One week until I leave for Pi-Con, the friendliest little convention in New England, and quite possibly my favorite. This year I’m particularly excited about going, as Pi-Con has invited me to be their Guest of Awesome. I’ll be cruising down to Enfield, CT next Thursday, by way of Somerville, MA, where I’ll be taking on cargo to be transported to the convention. Once at the hotel, I’ll be sharing a room with last year’s Guest of Awesome, Trisha Wooldridge, The President of Broad Universe. Bring your sunglasses, folks, lest you be blinded by all that brilliance in one room.
My schedule, I must say, is rather daunting:
6:00pm Reading Aloud Workshop
10:00pm Reading (with Lisa Evans)
11:00am Interview with Allen Steele (Guest of Honor)
12:00pm How Do We Make Cons Safe for Everyone? Lisa Evans, Justine Graykin, Shira Lipkin (M), Pygment, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
2:00pm Panel in the Pool: Aliens of the Seas Jeff Warner, Justine Graykin
3:00pm Steampunk Tea
5:00pm Saying ‘Hi’ and Other Forms of Social Interaction Justine Graykin, Kate Kaynak, Dr. James Prego, Pygment (M)
6:00pm The Line Between Realism and Boring Grant Carrington, Mario Di Giacomo, Justine Graykin (M), Allen Steele
7:00pm Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
9:00pm Asexuality: the Ultimate Sexual Taboo? Justine Graykin (M), Ellen Larson, Pygment
10:00am Falling Behind the J-Curve Ari Alpert, Grant Carrington, Justine Graykin (M), David Larochelle
11:00am Building Better Gods Vikki Ciaffone, George W. Claxton (M), Justine Graykin
12:00pm Fiction has no Place in Our Curriculum Justine Graykin, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Kristi Petersen Schoonover
As you can see, I’ll be sharing the mic with some mighty cool folks. Friday I’ll be doing a workshop on reading aloud, helping folks to stop worrying and get past stage fright. Then I get to do a demonstration with my own work. Probably I’ll read from Archimedes Nesselrode yet again, although soon I’ll be switching to promote new work coming out soon. How soon? That question might best be asked of the NH Pulp folks, whose “Love Free or Die” anthology (including my short story “Unbranding”) is imminent. Hoped to have copies of that for the convention, but alas, ’tis not to be. I will, however, have copies of Roberta Gregory’s True Cat Toons, real stories of real cats and their people, which includes the tale of my Twin Black Demons of Chaos.
I get to start off a marathon on Saturday by interviewing SF writer Allen Steele, the Guest of Honor. After that, it’s a gallop from room to pool to room. That’s right, after a busy morning I’ll be relaxing in the pool for a hydrated panel which Jeff Warner describes thusly: ‘Recent reports from neurobiologists on the results of genomic sequencing of comb jellyfish reveal that Ctenophores are from a different branch of the Earthly evolutionary tree. “Parallel Evolution of a Nervous System but with a completely different chemical language, evolving independently from the rest of the animal kingdom.” Join us Floaters, Sinkers, and Punters in a giant container of DiHydrogen Monoxide as we generate lots of hot air!’ About as close to alien life forms on our own world as we can get.
Directly after that, we’ll be attending the Steampunk Tea, and endeavor not to drip on the scones. Thus refreshed, I shall wax eloquent on the topics of Social Interaction for the Shy and Awkward, walking the fine line between making your work realistic but still surprising and exciting (with Allen Steele!), recording the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, and winding up speaking the unspeakable, namely, that maybe everybody doesn’t do it after all, and it’s actually okay. After that I am going to Barfleet and chug the horta.
Then, on Sunday, there’s “Falling behind the J-curve”, which is all about dealing with technological innovation that outpaces one’s ability to keep up. Let’s face it, my brain plasticity ain’t what it used to be. At 11 am I look forward to building better gods, and it’s about time. The old ones are getting pretty worn out. Lastly I and my fellow panelists will talk about the decline of the importance of literature and fictional narratives in school curricula, and the assault on education in general. Science Fiction, where we have dreamed some of our greatest and bravest dreams, has always been marginalized in favor of Literature. But now even Literature is taking a back seat as Common Core tries to cram non-fiction down the throats of students whether it’s developmentally appropriate or not.
There’s way more, like costumes and a drum circle, and Dealers peddling their wares, authors selling their books, parties and filking, gaming and LARPs, and darn it all, I hope I can fit in a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity. All with the friendliest gaggle of geeks you’re ever likely to come across. So, if you’re free next weekend and live in the greater Enfield area, come check it out. (Here’s where it’s at.)
Now, I got to pack up my Winged Snake. I’ll report back after the con.