Archive for the 'News' Category

Jun 29 2015

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Readercon 2015 Schedule

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Friday July 11

12:00 PM    F    Writing in the Anthropocene: SF and the Challenge of Climate Change. Gwendolyn Clare, Michael J. Daley, Michael J. Deluca (leader), Max Gladstone, Vandana Singh. Science fiction and fantasy have often dealt with fictional apocalyptic scenarios, but what about the real-world scenario unfolding right now? Climate change, or climate disruption, is the most challenging problem faced by humankind, and some have called it a problem of the imagination, as much as economics and environment. In the wake of the latest scientific reports on what is happening and what might be in store for us, we’ll examine how imaginative fiction conveys the reality, the immediacy, and the alternative scenarios of the climate problem.

4:00 PM    EM    LCRW. Christopher Brown, Michael J. Deluca, Eric Gregory, Deborah McCutchen, Alena McNamara. Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet Group Reading

6:00 PM    ENL    Solarpunk and Eco-Futurism. Michael J. Daley, Michael J. Deluca, Jeff Hecht, Rob Kilhefer, Romie Stott (leader). In August 2014, Miss Olivia Louise wrote a Tumblr post proposing the creation of a new subgenre: solarpunk. Solarpunk, sometimes called eco-futurism, would be set in a semi-utopian future visually influenced by Art Nouveau and Hayao Miyazaki, and built according to principles of new urbanism and environmental sustainability—an “earthy” handmade version of futuretech, in opposition to the slick, white, spacebound surfaces of 1980s futurism. Solarpunk blogs have since proliferated, as Tumblr users like SunAndSilicon create and aggregate concept art and brainstorm solarpunk’s technological and societal shifts, enthusiastically building a shared-world fandom with no single owner or defining central text. For some, building solarpunk is an escapist fantasy. Meanwhile, in San Francisco there have been meatspace conventions to develop some kind of manifesto, with the hope of eventually moving realworld society in a solarpunk direction. What, if any, are the precursors to this kind of grassroots genre creation? Is it an inevitable outgrowth of fan-funded niche publishing through crowdfunding? Is solarpunk’s locavore pro-tech optimism in the face of climate change a distinctly Millenial backlash to Gen-X dystopias? And can the inevitable contradictions of a crowdsourced utopia survive the rigors of critical reading?

Saturday July 12

10:00 AM    ENV    Reading: Michael J. Deluca. Michael J. Deluca. Michael J. Deluca reads A short story, 2900 words, forthcoming in Mythic Delirium.

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Jul 02 2013

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Readercon Jitters

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Behold, my schedule for this year’s Readercon, which is next week.

Friday July 12

12:00 PM    G    Writing Others I: Theory. Michael J. DeLuca, Andrea Hairston, Rose Lemberg, Maureen F. McHugh, Daniel José Older, Joan Slonczewski (leader), Sabrina Vourvoulias. Authors who want to write outside their own experiences of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and sexuality face a multitude of challenges. How do we present each character’s unique perspective while celebrating their distinctive identity and avoiding stereotypes and appropriation? How is the research and writing process affected by differences between the author’s and the character’s levels of societal privilege? Is it possible to write about future diversity without oppression, or does today’s reality require us to write in today’s frame? Which authors have handled this well, and what form does “handling this well” take?

Proposed by Joan Slonczewski and Michael J. DeLuca.

1:00 PM    G    Writing Others II: Practice. Michael J. DeLuca, Rose Lemberg, Daniel José Older, Joan Slonczewski, Sarah Smith. This practical discussion, led by Joan Slonczewski and Michael J. DeLuca, is for writers who have read Writing the Other, or otherwise carefully studied the pitfalls of cultural appropriation, and decided to take the plunge of writing about people whose experiences differ significantly from the author’s. How does one go about acquiring sufficient understanding of another culture, gender, or sexuality to write about it respectfully, productively, and effectively? We’ll discuss research techniques and writing methods used by successful writers of the other, as well as problems and solutions we’ve encountered in our own work. Attending “Writing Others I: Theory” is recommended.

Saturday July 13

10:00 AM    VT    Reading Michael J. DeLuca reads “Remorse and the Pariah,” a mini-epic poem published in Abyss & Apex.

