January 21st, 2014


down and safe

We are home from a most excellent Arisia 2014. We arrived on Thursday night, driving up with Meg. Both Wrenn and Meg were doing tech, so I dropped them off at the hotel to start with setup, while I went to the house of Cat and Jack, who were putting us up (or putting up with us, depending on how you look at it) for the weekend. Jack was out gaming, so Cat and I watched The Aviator, which is a damn fine movie that I can't believe I didn't see sooner.....

Friday I had only one program item -- a reading -- but Wrenn had to be there first thing in the a.m., so I drove her over and then hung out with various and sundry folks. It was actually quite nice, and fun to see and talk to many many many many people.

At Arisia, they give three people a reading slot, but the panels are also 75 minutes long, so there's plenty of time. I read from The Klingon Art of War, while mijan read some nuTrek fanfic (he really nailed the character voices, too, as they sounded like Chris Pine and Karl Urban in particular), while Alexander Feinman read from his new SF novel.

For Day 2, I once again had to get Wrenn in early. My first item was an autographing, at which I sold a buncha books. Then I did Laura Anne Gilman's reading and promoted her Kickstarter to an audience that enjoyed my rendition of the first scene in the first of the Sylvan Investigations novellas. And, since Craig Shaw Gardner didn't show up, it was just me and Walter H. Hunt, I got to read some of my own work, too (I read more from The Klingon Art of War).

Speaking of Mr. Hunt, he did a fine job moderating what may be the most insane Eye of Argon reading yet, which included an actual stuffed rat for Grignr (played by me) to struggle with in the dungeon. Great hilarity from self, Walter, Daniel M. Kimmel, and Hildy Silverman, plus a superb audience (Jacob Sommer among them).

Between those two, I did an incredibly lively panel on Orphan Black, ably moderated by the mighty Gordon Linzner, and had a great time hanging out with folks in the bar, in the lobby, at parties, etc.

The final day had me getting up stupid early to do a self-defense workshop. Six people showed up for it, which is great considering a) it wasn't in the program book (though it was in the newsletter and the online schedule) and b) it was Sunday at 9.30am.

My last three panels of the con were all fantastic. Tanya Huff, Leigh Perry, Kiini Ibura Salaam, and Ian Randal Strock joined me for "George R.R. Martin is Still Not Your Bitch," a wide-ranging panel on fan expectations, fan abuse, and what the writer's obligations are. Ian brought the publisher's perspective, Kiini brought a wonderfully philosophical angle, while Tanya and I got to cover lots of mass-media angles (in her case mostly related to the one-season Blood Ties TV series). Leigh was able to tell some really scary stories about what Charlaine Harris has had to deal with.....

The "State of Star Trek 2014" was also quite lively, though horribly dominated by self and mijan. But we covered a lot of ground, and generally agreed that, while the JJ Abrams films have done a good job of getting people interested in Trek again, there's still a loooooong way to go......

Several people with experience in either weaponry, martial arts, or both did a panel/workshop on how to write a fight scene. The idea was to talk for a bit and then have audience members provide fight scenes they've written and we'd act them out. Sadly, we all talked for waaaay too long, so we were only able to cover one fight scene, and not even finish it. We need to do this one again for two hours next year.....

Had a great time at the masquerade. Wrenn was the video director (her first time), so the video that was on the big screens and beamed to people's hotel rooms was directed entirely by her (though she was backed up by an experienced tech hand). Dr. Karen was the masq director, and it all went quite swimmingly. Kudos in particular to my buddies Gaia, Sharyn, and Zach, who were 3/4 of the Best in Class, Master Class Division, for their superb re-creation of Santa's kidnapping in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Day 4 was just hangin' out with lots of wonderful folks. It was especially nice to see Michael and Nomi Burstein, who were in for the day. And then we went home, with Meg and another friend, Izzy, who needed a ride back to NYC, in the back seat. We dropped them off at Penn Station, and now are home to a roommate, a dog, and three cats who are very glad to see us.
  • Current Music
    "Someday the Sun Won't Shine for You" by Jethro Tull
chronic rift

The Chronic Rift Network update

Here's the latest from The Chronic Rift network of pop-culture podcasts.......

The Chronic Rift
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    Spotlight: Doctor Who's Patrick Troughton. Continuing our monthly look at each of the twelve Doctors, Krissy Myers hosts a look back at the second person to play the Doctor, joined by Arnold T. Blumberg of The G2V Podcast and longtime Who fan Dale Mazur.

    Classic Rewatch: Quantum Leap. From 1990: the second episode of the public access show as hosts Judy Furnari and Keith R.A. DeCandido are joined by screenwriter Duane Brodnick and students Juliette Moore and Marina Frants to discuss the Donald P. Bellisario time-travel show starring Scott Bakula.

Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast
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    "The Price of Liberty." John S. Drew and Paul K. Bisson are joined by Special Guest Pal, award-winning and best-selling author Robert J. Sawyer to discuss this episode of The Six Million Dollar Man in which the Liberty Bell is stolen and Steve Austin has to get it back.

Cinefantastique Online
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The Weekly Podioplex
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    January 14, 2014. Michael Falkner looks at a week that has very little TV on DVD, but a lot of box-office competition for last week's top-grosser Lone Survivor.

The Sci-Fi Diner
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    Episode 193: Contact. Scott Hertzog, Miles McLaughlin, M. Sieiro Garcia, and Jim Arrowood look back at the 1997 film adaptation of Carl Sagan's novel, starring Jodie Foster.

All of the above are available through iTunes or the Rift web site. You can comment here, on the web site forums, on the Rift Facebook page, by e-mail to john at chronicrift dot com, or by phone at 888-866-9010.
  • Current Music
    "Change in the Weather" by John Fogerty

egoboo of the weekend

So while there was much goodness at Arisia this past weekend, the high point had to be this....

One of the other people on the "George R.R. Martin is Still Not Your Bitch" panel was Tanya Huff, who was the Author Guest of Honor. I've been a fan of Tanya's books since Marina turned me on to the "Blood" books back in the day, and was honored to be on a panel with her. (She and I have met a couple times before at other cons, in particular the Canadian media con Polaris.)

After the panel, she made a point of telling me how much she loved my novelization of Serenity.

I was, needless to say, bouncing for the rest of the weekend............
  • Current Music
    "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants