Worldcon #77 – Day 2

Well that was eventful.

I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in a bit this morning because the first thing I had to do was be at the convention centre for 11:00pm as Juliet McKenna was doing a signing. That went very well. We sold a whole bunch of books, both The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Foe. We were very happy.

Immediately after that I was moderating a panel on promoting translations. I was very pleased with that. I had a very knowledgeable panel, including Neil Clarke and Francesco Verso who are doing far more to promote translations than I am. We had an interesting discussion on how awards might help, what sort of awards were needed, and why the proposal for a Best Translated Novel Hugo is a bad idea.

While we were doing that, the Friday Business Meeting was in progress. While they rarely do Objection to Consideration any more, they can ask for a motion to be deferred for a year to allow more discussion to take place, and that’s what happened to the translation Hugo proposal. I do hope that the people who put it forward will listen to people in the translation community over the next 12 months rather than stubbornly bring back the same flawed proposal in Wellington.

During the panel, Julie Nováková said that she’d like someone to revive the SF&F Translation Awards (or something like them). The charitable organisation that we set up for them has been disbanded, but the website still exists and I’d be happy to talk to anyone who wants to take this on.

After the panel and a quick lunch I headed down to the other venue to check out the tech situation for tomorrow. I have to give my robotics talk in one of the Odeon rooms at The Point and I needed to make sure everything would work. These rooms are effectively overflow programming space, which is great because the con is much bigger than anyone initially expected. However, they are actually in an Odeon. The rooms are part of a multi-screen cinema. This means that the seating is great, but there isn’t much of it. Screen 4, where I will be, only seats about 80 people. What’s more, there is a queueing system. You can’t go and wait outside the room. If you don’t go through the official queueing process then you may not get in. Please bear this in mind if you are coming to listen to me tomorrow.

While I was at The Point I had a look around the Art Show which is very impressive. There are a lot of really good artists in there, the show itself is very big, and the large amount of natural lighting it gets is ideal. I have finally got to see some of Emma Newman’s art in the canvas, so to speak, and it is very pretty.

Unfortunately I also managed to lose my phone while I was down at The Point. I put this down to being very tired by that point and not thinking straight. Fortunately I was able to cadge favours of friends (thanks to Kevin & Andy and to Alan) and get the deivice disconnnected, and I didn’t have anything irreplaceable on it anyway, but it does mean that no one can phone me right now. I will go and talk to the phone company tomorrow, but I may not be able to get a new phone with my old number until I arrive in Belfast next week. If any of you are in the habit of contacting me on WhatsApp please bear this in mind.

Back at the Convention Centre, I inhaled a sandwich and headed off to moderate a panel marking the 50th anniversary of The Left Hand of Darkness. I was pleased with that, so thanks again to a great group of panelists. We all agreed that the book is very relevant, even if part of modern society are less hidebound in their attitudes to sex and gender than poor Genly Ai.

During the panel Nick Hubble mentioned Genly’s suspicion that the Gethenians were genetically engineered from baseline humans sometime far in the past. Genly thinks this was an experiment of some sort, but we only have his word for it and the details appear to be lost in the mists of Hainish history. I would love to see someone write a novel that tells the story of how the Gethenians came to be. Obviously there would be copyright issues, not to mention the jaw-dropping terror of trying to write a novel in one of Le Guin’s worlds, put I’m putting the idea out there just in case.

That was me done for the day. Thankfully I don’t have to go to the Business Meeting tomorrow to fight the translation Hugo proposal, so I have time to see about the phone situation. Over lunch I am being interviewed by Scott Edelman for his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Then it is off to The Point to give the Prehistory of Robotics talk.

We may have a solution to the issue of internet access for the Hugo Award Ceremony coverage, but there’s no guarantee that it will work. I must say that I am deeply disappointed at how successive Worldcons continue to not care in the slightest whether we are able to do this coverage. Despite Josh Beatty trying really hard for us, the Award Ceremony Director simply doesn’t have enough clout to make this happen. We have to get made an official part of the convention staff, with someone on the committee who can fight to get us what we need from the outset. I think WSFS Division is the only logical place for us, because we are an official WSFS function. I shall probably rant about this again after the convention.

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Worldcon #77 – Day 1

Well that was full-on. Welcome to Worldcon!

This morning’s main job was to collect the copies of The Green Man’s Foe and get them on sale in the Dealers’s Room. Huge thanks to Catie Murphy for helping with delivery, and to Francesco Verso for giving me space on his table. If you are at Worldcon and want a copy you can find Francesco at the back of the room sandwiched between Luna Press and the people will the big line of black t-shirts.

I know at least a third of the copies have gone already, which is excellent news.

