blog, news

Upcoming appearance: Worldcon!

Holy crackersnacks, I was invited to be a panelist at Worldcon! This year it’s being hosted by Discon III from December 15-19, 2021, in Washington, DC. Paraphrasing their site bio a little, Worldcon is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS); it was first held in 1939 and, with a pause for WWII, has been held continuously since 1946. The Hugo Awards, the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer are all given at this convention, and this is my first time being a panelist at it. I am very excited.

My schedule is below:

Logistics of Off-World Disasters Format: Panel (Virtual)

16 Dec 2021, Thursday 1:00 PM EST

Complex logistics are required to respond to mundane natural disasters. How could we handle a natural disaster occurring on another planet or in space? What additional political and diplomatic complications arise when working on an interplanetary scale?

Katherine Crighton, Malka Older, Sandy Manning, Jennifer Rhorer (mod)

Ask an Editor: Long-Form Writing Format: Panel (Virtual)

16 Dec 2021, Thursday 4:00 PM EST

What makes a good novel? How do you know it’s ready? Where should you send it and how should you respond to comments? This is your chance to ask burning questions to a panel of respected agents and editors.

George Jreije, Katherine Crighton, Navah Wolfe, Patrick LoBrutto, Trevor Quachri, Joshua Bilmes (mod)

The Public Domain We Don’t Have Format: Panel (Onsite and Virtual)

17 Dec 2021, Friday 1:00 PM EST

Entertainment industry lobbyists keep pushing copyright life further and further into the future. If copyright in the U.S. hadn’t been extended in 1976 and again in 1998, many more works would now be in the public domain. Join us to discuss the fun mashups we might have had if copyright extension hadn’t passed. Bring your own soapbox.

Avani Wildani, Katherine Crighton, Tenaya Anue, Jennifer Rhorer (mod)

Publishing Your E-Book Format: Panel (Onsite)

17 Dec 2021, Friday 2:30 PM EST

What is the process for self-publishing your own e-books? Who should you hire to create a high-quality product and make it stand out? Where can you sell it beyond Amazon? Come and learn how to get your e-books published and noticed by the right readers.

Brenda W. Clough, Katherine Crighton, Matthew S. Rotundo, Tao Wong, DH Aire (mod)

Real Estate in Space Format: Panel (Onsite)

18 Dec 2021, Saturday 11:30 AM EST

Space law is a real, existing field of law, but it’s only beginning to touch on the complexity of property rights in space. The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies is the international treaty that addresses these issues, but current events suggest that we may soon reach the limits of its provisions. What happens when Elon Musk tries to sell you a condo on Mars?

Katherine Crighton, Penelope Flynn, RWW Greene, Su J Sokol, Wes (mod)

Reading: Katherine Crighton and Benjamin Rosenbaum Format: Reading (Onsite)

19 Dec 2021, Sunday 10:00 AM EST

Katherine Crighton, Benjamin Rosenbaum

(Image credit: Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay, after Louis John Rhead’s The Century Magazine: Midsummer Holiday Number (1894))

blog

2021 Award Eligibility

Happy December, folks. I have a bunch of posts that should (fingers-crossed) be popping up over the next couple of days, but in the meantime: I have one new story this year, but it’s a particular favorite. It’s eligible for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, and any other award your heart sees fit to nominate them for. See below for a link, quotes from reviews, and a little spoilerish rundown (first written up on twitter) of why this story is so important to me.

DEMON FIGHTER SUCKS,” Apex Magazine, May 2021

Reviews

‘Demon Fighter Sucks’ is one of those horror stories that’s a bit funny, a bit sad, and fun to read. Broken into sections like ‘Step 5: Do Some Mugglefucking Magic,’ the story takes readers on the journey of conjuring a fairy while weaving in the main character’s backstory, which of course ends up having a significant impact on the spell and its conclusion. Like any good story.

Aigner Loren Wilson, Tor Nightfire

Young Run is a 16-year-old girl who – as part of her campaign against the fake magic of supernatural TV shows – attempts to summon a fairy for her Fun with Public Domain Magic livestream. Both entertaining and poignant.

Paula Guran, Locus

…and more from Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews and Paul Jessup at Vernacular Books.