Sunday July 14

10:00 AM    G    Digital Marginalia: A Conversation with Your Future Self. Neil Clarke, Michael J. DeLuca, David G. Shaw (moderator), Ruth Sternglantz, Gayle Surrette. Electronic reading devices allow us to carry huge libraries wherever we go. They also provide us with the ability to highlight, annotate, and share what we read. In a 2012 blog post, Clive Thompson described this enhanced reading experience as “a conversation with the author, with yourself, and in a weird way, if you take it along as a lifelong project… a conversation with your future self.” According to Craig Mod, “The book of the past reveals its individual experience uniquely. The book of the future reveals our collective experience uniquely.” What tools will we embed within digital texts to signal this shifting relationship with literature, and how will readers use them?

I’m the token white guy on those Writing Others panels. This comes as no surprise—it was partly my idea—but that doesn’t make me any less nervous. I have only the shallowest command of the theory, have not read nearly as widely as I should (though struggling to correct that as we speak) and have participated not at all in the great debate. Believe me, I will be showing up prepared, with copious notes and humility. Not that it will do any good. You know what might do some good? A friendly face or two in the crowd. So please come. Because it’s an important topic, getting more important pretty much in real time. Because it’s something we all need to know. And because I have put myself in the unenviable position of really, really needing it in order to keep writing what I want to write.

Nerves aside, I’m sure it’s going to be a great weekend with people I love dearly and don’t get to see enough.

Come to my reading too!

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Mar 14 2013

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Stuff (Fiction) I Have Coming Out in 2013 (in Theory)

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To remind myself when I forget. Also, once in awhile one must break down and do a little self-promo. Alphabetical by title.

  • “Construction-Paper Moon”, a father-daughter SF story, in Space & Time #118, reprinted from The Homeless Moon 1.
  • “Deer Feet”, a YA urban fantasy story set in my old neighborhood in Jamaica Plain, Boston, in Urban Green Man.
  • “Other Palimpsests”, a Borgesian horror story, in Bibliotheca Fantastica.
  • “Remorse and the Pariah”, a mini-epic poem about the cyclops from Homer, in Abyss & Apex.
  • “The Unicyclist’s Fate”, an electropunk love story set in the ’30s, in Airships and Automatons, reprinted from The Homeless Moon 3.
  • “The Urchin’s Dark Kite”, a fairytale, in White Cat, reprinted from the now-defunct A Fly in Amber.

I think that’s everything so far. Three new stories, three reprints.

I need to write more.

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Jan 17 2013

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Immortal ConFusion

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has nothing to do with either navel-gazing vampires or an opiated Duncan MacLeod. Not much, anyway. It’s the name of a Detroit-area speculative fiction convention I’ll be at this weekend along with suspects such as Saladin Ahmed, Justin Howe, Scott H. Andrews et al. Maybe we’ll see you there.

My schedule is as follows:

Saturday 11:00 AM Reading: Michael J. Deluca & Scott H. Andrews Windsor
Join Michael J. Deluca & Scott H. Andrews as they read from forthcoming work. Michael J. DeLuca, Scott H. Andrews

Saturday 2:00 PM So Your Protagonist Is An Orphan… Southfield
Batman. Luke Skywalker. Cinderella. Frodo Baggins. Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. Harry Potter. James Bond. Superman. One of the few things that heroic characters have in common is that they often have dead parents. While this does sever their ties to past and family, and while this often kick-starts the hero’s journey…can we lay off for a while? What is it about the orphan angle that we can’t seem to leave alone, and what kind of alternatives could provide an equally compelling Batman? Carrie Harris (M), Diana Rowland, Doug Hulick, Mary G. Thompson, Michael J. DeLuca

Sunday 10:00 AM Religion In SF/F Erie
Is there a place for religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction beyond a tool for the villainous? How do we produce fantastical faiths, or imagine a future society that does not lampoon people who believe? Aspects of religious demagoguery are often the go-to model in speculative fiction, for good reason, but what else should authors be looking for from theology? Alastair Reynolds, Brian McClellan, Howard Andrew Jones, Michael J. DeLuca (M), Saladin Ahmed

Sunday 11:00 AM What The Heck Is Literary Fiction? Erie
Literary fiction has cachet. Publishers love it – but what exactly do they mean? When “Literary” works can include post-apocalyptic scenarios, science-bending technology, generation-spanning storylines that run from sword swinging to future technologies, how does one define “Literary”? Should we, as authors or audience, even try,? Is this definition a cover for “serious” writers dipping their toes into our favorite subjects? Kat Howard, Michael J. DeLuca, Myke Cole, Ron Collins (M)

Hoo I signed up for too many of these. If nobody strenuously objects, I shall likely not post panel notes this time. They’re not that interesting, and anyway I’d rather be posting more Guatemala pictures instead.

