire time.
- I slip flyers under the windshield wipers of every car in a mile radius. Written in a hasty scrawl are the words “No Killer Clowns in Pandemonium.” The genius of this, of course, is that it is literally true.
- My cthonic spawn lay their insidious eggs in the water supply of the Boston area. Soon they will hatch, and all will be my slaves. I will use my newfound power to have them buy my book and then force them to use public toilets and outhouses responsibly and cleanly for the rest of their natural lives.
Alas, due to budgetary concerns, I have foregone all of these brilliant strategies. Instead, I merely ask you to show up, bring friends, and give a new(-ish) author a chance.
See you next Thursday!
…which is the song I’m going to be humming in my head the whole time I’m at WorldCon later on this week (I’ll be getting in about midday on Thursday). As I have never been there, I cannot vouch for the sanity of their women nor am I going for the express purpose of acquiring one. I am going because I plan to meet with a bunch of friends, possibly run into my editor (or agent), and basically take it all in. As I didn’t get my act together this year to put in for a panel (mostly because I didn’t think I’d rate one), I am not there in any official capacity. You’ll be able to find me sitting by myself in the back of various rooms, standing alone in corners, and maybe even awkwardly trying to insert myself into conversations with writers I admire and then completely and utterly embarrassing myself so that I will never look at nor speak to that person again.
So, you know, my typical convention experience.
I have high hopes this time around, anyway, that this will be more fun than I typically have at these things. You see, now I know people (well, virtually) who I will be able to link up with and whom, possibly, might not object to my presence or company. That’s the goal, anyway.
In the meantime, I am editing a novel (which is currently a torturous, miserable train wreck of a book), getting ready for the arrival of the fall semester (sigh – why does summer have to end?), and planning for my Book Signing and Reading at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA.
I’ll be there between 7pm and 9pm on Thursday, September 8th. If you’re in the area, come on down, hang out, get a book signed, and check out the Boston area’s best scifi/fantasy book and game store.
Anyway, gotta run–I’ve got to bash my head against this intractable manuscript a bit more. I’ll be back next week with a full recap of the magic of WorldCon!
Hey, folks! Some publicity news, some No Good Deed stuff, etc, today. Check it out:
Read the Prologue to NO GOOD DEED!
It’s up on the Harper Voyager Facebook Page, so go there to read it RIGHT NOW! Yes, NOW! Put down the bagel sandwich, man, and read!
I’m going to be on Grim Tidings Podcast!
I’m recording a podcast with Grim Tidings this coming Saturday morning, so look for it soon! It’s a top-flight interview podcast with really, really awesome guests, hosted by the ever-personable Rob Matheny! I’ve very excited to have been invited and it ought to be just spectacular. If you haven’t listened to any of their other interviews, do so!
Reading/World-building Discussion on June 30th!
If you happen to live in or near the Boston area, I’ll be doing a reading of NO GOOD DEED and hosting a talk on world-building in science fiction and fantasy at the Hingham Public Library on Thursday, June 30th, from 7:oo-8:30pm. I’m going to read a brief excerpt from the book and talk about how worlds can be built, made real, and sustained throughout a novel or series of novels (or movie or television series, for that matter). It’s free, so come on down!
Pre-order the Book!
NO GOOD DEED is available for pre-order now! Also, if you’re new to the series, check out The Oldest Trick, which chronicles the beginnings of Tyvian Reldamar’s journey. It’s James Bond meets a high-magic Westeros in an adventure reviewers have called “a romp in the style of Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss.” For a mere four bucks, you can’t go wrong!
Talk to you all soon – I got a lot of blog-posts to write for my publicity tour. Thanks for all your support!
Quick post today – getting to the end of the semester, and free time is dreadfully rare.
This weekend in my fair city of Boston, PAX East is coming to town! Now, time was I would attend each year to throw down in a 40K tournament, but lately passes have been harder to acquire and I’ve been more and more busy, so I won’t be there in the flesh. I will however, be there in spirit. And also in the form of my book, for free, for you.
Regardless of whether you can make it to PAX, too!
So, click on THIS LINK to give you hours and hours of fantasy and science fiction stimulation while you stand in line in the good ol’ BCEC!
In addition to my book, The Oldest Trick, by me, a local author, there are also a ton of different titles bound to tickle at least one of your fancies, if not all of them at once. Chuck Wendig! Lexie Dunne! Dan Koboldt! Elizabeth Bonesteel! Nathan Garrison! Laura Bickle! I could go on, but you get the idea!
Go go go!
Did I mention FREE?
Haven’t read my debut fantasy novel yet? Well, you’re in luck: both halves of the novel (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood) are now available in a single omnibus edition (i.e. “the complete novel I intended”) called by its original title, THE OLDEST TRICK. And there is even better news! The e-book version is currently on sale for a mere $1.99! That’s right – for about the cost of a Gatorade from a gym vending machine, you can get the novel reviewers have been calling “a romp in the style of Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss” and “an amalgamation of anime, grimdark, and the top tier of contemporary epic fantasy. ”
So, go and do it now! The sale won’t last forever, and the sooner you get it, the sooner you will be ready for the next installment, NO GOOD DEED, which is scheduled for release on June 21st!
Speaking of which…
No Good Deed‘s final draft was accepted by my editor on Friday, which means all that’s left is the copy edit and then the thing is off to the presses (errr…or digital formaters. Or whoever handles e-books – it’s an e-book initial release). You can pre-order it now on Amazon, and you’ll be hearing an awful lot about it here over the coming two or three months. Stay tuned for promotions of various stripes, once I figure out what the hell those might be.
Oh and by the way…
This is my final year of eligibility for the John W Campbell Award, which is given to new writers in the field of science fiction and fantasy. After two years you are no longer eligible, so if you think I’m great, now is your last chance to act (nominations for the Campbell end at the end of March, BTW). I have a couple things eligible. My novel (see above) and a couple short stories. One you can read for free right here on Escape Pod. I’m fairly proud of it and it has even received a pretty glowing review from SF Bluestocking which I shall excerpt for you here:
“Adaptation and Predation” is an excellent piece of world building, something that is often lacking in short fiction but which Auston Habershaw accomplishes here with panache. His cast of alien species is wonderfully imagined and described, and this short exploration of life in their highly stratified society is simply riveting.
High praise, yes? I think so – I’m very pleased at the review and, should you find it in your heart, feel free to nominate it (and me) for whatever you feel it deserves.
Okay, so there you have it – horn tooting over. I’ll be back later in the week with something more substantive for you folks to read.
Thanks, and talk to you soon!
So, the SFWA has begun a really cool little feature I’d like to draw attention to: the SFWA Speakers Bureau!
This is a handy-dandy site for schools, libraries, writing groups, book clubs, and the like to find an SFWA active member near them and get them to come over and give a little presentation, talk, workshop, or whatever. You can see my profile right there if you follow the link, but there are scads and scads of other brilliant folks available, probably somewhere near your neck of the woods.
Just to plug myself a little bit: I am an accomplished Sayer of Things. As a college professor, I profess each and every day, whether anyone wants to listen or not. I have absolutely no sense of stage fright or shame and find speaking in public delightful. Especially if it’s about myself or books or, even better, my own books. I spent years as a professional improviser, so it’s almost impossible to embarrass me, throw me off, or pay me too little money. Get in contact today! I promise you won’t regret it!
In all seriousness, though, I’m very happy the SFWA has set this up. It’s a great resource both for those who take advantage of it and for those doing it, as getting attention in the writer business is a great challenge and getting the chance to talk with and connect to potential readers is invaluable.
Anyway, back to paper grading! Carry on!