Thursday, May 21, 2020

Digital Balticon Schedule for This Weekend!

This weekend is Balticon, a convention put on by the Maryland Regional Science Fiction & Fantasy Society. We can't gather in place thanks to the pandemic, but we can meet online. Balticon will be free to everyone who signs up on their website. After signing up, you can drop into whatever panels, talks, and readings you like from their entire offering.

The upside of the digital convention is that now anybody from around the world can see the programming and ask questions. Given how late some programming goes, it'll welcome folks from distant time zones. And it's free to everyone.

I'll be doing a few items with them. This is my first digital convention and I'm quite excited for how it will go.

Does anything on my schedule grab your interest?

So What is Horror?
Friday May 22, 10:00 PM US EST
Chad Eric Smith (Moderator), L. Marie Wood, Lee Murray, Alan Smale, John Wiswell
What is it that makes horror a distinct genre, and what experience are audiences seeking to get out of it? How has our definition of what constitutes "horror" changed over time? How do ideas and concepts break out from horror into other genres, such as paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and what makes horror's use of them different?

How Contemporary Fears Shape Apocalyptic Fiction
Sunday May 24, 1:00 PM US EST
D.H. Aire (Moderator), Kelly E. Dwyer, John Wiswell, Hildy Silverman
From nuclear war to disease to computers run amok, horror and apocalyptic fiction hold a mirror up to society's fears and show us just how badly things can go wrong. How have the terrors of different eras shaped stories of the end times, and how do different ways of portraying them affect their respective audiences?

Cultures Are Not Monoliths
Sunday May 24, 5:00 PM US EST
Don Sakers (Moderator), Stephanie Burke, Melissa Scott, Vivian Shaw, John Wiswell
In science fiction and fantasy, members of cultures are often presented with the same traits, regardless of regional and class distinctions. This can be a result of poor worldbuilding, pacing issues, limited space, or authorial neglect. How can creators add nuance and variety to their imagined societies, and what are good ways to portray this to their audience?

Reading: Ken Schrader and John Wiswell
Monday May 25, 1:00 PM US EST
Two writers share an hour reading from their short stories.

Monday, April 13, 2020

"Gender and Other Faulty Software" is live at Fireside Magazine

I'm happy to present "Gender and Other Faulty Software," a new short story live at Fireside Magazine!

It's the story of a crew that reclaims abandoned spaceships by installing a new operating system in them. But the newest spaceship finds some bugs in the OS's code - and particularly, has questions to ask about why it needs a gender. This story is already getting lovely responses around Twitter.

I have to thank Jordan Kurella and Merc Fenn Wolfmoor for beta reading this story. They did a wonderful job pointing me in the right direction to polish it.

This is my fourth story at Fireside. I'm overjoyed to keep bringing fun and unusual pieces to their pages. You can read the story for free by clicking this link.




Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Kaiju Story in Nature Magazine?

Call this one a career goal! I've got a brand new story for you about giant monsters published by Nature.

The Nature Futures program, which runs Science Fiction stories in the otherwise Non-Fiction Science publication, does amazing work. This is my second story with them, and I'm tremendously proud of it. It is both a kaiju story and a rare piece of Hard SciFi from me. I researched radiation technology and animal behavior extensively for how someone might try to treat these things if they existed.

The result is "Tucking In the Nuclear Egg," a story about how to care for kaiju eggs that otherwise will irradiate your continent. You can read it for free by clicking here.

The reception has been wonderfully warm so far. Please let me know what you think!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Two Sales to Announce!

I have two good pieces of news to share this week. I've just signed a pair of contracts for two exciting projects.

First up: I've sold a new story to Nature Futures. This one is "Tucking In the Nuclear Egg," a story about giant monsters with a little more science than I usually apply. It's about the logistics of shielding and caring for a kaiju egg that's constantly putting off multiple Chernobyls worth of radiation. It's terrifying and tender - and yes, this does mean I sold a kaiju story to Nature! This feels like a life goal.

This is my second sale to Nature, following "The Tentacle and You" in 2019. There may be a little more news about that tentacle story coming soon.

up: I can announce my first essay of the year! Uncanny Magazine has accepted "The Assassination of Professor X," which is a deep dive into the history of the character, how he's been rewritten in the last two decades to be more despicable and less idealistic, and how his famous disability has been erased in parallel. Professor X is a rare character as a disabled mentor, and I don't take his destruction lightly. I've been stewing on this for years, and I look forward to sharing it with you all in the coming months.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Bathrooom Monologues Movie Awards, 2019 Edition

It's almost February 2020, so of course we're all talking about the best movies of 2019. For many that includes movies that only came to the U.S. for the first time in 2019. Naturally I'll disagree with some of the Oscar winners. More naturally, I don't understand what some of the categories mean. But nothing shall dissuade me from telling a democratic body of people who devote swaths of their lives to film that their mass conclusions were wrong. So here we go!


The Robbed Award
Going to the movie that got no play last year
and is just as good as whatever won Best Picture
WIDOWS

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

My Schedule for ConFusion 2020

Starting January 17th, I'll be at ConFusion in Detroit! It's a convention for Fantasy and Science Fiction fans to meet writers they like and attend talks on many topics. This will be my second year in attendance, and I hope it will be slightly less blizzardy. This year I'll be doing three panels, and then wrapping up with reading a brand new, unpublished story on Sunday.

I hope to see you there!


Toothless?: Making Allies of Villains and Monsters
 Day: Saturday
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Room: Interlochen
"Enemies to Friends" and the "Heel-Face Turn" are two of the most beloved and most common tropes in genre lit, particularly in fan writing. Shuffling characters into new teams between novels or seasons also lets us see characters, often villains or anti-heroes, in a new light. In this panel, we'll discuss the appeal of seeing what was once horrific or threatening become (relatively) "safe," the role of "redemption" (if any) in that process, and, of course, both favorite and "failed" Heel-Face turns.
Panelists: Tracy Townsend (M), John Wiswell, Brandon Crilly, Marie Bilodeau


Masculinity and Trauma Recovery in Genre Fiction
 Day: Saturday
Time: 02:00 p.m.
Room: Isle Royale
Science Fiction and Fantasy are full of tough manly heroes (and anti-heroes) with trauma in their backgrounds, from murdered families to witnessed war crimes. More often than not, these traumatic backstories serve as a justification for sarcasm, alcohol, and violence. In a world where men are significantly less likely to get professional help to heal from their trauma, how can science fiction and fantasy help to create positive examples of heroes who face their demons constructively?
Panelists: Brandon O'Brien (M), Adam R. Shannon, dave ring, John Wiswell, R.B. Lemberg


Non-Monarchic Governments in SF&F
 Day: Saturday
Time: 05:00 p.m.
Room: Manitou
Historical fantasy loves its kings and queens almost as much as space opera loves its emperors, but do we need them? What are some interesting (or terrible) alternative methods of government, and how do they show up in our favourite genre stories? From Star Wars’ Senate to Le Guin's Ekumen, what do we learn when we put aside crowns and dig a little deeper?
Panelists: Tracy Townsend (M), John Wiswell, Ehud Maimon, Kristine Smith


Reading: Marissa Lingen, Tim Boerger, John Wiswell
 Day: Sunday
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Room: Saugatuck
Panelists: Marissa Lingen, Tim Boerger, John Wiswell
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