Log in

Or connect using:

Dirigble Riders gailcarriger

sfwa_admin posted to sfwa August 19 2014, 16:01

The Scientist Next Door: Or How to Approach Experts with Research Questions

ledbetterby William Ledbetter

A few years ago, I was researching a scientific principle called “Invariant Transit Tubes,” or more commonly known as the “Interplanetary Superhighway.” I stumbled across a paper on the topic that was, shall we a say, a bit over my head. I noticed that the paper had been co-published by three researchers, all from different establishments: MIT, JPL and the University of Turin in Italy. The publication also included email addresses. In a sudden fit of “oh hell, why not” I emailed each of these guys a simple question, hoping that at least one of them would reply. The email was short and straightforward. I identified myself as a science fiction writer who was curious about one aspect of their paper. “Could effect X be used in situation Y?” Much to my surprise, all three of them replied. It turns out that no, effect X could not be used in situation Y, which of course saved me from what could have been an embarrassing hard SF faux pas, but one of the researchers was interested in my project, asked questions, made suggestions, and over an email string that bounced back and forth for about a week, I learned a great deal about that topic and several related ones. Evidently scientists, researchers, and experts of every ilk tend to like talking about their field of expertise. Who knew?

My next attempt proved just as fruitful. I was working on a novel that needed a bizarre weather situation. I started reading about the topic and was getting nowhere, so decided to email some experts. I again used the shotgun method, sending separate personalized emails, not a mass mailing, and selected four of the top local network meteorologists. Their responses were mixed. Two of them ignored me. One replied and said he had a hard enough time dealing with real world weather, but the fourth said he was fascinated and asked if he could call me at home to discuss it in detail. A forty-minute phone conversation later and I had a wealth of information and a new contact who told me to ping him any time I had a weather question.

I can’t stress enough how valuable these connections and resources have been to me. One final example will drive that point home. Again I was reading a published scientific paper online, this one was a study for the U.S. Defense Department on defenses against a Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators. Yes our government does take this seriously. I started researching the paper’s authors and realized that one of them was based at a local company just up the road from me. A company that actually builds real nanotech. I emailed the guy, again identifying myself as a SF writer, then asked him if I could buy him lunch in exchange for a few minutes of his time to talk about nanotech. Not only did I get the lunch interview, he gave me a tour of his facility and explained how all the equipment worked. Yep, I was in geek heaven. It turns out this fellow was a huge SF fan too. We became friends, have lunch several times a year, exchange emails on a regular basis and at my suggestion he was even the Science GoH at one of our local conventions. Let me assure you, he is a fun and awesome person and some of the stuff he is working on would blow your mind.

In a nutshell, don’t be afraid to approach the pros. That said, they are usually busy people and some of them will have no desire to bother with you. Keep that initial “cold call” email brief and professional, identify yourself and what you’re trying to learn, keep the focus narrow, ask specific questions and don’t expect them to write your story for you. If they don’t respond, they’re not interested so don’t email them again. If they do respond, don’t be afraid to engage them further, ask for clarifications if needed and make sure to thank them for their time.

I love being a science fiction writer, and yes, having friends and acquaintances in space propulsion, micro-biology, nanotech, computer science, materials science, planetary science, just to name a few, has indeed proved useful to my writing, but more importantly, knowing them has enriched my entire life in ways I never would have imagined. Embrace the scientist, geek or expert next door! They are just like you, only maybe a little smarter.

•••

William Ledbetter is a writer with more than thirty speculative fiction stories and non-fiction articles published in markets such as Escape Pod, Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, Ad Astra and Baen.com. He’s been a space and technology geek since childhood and spent most of his non-writing career in the aerospace industry. He administers the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award contest for Baen Books and the National Space Society, is a member of the National Space Society of North Texas, is the Science Track coordinator for the Fencon convention, and is a consulting editor at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. He lives near Dallas with his family and too many animals.

Mirrored from SFWA | Comment at SFWA

sfwa_admin posted to sfwa August 12 2014, 14:01

Clarion 2012 Releases Fundraiser Antho

Clarion 2012 has issued the following:</em></span> The Clarion class of 2012—known as the Awkward Robots—wants to tell you a story. Or, more precisely, seventeen stories. About post-singularity dreamscapes, gentrified haunted houses, and redcaps in the trenches at Verdun.

The Red Volume is a collection of stories largely written and revised during the Clarion Foundation’s fundraising write-a-thon, which runs concurrently with the workshop. The anthology will be available this September on a pay-what-you-can basis. Readers can snag a copy for free, or donate any amount from 99 cents up. All proceeds benefit the Clarion Foundation.

AwkBot Luke R. Pebler, whose fiction most recently appeared in the Sword and Laser anthology, proposed the idea to his cohort following a successful reading at WisCon 38. Awkward Robots Read was so well-received, Pebler wanted to put that momentum to good use. The result is a a collection of stories by writers previously published in Lightspeed, Shimmer, Strange Horizons, The New Yorker, and more. The table of contents includes Carmen Maria Machado, winner of the Richard Yates Short Fiction Prize, and Sam J. Miller, recent recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award.

But it takes more than good writing to build an anthology; AwkBot Emma Cosh holds down a day job in graphic design, and Sarah Mack (whose latest story appears in Gone Lawn 15) is a master of eBook distribution. Together, the ‘Bots have created a slick, stylish anthology packed with arresting prose. Jeffrey Ford, winner of the Nebula, Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy Awards, will write The Red Volume‘s introduction. Ford taught week one of Clarion 2012, and fondly refers to the AwkBots as “a bunch of chuckleheads.” You couldn’t ask for a better endorsement.

The Red Volume is available for pre-order at awkwardrobots.org. Follow @AwkBots2012 on Twitter for updates.

Mirrored from SFWA | Comment at SFWA

paidiraiompair posted to steamy_stitches August 8 2014, 23:54

Plus size items and shoes

As part of a fund raiser my friends are helping me to defray the costs of a NEW WHEEL CHAIR (they are calling it the "Dances With Wheels" fund) there are some cosplay items for sale:  Please take a moment and if you will BOOST THE SIGNAL!! (items found here)
http://www.ebay.com/sch/duncanannas/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Starting bids as follows (plus postage)
dress (200x235)30.00
redblack15.00
shoes12.50
photo 3 (4)7.50

photo 111.00
sfwa_admin posted to sfwa August 8 2014, 22:57

SFWA Spotlight on Pro Markets: Interfictions

interfictionsThe Interstitial Arts Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was set up in 2004 by Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner. Two anthologies, Interfictions 1 (edited by Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss) and Interfictions 2 (edited by Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak), were published by Small Beer Press.

Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts is an extension of the anthology series. It’s a bi-annual, online publication featuring interstitial fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. Christopher Barzak and Meghan McCarron edit fiction, while Sofia Samatar is the poetry editor. It has a new art section edited by Henry Lien.

The aim of the journal is to feature work that blurs boundaries between various genres and to publish art that is new and unfamiliar. Recently, the editors answered a few questions.

What is Interfiction to you?

Chistopher Barzak: For me, an interstitial piece of fiction composes itself from a variety of parts that originate in different genres, forms, or and may even borrow from nonfiction forms. It’s a story, or a prose piece, that creates its own conventions rather than following the conventions laid out in already the accepted and familiar forms.

Meghan McCarron: Interfiction is a term for large family of work: any creative piece of writing that defies traditional genre boundaries, or what we’re defining as those boundaries at the moment. Some of the first novels were framed as “autobiographies” because the genre of the novel was still coming into existence. Fantasy and science fiction were invented as marketing categories in the 20th century.

That’s a pretty wide net for a magazine, so for me I think an interstitial or interfictional piece of work is one with a true hybrid vigor – its power is derived from the purposeful mixing of approaches, forms, and sensibilities.

What kind of stories would Interfictions like to publish?

Chistopher Barzak: Stories that teach you how to read them, stories that astonish, stories that make you feel strange, because they’re unfamiliar, and like all things unfamiliar, they may even make you feel a little uncomfortable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from SFWA | Comment at SFWA

sirens_mods posted to sirenscon August 5 2014, 11:18

Sirens Newsletter - Volume 6, Issue 9 (August 2014)

This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 6 – Issue 9
August 2014



In this issue: 

REGISTRATION DEADLINES
Sirens is just over two months away! If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, or your Sirens Shuttle or Sirens Supper ticket, please make sure to do so before registration closes on September 13. All payments for registrations and tickets are due no later than September 20, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).

 

HOTEL RESERVATIONS
If you haven’t yet made your hotel reservation, please do so as soon as possible. Skamania Lodge is a resort, and so some reservation and guarantee policies are different than standard hotel policies, including a requirement to reserve rooms well in advance. Please see the hotel page on our website for more details. Hotel reservations must be made no later than September 25, 2014. If you find you have questions during your reservation process, or you have concerns that we need Skamania to address, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org); we are often able to assist, including communicating with the hotel.

If you’d like a roommate (or two or three), please check out our Facebook page and website message boards, where there is at least one person in need of a roommate!

 

PROGRAMMING UPDATES AND SPONSORSHIPS
We’ve posted some of the presentations offered up by Sirens attendees on the accepted programming page, with more to come as we finalize details, verify presenters, and tidy up the descriptions. If you see one you love, consider sponsoring the presentation under your name or on behalf of a group! Presentation sponsorships cost only $35, and the proceeds go entirely to Sirens 2014 expenses. We appreciate your donations, and if you sponsor a presentation by September 1, we’ll be able to list your donation not just on the website, but in the printed program book that all attendees receive.

A schedule for the weekend will be posted soon; please keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for an announcement later this month.

Speaking of programming, Erynn Kerwin has been accepted to present “Graphic Fantasy Femme Fair,” an interactive offering for sharing comics and other graphics-oriented work. If you would like to share your collection during the presentation, please contact Erynn through her sign-up form.

 

NARRATE BOOKSTORE AT SIRENS
Narrate Conferences, Sirens’s 501(c)(3) presenting organization, will again be running a bookstore during the conference in 2014. It’s a great fundraiser that helps Sirens continue, and it means that we get to share a great selection of books by and about women in fantasy.

We will have new books, of course, but a fun part of the bookstore is our used section. Readers can pick up copies of older (and perhaps out of print) books, or try new-to-them authors. Our attendees, our friends, our families, and sometimes people we don’t even know send us fantasy books by or about women, and each of these books will cost our attendees only $5, with the proceeds going toward the conference.

We hope you’ll consider donating your gently used books, both for the support it provides Sirens and also because our attendees are always great next readers. (We also take new books, if you’d like to augment our bookstore with some of our favorites, as donors have done in the past.) If you’d like to send books—new or used—please send them to us at:

Sirens
c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, Colorado 80135

The last day we can visit the box before Sirens is September 19, so please be sure to ship books in plenty of time. If you use the US Postal Service and ship only books, you should be eligible for media mail rates.

 

AUTHOR SIGNINGS
Sirens hosts time for author signings on Friday and Saturday during the conference. If you are a published author attending Sirens and you’d like to participate in our author signings, please email us at (help at sirensconference.org) as soon as possible. We’d love to have you join us.

 

SIRENS AUCTION
Each year, a significant amount of our Sirens expenses are funded through our auction of always interesting, sometimes fun, sometimes important items during the conference. In the past, we have auctioned off everything from reader kits to first editions, from editorial development letters to custom artwork. All of our auction items come from friends and attendees of Sirens, and if you’d like to donate an item or two, please contact Amy at (donate at sirensconference.org).

 

VOLUNTEERING AT SIRENS
Would you like to help out during Sirens? Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but most are fairly short and low-key, and you’re always able to ask a staff member for assistance if you encounter a problem. Most volunteer shifts are during programming and allow you to attend presentations; you might help people find seats, turn microphones on or off, give presenters their five-minute warnings that time is up, and gather lost and found items. See the volunteers page on our website for more details. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just keep an eye out for email from the Google Group. We’ll be sending information about available volunteer shifts to group members. Many thanks in advance!