If you come to just one thing, make it the reading. Saturday at 11 AM. Scott and I will make an effort to have something cool and homemade for (some of) you to taste. First come, first served.

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Oct 29 2012

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World Fantasy 2012

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I’ll be at World Fantasy in Toronto this weekend. I’m on a panel Friday at 3 PM about the trope of the mysterious/eldritch tome in fantasy and horror, “Bibliofantasies” (with other clever people from the Bibliotheca Fantastica anthology), for which I have been idly developing a vague theory about Borges, Orbis Tertius and the Necronomicon. I’ll post the notes here later. Aside from that…well, you probably know where to find me (hint: it’s where they pour the beer).

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Jul 30 2012

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Dear Readercon

Filed under #angry,hm,News

You know what this is going to be about.

Readercon is my favorite convention. It’s the one I’ve been to the most, the one where I am least scared of the rest of the attendees and feel least obligated to front. It’s the best-organized con I’ve ever been to. It has my favorite people at it. And it’s the closest con to the place where I was born.

None of the above, I realize, will prevent me from learning to love and rely on some other con as much, if it comes to that, and as a number of ultimata from upstanding pillars of the community have begun to threaten. No, what will prevent me is dread of being forced to undergo all that horrible social conditioning again. To my relief, I am perfectly aware that my threatening the same thing—never to attend Readercon again if you don’t change your tune and follow your own damn rule—would have zero effect. But when your stubborn refusal to follow your own zero-tolerance policy costs you the attendance of Catherynne Valente and Jeffrey Ford, it should be obvious even to you that you’re self-destructing the reputation you’ve built up for your wonderful con over all this time. If this keeps up, you’ll lose everything that made people like me want to come to your con in the first place.

Reverse your ruling. It’s not too late to get back all that credibility you had until two weeks ago. But if you don’t hurry up, it will be.

Update: They did it! Hooray.

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Jul 09 2012

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Readercon Schedule

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Sadly I can only be at Readercon this year for Thursday and Friday. I’m missing a lot of great stuff, including the Odyssey reading on Saturday afternoon at 2. And it looks like there won’t be a Homeless Moon chapbook this time around.

On the other hand, they’ve given me what may be the perfect single day con schedule: on Friday afternoon I have two panels on the intersection of fiction writing and ebook publishing, and in the evening a solo reading where I get to read a story along the same theme. This never happens to me: an excuse to hit my talking points. An excuse to appear as though I have talking points! Huzzah.

Update: I think I’ll put my panel notes up here so people can find the few links I’ve got in there and struggle to follow along if they like. See below.


Friday July 13

12:00 PM    G    Writing for Electronic Devices. Kathryn Cramer, Michael J. DeLuca, James Patrick Kelly, Barbara Krasnoff (leader), David G. Shaw. How does the experience of reading speculative fiction on the Kindle, the iPad, and other e-readers differ from reading a codex? What changes in the literature itself might we see as authors write stories and novels intended to be read on electronic devices? Will the ability to link across pages and chapters (as first seen in Geoff Ryman’s pioneering 253) change how plots are developed, or will they act more as memory aids? Our panelists speculate about this unevenly distributed but inevitable future.

  • Catherynne Valente’s fictional video game review “Killswitch”: http://fishmech.info/invisiblegames/invisiblegames.net/archives/killswitch/ – It doesn’t fit into ebook fiction since it’s free on the web, not even in a webzine. But it’s one of my favorite things of hers, and it exemplifies some of the roadblocks (economic, structural) to the development of a post-print fiction format.
  • Ideomancer hypertext fiction – more or less like 253.
  • 253 not available on kindle – only in print.
  • Going from Kindle back to a book reminds me of the beauty of the book. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  • A nostalgia for the narrow, the specific? We’re already missing and pining after paper, but the transition is a little too current to read that tendency as nostalgia.
  • Isolation vs networked-ness. The kindle highlighted passage = high school lit textbook marginalia.
  • Potentially, though this sounds like crotchety old fan alarmism, a diminishing of awe – in the fact that we can always go look up the thing we don’t get? a diminishing of the sense of lost-ness that comes from puzzling through an Umberto Eco novel. Or the inverse, a renewed ability to enjoy those kinds of works written before the ebook age?
  • I haven’t yet seen an example of hypertext fiction that provides real benefit from being read piecemeal or out of order choose-your-own adventure style. In fact the experiments I’ve seen written for the format in Ideomancer and elsewhere seem to take the interlinking as an excuse to be structurally weak. Or else they are ridiculously structurally rigid in order to accommodate it (Choose Your Own Adventure).
  • I do see potential for massive, structurally complex novels divided into little indexed, cross-referenced and tagged chunks that can be progressed through in different ways. Ryman’s The Child Garden could be restructured this way, as could an Eco novel. Would it be any better for it? Dunno/likely not. But a book written for this structure…something huge and really aggressively hyperlinked, might convey an experience of fiction as has not yet been experienced, something like the experience of library browsing or surfing wikipedia like I’ll be talking about in that other panel. Closest experience I’ve had might still be Eco, or in a more guided, distilled form, Borges.
  • Shared world? Trabigzanda, the encyclopedia exercise taken to its logical end.
  • About “unevenly distributed” – text has always been unevenly distributed. I see more “long tail” potential for innovation there than I see a problem at least as it applies to the vibrance or health of literature. Yes, of course it’s a marker for inequality, oppression. But I can’t express how happy it made me, eg, to find out about that “uncontacted” tribe in the Amazon and then how sad when they may or may not have been obliterated. Cargo cults. The Aboriginal dreamtime. Amos Tutuola walking out of the bush with the manuscript for The Palm-Wine Drinkard under his arm. It’s social and economic stratification, but when things move across the strata it makes for mind-blowingness.