A Little Background

This one means a lot to me, folks. And not just because I used the word “mugglefucking” and got paid for it. It’s the last story I sold before my mother died, and the first story to get published after she died. For a lot of reasons (particularly apparent if you read it) this work is important to me, and Apex Magazine did a great job with it. Spoilers ahead…

Continue reading “2021 Award Eligibility”
blog, news

Upcoming appearance: Readercon!

Join me at Readercon (August 13-15, 2021), gone virtual and running for the low weekend price of $25 this year. It’s a conference on imaginative literature that focuses almost exclusively on the written work, and I’ve loved it for years.

I’m also on a couple of panels this year, and moderating one of them, so you’ve got plenty of opportunities to either see me via Zoom or watch the panels after the fact. The topic I get to talk about are amazing, and I’m delighted by the panelists I get to spend time with.

My schedule is below:

Reading Fantasy Through a Motif Index Lens Format: Panel

14 Aug 2021, Saturday 11:00 AM EST – Main Track 1

Folklorists use motif indexes to catalog and analyze folk tales from around the world. The existence of TV Tropes suggests the need for new motif indexes that fit new forms of literature, but we can also apply folklore motif indexes to 21st-century fantastical fiction. Which motifs have had staying power for hundreds of years, and what other expected or unexpected patterns do we find? What does treating fiction as folklore bring to the reading experience?

Katherine Crighton, Stephanie Feldman (mod), Jeffrey Ford, Karen Heuler, L. Penelope

Content Tags: Implementation, Accommodation, and Ancillary Art Format: Panel

15 Aug 2021, Saturday 4:00 PM EST – Main Track 2

The increased prevalence of content tags has lead to growing questions around implementation. Useful for accommodation, content tags are also deployed on dynamic platforms such as AO3 to warn, advertise, and joke, becoming extra-diagetic material that is enjoyable on its own terms while providing meaningful context for the work. Still, there is a divide between those who want them and those who find them objectionable. How do content tags enhance and complicate reader experience, and what are emerging best practices that bookstores or publishers could adopt?

Katherine Crighton (mod), Gillian Daniels, Foz Meadows, AJ Odasso, Megan Whalen Turner

(Image credit: Image by Voldrag on Pixabay )

blog, news

Upcoming convention fun-times

Join me at Boskone (February 12-14, 2021), which’ll be online and running for the low weekend price of $25 this year. It’s the science fiction and fantasy convention I grew up at, with discussions of books, science, art, games, music, and more.

Better yet, I’m on panels this year, and moderating one, so you get that many more opportunities to see me in glorious Zoom-vision. I’m getting to be with some extremely cool people, too, so I’m super excited about this.

My schedule is below:

Writing Relatable Characters Format: Panel

12 Feb 2021, Friday 18:30 – 19:30, Carlton – (Mtg Room) (Virtual Westin)

No matter how realistic a character is, that doesn’t mean they will be relatable. So, what does it take to write a character who gels with the reader? How do you avoid friends of the protagonist being relegated to token sidekick status? What helps a reader understand and sympathize with protagonists who are far beyond their own lived experience? And how do you write them if they are beyond yours?

Christine Taylor-Butler (M), Paul Tremblay, Katherine Crighton, E. Lily Yu, Carlos Hernandez

The Shape of Robots to Come Format: Panel

13 Feb 2021, Saturday 10:00 – 11:00, Burroughs (Webinar) (Virtual Westin)

Robots in fiction are often androids — bipedal, two arms, head on neck — people-shaped. After all, the term “robot” goes back to 1920 when Karel Čapek introduced it in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). However, today’s robots have form following function e.g. robotic vacuum cleaners, pharmacy prescription-filling robots, and driverless automobiles. The panelists discuss how the image of the robot has changed and developed, both in fact and in fiction.

Suzanne Palmer, Katherine Crighton (M), S.B. Divya, Charles Stross

Cyborgs Are People Too Format: Panel

13 Feb 2021, Saturday 16:00 – 17:00, Carlton – (Mtg Room) (Virtual Westin)

Cyborgs, constructed of flesh, bone, steel, and advanced technologies, are full of potential and possibility. Let’s talk about meldings of man and machine in fact and in fiction. Portrayals often focus on cyborgs’ humanity, or on their lack of it. When is which appropriate? What distinguishes cyborgs from augmented humans?