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
New and Recent Releases:
August2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Prisoner, Lia Silver (June 29)
Night’s End (Indigo Court), Yasmine Galenorn (July 1)
Alias Hook, Lisa Jensen (July 8)
The Shadow’s Curse, Amy McCulloch (July 8)
Dissonance, Erica O’Rourke (July 22)
The Time of the Fireflies, Kimberley Griffiths Little (July 29)
Smiler’s Fair, Rebecca Levene (July 29)

Crushed, Eliza Crewe (August 5)
Dust and Light, Carol Berg (August 5)
Evil Fairies Love Hair, Mary G. Thompson (August 5)
Gates of Thread and Stone, Lori M. Lee (August 5)
The Girl from the Well, Rin Chupeco (August 5)
Greta and the Glass Kingdom (Mylena Chronicles #2), Chloe Jacobs (August 5)
The Guild of Assassins (Majat Code #2), Anna Kashina (August 5)
Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters: Autumn's Secret Gift, Elise Allen and Halle Stanford, ill. Paige Pooler (August 5)
The House of the Four Winds, Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (August 5)
Mortal Danger, Ann Aguirre (August 5)
Of Metal and Wishes, Sarah Fine (August 5)
Revenant (Greywalker #9), Kat Richardson (August 5)
Servants of the Storm, Delilah S. Dawson (August 5)
The Wandering Dragon (Children of the Dragon Nimbus #3), Irene Radford (August 5)

Black Ice (Midgard #2), Susan Krinard (August 12)
Cursed Moon (The Prospero’s War #2), Jaye Wells (August 12)
Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year's Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, Melissa Scott and Steve Berman, eds. (August 12)

Between the Spark and the Burn, April Genevieve Tucholke (August 14)
Fiendish, Brenna Yovanoff (August 14)
Fool's Assassin, Robin Hobb (August 14)
The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, Lauren Magaziner (August 14)
Sisters’ Fate (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #3), Jessica Spotswood (August 14)

The Ripper Affair (Bannon & Clare #3), Lilith Saintcrow (August 19)
Storm Siren, Mary Weber (August 19)
Visions (Cainsville #2), Kelley Armstrong (August 19)

Amity, Micol Ostow (August 26)
Faces of the Dead, Suzanne Weyn (August 26)
Ghost House, Alexandra Adornetto (August 26)
Greenglass House, Kate Milford (August 26)
Feral, Holly Schindler (August 26)
Into the Grey, Celine Kiernan (August 26)
The Island of Excess Love (Love in the Time of Global Warming #2), Francesca Lia Block (August 26)
We Will All Go Down Together, Gemma Files (August 26)
Uni the Unicorn, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ill. Brigette Barrager (August 26)

The Fire Prince, Emily Gee (August 27)

Circle of Stones, Catherine Fisher (August 28, US edition)

 

Interesting Links:
Trailer for Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.

Nnedi Okorafor reads “Poison Fish.”

First episode of Outlander (TV series version) by Diana Gabaldon available August 2.

World Fantasy Award nominees for 2014; Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yabro to receive lifetime achievement awards.

Obituary Note: Mary Rodgers, who might be known to readers of genre fiction as the author of Freaky Friday, passed June 26.

J. K. Rowling expanded the Potterverse with a new short story on Pottermore.com (registration required).

Interested in cover design? Check out the 2014 Chesley Awards finalists.

2014 Locus Awards winners.

You might be familiar with Mette Ivie Harrison’s fantasy work, so you might be interested to know that her forthcoming mystery The Bishop’s Wife is one of Publishers Weekly’s most anticipated books of fall 2014.

Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern.

Trailer for the movie of musical Into the Woods.

Holly Black to write installment in Dr. Who book series.

A good illustration for the existence of Sirens.


Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions!

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
In the not-so-distant past, we had a review squad: volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. We’re pleased to bring back the review squad, and to feature their book reviews in the Sirens newsletter. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you.