2:00 PM    F    Serendipity in the Digital Age. John Benson, John Clute, Michael J. DeLuca, Michael Dirda, Kathryn Morrow, David G. Shaw (leader). Libraries are closing off their stacks from patrons and sending robots to retrieve requested books; brick-and-mortar bookstores are being supplanted by Amazon’s massive warehouses and recommendation engines. While these arrangements increase efficiency on the business end, they destroy serendipity on the reader’s end. Yet sites like Wikipedia and TV Tropes give us what Randall Munroe called “hours of fascinated clicking,” trails of discovery that strongly resemble the old-fashioned bookstore or library experience. Can those sites teach us how to recreate browsing in our browsers? Should Amazon look more like the new online edition of the Science Fiction Encyclopedia?

  • I really don’t think they destroy serendipity. I think you have to have been seeking serendipity in order to find it, either in the library or on the internet, and I don’t think it’s harder to find in either place. And of course, the library isn’t as big as the internet. Amazon’s recommendation model is economic and mercenary–Amazon isn’t for bibliophiles. If you never use anything to find what to read but that, you’ll never read anything new. On the other hand, if you Wikipedia around for books, if you wander the vasty public domain archives of Gutenberg, you’re almost by necessity reading and learning across strata, across genre, period, etc. Go to Amazon when you’re done browsing. Or, you know, don’t.
  • Consider the local town library as distinct from, say, the college library, the city library. Town library buys 10 of each bestseller every year, then sells all but one of them at the library book sale the next year. That’s not serendipity. Sure they have a back catalog, but it’s slim. I paid 25 cents for a dust-jacketless hardcover copy of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Nobody in Clawson, Michigan would ever have read that book no matter how much they browsed. Now, maybe that’s a function of how the internet has altered the experience of the library, but it’s a function of demand–the town library ~= Amazon whereas the rest of the internet ~= the library of babel?
  • The internet is the library of babel, but indexed. you can read endless pages of gobledygook if you want.
  • Lack of physical or tactile element–you’re not using all your senses, you don’t get the memory trigger of scent, eg.
  • Isolation vs networked-ness.
  • Kindle annotation – it’s like buying a used book/getting issued a college textbook with other people’s marginal notes. Makes you sad for the sorry state of education maybe, but it makes you aware of the experiences of other readers.
  • NY Times guy complaining that ebook buying has no nostalgia, begging for a solution: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/caught-between-nostalgia-for-print-and-the-practicality-of-digital/?smid=tw-share
  • The solution is social, conceptual, not technological. Duh. All this post-singularity feeling of accelerating change is social/conceptual not technological. Technology’s integration with culture makes it work more like fashion trends rising and falling than an inexorable advance towards transcendence.

7:00 PM    VT    Reading. Michael J. DeLuca. Michael J. DeLuca reads “Other Palimpsests,” forthcoming in the anthology Biblioteca Fantastica from Dagan Books, edited by Claude Lalumière and Don Pizarro.

After which, with any luck, you’ll find me in the Meet the Prose party drinking fancy beers with the usual suspects. See you there, I hope!

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Nov 10 2011

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Signal Degradation, Small Beer Podcast, HM at WFC, Suchlike

Filed under Beer,hm,News

I realize it’s been months since I last posted. My computer HD died sometime in September, causing me to lose a month’s worth of cool mushroom photos, Hen of the Woods, Giant Puffball etc, which I would otherwise totally have put up here otherwise. But it’s cool, no need to pretend like you noticed—who reads blogs anymore?