S L Huang, Katherine Crighton, Stephen P. Kelner (M)

(Image credit: Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay)

news

2020 Award Eligibility

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It’s getting to be that time, and I don’t think I have anything that’ll be published before the new year (though that Apex story is coming!), so — check out the stories I wrote this year that are eligible for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and any other award your heart sees fit to nominate them for.

They’re Made Out of Corn,” Daily Science Fiction, June 2020

Sing in Me, Muse,” Lightspeed Magazine, August 2020

news

once in a golden hour

As I sometimes do, I’m doing another experiment in creating consistent content for patrons — this time, I’m creating a brief weekly zine through Patreon called The Minor Hours and Small Thoughts Magazine, in the style of the strange and random early Regency and Victorian publications previously mentioned on the blog. Mine will be filled with commonplaces, small pieces of fiction and creative nonfiction, interesting art, and specious advice.

More importantly for this day and age, this zine won’t dwell on the latest news or dire issues — there are other, better resources for that. Publishing and writing updates or thoughts are going to remain here, along with longer pieces, and my irregular (free) newsletter for publishing updates is always available for signup. But the miscellany of life is what I’d like to record, both my own and others’, and I think that has value all by itself.

The first issue is up and free here for anyone who’d like to see vaguely what I’m offering — $1 a month gets you a weekly zine of varying length and questionable wit, and $2 gets you both the subscription and an original, subscriber-only flash story per month. Depending on interest, goals and tiers may be added, but for now I’m going to stick with something simple, fun, and, hopefully, a respite from the rest of the world.

ETA 8/27/20: As I said on my twitter, fuck it, the whole thing’s free now. Tiers are still available if you’d like to get monthly fiction from me, or if you’d like to get the Minor Hours Magazine directly in your inbox, but otherwise, enjoy.

fiction, research

Fragment of a Regency-era SF story

Doing primary source research sometimes leads to spectacular (or, at least, deeply interesting) finds. In this case, I was looking through an 1809 volume of The lady’s magazine: or entertaining companion for the fair sex, appropriated solely to their use and amusement, as one does, searching for a description of a particular royal estate, and instead I came across… well, a science fiction story.

“Fragment of a Letter to an Inhabitant of a Planet, Remote from the Earth, of a Superior Race of Beings” is purported to be written by a “Eusebia”, who had the idea for it after seeing the funeral procession of Admiral Nelson. The story is from the POV of an alien from another planet who is visiting Earth, unknown to anyone except a local guide. It’s implied that the aliens know about Earth because an angel told them about us weirdo humans, who are mortal and seem to revel in death. (Apparently, despite being aliens, they believe and are affected by Christianity. Oh, 1800s England.)

Reading through the text, it appears that the aliens are immortal and live on a planet that has no death, to the point where they don’t experience seasons, are apparently vegetarian, and don’t sleep. Our unnamed alien narrator — who also has a “subtle vehicle” that lets them go through walls and observe us invisibly — comes to the conclusion that God has made it so that humans have to sleep so as to prepare us for the inevitable horror of permanent death through repetitious mini-deaths… which has unfortunate consequences for our entire understanding of life.

It’s an interesting story, though more for seeing the author do a neat bit of negative-space worldbuilding (telling us about their species/planet through what their narration chooses to highlight and/or be confused by) than for any real plot or message. But… it’s an SF story in a women’s magazine, under a female pseud, during the Regency period. It’s pretty likely that Jane Austen read The Lady’s Magazine — how great is it to imagine Jane sitting around and discussing distant planets with her sister Cassandra, making jokes about what they’d do with their own “subtle vehicles”, wondering what other things would look weird to an alien observer?

If you’d like to read the story yourself, here’s the direct link to the scan, here’s a downloadable PDF of the original printed story, or you can click the “Continue Reading” below for a transcription. It’s a neat bit of SF history that I haven’t seen referenced elsewhere, but let me know if you’ve seen otherwise, or if you know of other Regency SF that could use a light shined on them. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Fragment of a Regency-era SF story”
fiction, news

New short story: “They’re Made Out of Corn”

In the middle of everything, it’s strange to give good news, but: I have a new short story out, the first since before some Big Life Shit that went down a few years ago. Enjoy “They’re Made Out of Corn“, out today from Daily Science Fiction, a continuation/pastiche of Terry Bisson‘s “They’re Made Out of Meat.”

Read more…