 

CityofHeavenlyFireCity of Heavenly Fire
Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments young adult urban fantasy series. The series was originally supposed to be a trilogy, ending with City of Glass, before Clare decided to extend it another three books. As a devoted fan, I eagerly read the second “trilogy” of the series, only to be rather disappointed by the first two books. So if City of Heavenly Fire was going to “save” the series, it had big expectations to live up to—especially considering the ending of City of Glass was pretty much perfect.

City of Heavenly Fire follows Shadowhunter Sebastian Morgenstern, who has chosen to turn against his kind and ally with demons in a bid to take over not only our world, but the demon realms. In his quest for power, he takes the Shadowhunter’s most sacred object, the Mortal Cup, and uses it to create the Infernal Cup, a device capable of stripping Shadowhunters of their souls and turning them into mindless killers loyal to him. Now, Sebastian is determined to turn as many Shadowhunters as possible so he can get revenge on those who wronged him (namely his Shadowhunter mother, Jocelyn, his sister, Clary, and her boyfriend, Jace, of whom Sebastian is jealous) and rule the world. The war that he creates pits Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter and strains their fragile alliances with the faeries, vampires, werewolves and warlocks, threatening to send the entire magical world into chaos and, ultimately, ruin.

While I was hoping for a little more dramatic of a conclusion, I have to say I enjoyed this book. It felt more like the first three, like I was “home” with friends I really cared about. That may be because the group of five (Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Simon) were together through most of the book, giving the story a great group dynamic. Many of the characters retained the signature qualities that made me fall in love with them, while Jace and Simon matured to men who think of others before themselves. While this maturity somewhat dampens Jace’s snarky sarcasm, it also makes him a character worthy Clary’s affection. Simon, too, matures admirably, allowing him to make decisions that change the fate of everyone involved, especially his own.

Some reviewers have criticized the story, saying that while their world is coming to an end, the characters are focused in their love lives and don’t have their priorities straight. First of all, the book is young adult, so it makes sense that the characters will be thinking about love (it’s what you do when you’re a teenager). Plus, it’s not just love interests that consume the thoughts of the characters, but parents, siblings and friends. In many ways, the story is about relationships, with others and with ourselves. It’s about overcoming what we think we want to be able to see what we truly need – all wrapped in a page-turning adventure that will keep you wondering who lives and who pays the ultimate price.

Fair warning: about a third of this book is setup for Clare’s next Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices. The prologue and a subplot are devoted to introducing the next generation of Shadowhunters and getting us to like them enough to want to read their story. It didn’t work with me, and so much time was spent on them with so little impact to the main plot of this book that it felt forced. Similarly, the frequent nods to the Infernal Devices series (the prequel series to this one, set in the Victorian era) also drove me crazy. I didn’t care about past and future. I just wanted to know what happened in this story. But, thankfully, that was something I was able to look beyond.

Despite these shortcomings, City of Heavenly Fire is a good conclusion to the series. While I still think City of Glass was stronger, it was a pleasant reading experience and I’m happy to know how things turned out for my favorite characters. If you’re into the Mortal Instruments, I think this will provide a satisfying conclusion. – Nicole Evelina



Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

The Sirens August 2014 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


Welcome to the new LiveJournal

Some changes have been made to LiveJournal, and we hope you enjoy them! As we continue to improve the site on a daily basis to make your experience here better and faster, we would greatly appreciate your feedback about these changes. Please let us know what we can do for you!

Send feedback

Switch back to old version

LiveJournal Feedback

See a bug? Let us know! Here you can also share your thoughts and ideas about updates to LiveJournal

Your request has been filed. You can track the progress of your request at:
If you have any other questions or comments, you can add them to that request at any time.

Send another report Close feedback form

If you're a LiveJournal user, you will be logged in after submitting your request.

(optional, if you're a LiveJournal user only)

(optional, if you're a LiveJournal user only)

(not shown to the public)

If you have a billing inquiry, please go here to submit your question.

Provide a link to the page where you are experiencing the error

Do not include any sensitive information, such as your password or phone number. No HTML allowed.

If you can't pass the human test, email your inquiry to: support@livejournal.com