I’ve been tweeting some, that’s got to count for something. Maybe I should port my tweets over here so the skull doesn’t look so dusty.

Anyhow, I have not been idle in the interim. Weightless Books is tearing right along; this month we’re running an Apex subscription drive, 25% off, plus some freebies for participants and a game of Nook Tablet roulette. The Homeless Moon put out a special edition best-of chapbook for World Fantasy, which you didn’t hear a thing about unless you were there; it was all very hush-hush. We used the space octopus cover castoff from chapbook 4, I thought it came out quite nice.

And, the real reason for this update, Small Beer intern and audiophile Julie Day has started a podcast series, the current episode of which features me, yes me, talking a bit about Weightless, a bit about beer, then reading aloud “The Hour of the Fireflies” by Karen Chacek, one of the stories I translated for the forthcoming SBP anthology Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Stories of the Fantastic. Which is a lovely story, a brief, crisp confection with a darkly bitter center, into the translation of which I put much effort, just so that you, non-Spanish-speaker, could enjoy it. So please go listen. Then in a week or so, I believe there may be another podcast episode wherein Gavin, Julie and I sit around on a late Thursday morning drinking beer and rambling about beer on tape. Fun!

And that’s about it from me. I have another of my own stories upcoming on Pseudopod—I’ll let you know when it happens. In the meantime, be well. Don’t lick any toads you haven’t first positively identified.

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Sep 09 2011

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“The Eater” at Pseudopod; Pink Lady’s Slipper

Filed under Flowers,hm,horror,News

My story “The Eater”, about the guy at the beginning of time whose job it is to taste everything and decide what will kill us and what will keep us alive, (which originally appeared in Apex back in July), is live today at Pseudopod!

Pseudopod, should you have been unaware, is a weekly horror fiction podcast, sister to Escape Pod and Podcastle, a triumvirate I have been struggling to break my way into for quite some time. I love reading fiction aloud, and hearing fiction read aloud, and “the Pods”, as they are affectionately known, are some of the best places to do that. For a reader, I am lucky enough to have netted Laurice White. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet—will do so on my ride home—but I expect it will be great.


Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid, Cypripedium acaule, mixed deciduous woods, Bull Hill, Sunderland, MA
(AKA/e.g., the replenishing pitcher flower of legend.)

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Aug 25 2011

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Watch Ridler

Filed under Ebooks,hm,News

Jay Ridler’s first novel, a noir wrestling thriller (!), is up now at the Kindle store:

I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this. Amanda Hocking and Konrath have been made much of (and have made much out of themselves) as the poster/tentpole children of a brave, new, exponentially expanding market for self-published ebooks, raking it in hand over fist, generating buzz and dreams and misconceptions wherever they pass. But they appeared on this stage fully formed. They were already successful, hugely so, before most of us heard anything about them. We can go back and read about how they did it (as much as they’re willing to share), but we won’t be getting the whole story, and what we do get will be all distorted by the rah-rah haze of success. (So, nephew/son/grandson/husband/cousin/brother, when you going to write the next Harry Potter? Bleh!) And by now it’s completely unclear whether what they did will work for anyone else, because the market they’re selling through is so new and changing so rapidly. Nor does it make any sense to compare them to grassroots print self-publishing successes like Christopher Paolini (and certainly not to Rowling), because there was barely any market in place for them to target/advertise to/gladhand.

All of which makes me very excited indeed to watch Jay’s epublishing debut, because it gives me (and you, too!) the great advantage of observing from the ground up, from the inside. Yes, of course, I’m rooting for him because he’s my pal and I’m already vested in the whole ebook thing. But I also know (because I read all that stuff about Hocking and Konrath ad nauseum) he’s got a lot going for him. I know how much thought Jay has put into this. He’s a brilliant, lovable guy who keeps an entertaining blog and knows everybody. He’s incredibly prolific. He knows how to spin a yarn. I know how much heart he puts into his writing, and it shows. I guarantee Death Match will be fast-paced and gritty with a gripping emotional core. Frankly, he’s a better writer than Hocking and Konrath put together. Which may or may not mean a thing in this context. But it will be fascinating to watch. I can’t wait to see what happens–not just in the next couple of weeks, but when he puts out the next book and the one after that.

Should you care to watch him too, Jay’s blog, where I hope he will regale us with further news of his forays, is at ridlerville.wordpress.com.

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