My next job was to find out where Kevin and I, and Susan de Guardiola, would be based for the Retro-Hugo coverage. There were only a couple of people on the convention staff with that knowledge, and it took a while to track them down. Huge thanks to Josh Beatty for giving us our own office.

In between all this I got to a few panels. The convention centre is lovely, and almost right-sized for the convention. One of my Finnish friends told me that she had queued for two panels and not been able to get in, but I got to all of the panels I wanted without much queueing. There’s a major issue with traffic flow on the Wicklow floor, but the convention is working hard to get something in place. Everything else seems to be working fine, though I haven’t got to the other venue yet.

I went to two panels on translation, which were interesting, and one very well attended panel for queer fans, which was heartwarming. I’ll be doing another translation panel tomorrow. It is good to see so much cross-cultural stuff happening.

This evening saw the Opening Ceremonies and Retro-Hugo Awards. Kevin and I made a decision to do live coverage of this as a trial run for Sunday. The software we normally use for these things is no longer available, and we wanted to give the replacement a run out before the Big Show. We are so glad that we did, because in the process we discovered that the Internet connection we had is terrible. We barely made it through the evening. On Sunday, when the auditorium will be full of people using their phones to do their own coverage, and thereby using up bandwidth, it will be impossible. So we have 2.5 days to find an alternative connection. I do hope the convention has something it can let us have.

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Worldcon #77 – Day -1

Hello Dublin, thank you for having us!

I am safely arrived at my apartment for the week. It is a lovely little Air BnB near the Castle. The travel all went more or less according to plan, despite the best attempts of the West Country weather to have everyone phoning Mr. Noah to ask if he still has that big boat. I haven’t got to the convention centre yet, but I know how to get there and have bought a ticket for the Luas (the city tram network).

Dublin is teeming with fannish persons. When I arrived a flight from Helsinki had just disgored a legion of Finns. I knew three of my fellow passengers on my flight, and several others were clearly fans from their dress and hair color. I ran into John Picacio while I was out shopping for supplies.

The other thing I have been doing today is making sure that The Green Man’s Foe is available online tomorrow. Amazon and Kobo should go live at midnight. B&N and Google may take a little longer. And of course the ebooks will bbe available through the Wizard’s Tower shop.

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Book Review – Gods of Jade and Shadow

The folks at Jo Fletcher Books are doing some great work at the moment, picking up the UK rights for US books that everyone is talking about but that the larger UK publishers don’t want. Am I susprised that an imprint run by a woman is picking up hot books by WoC writers that aren’t selling elsewhere? I don’t think I am.

Anyway, enough of the publishing industry gossip, you want to know about the book. Mayan gods in 1920s Mexico. From a Mexican writer. Need I say more? Of course not. Gods of Jade and Shadow is the latest from Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It is well worth a look. My review is here.

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The WSFS Agenda

With Worldcon almost upon us, it is time once more to descend into that pit of despair, the WSFS Business Meeting. What delights of Parliamentary Procedure are in store for us this year?

The Agenda for this year’s Business Meetin is available here. There doesn’t seem to be anything urgent to debate on Friday. The days when it was necessary to pack the Friday meeting to prevent conservative fans from squashing important motions with Objection to Consideration motions seem to be finally over. Besides, there’s nothing I’m desperate to see get discussed.

Much of the main business, which will be debated on Saturday morning, is either ratification of items passed in San José, or clean-up of the Constitution. The Nit-Picking & Fly-Specking Committee has been doing its usual fine job of spotting side effects of new regulations and quietly proposing simple ways of bringing everything into line. However, there are a couple of new proposals that will doubtless spark debate.

Motion D1: Clarification of Worldcon Powers, is a NP&FS Motion, but it is one that is personally important to me. What it does it make it clear than an individual Worldcon has no power over the Hugo Awards from previous years, administered by other Worldcons. For years after I won my first Hugo, people were saying that an “error” had been made, and that the award should be rescinded because I should never have been allowed on the ballot in the first place. I don’t want this to happen to other people.

Motion D7: Five and Five, would remove the system of having 6 finalists each year. This was put in place as one of the anti-Puppy measures. Those who study the voting figures claim that is has very little effect, and the EPH system is sufficient protection going forward. But why remove it? I have heard people saying that it is just to make life easier for Hugo Administrators. I don’t think that’s the argument being made. The main issues are the amount of reading that has to be done by voters, and the size of the pre-Hugo reception. In practice 6 finalists isn’t a huge problem for voters except in categories that involve novels. But with the Lodestar we have two novel categories, and we have Series which is a nightmare for voters to judge fairly. So there’s something of a point there. As to the reception, this has always been a nightmare for Worldcons, both in terms of the expense and finding a suitable venue that is both large enough and close enough to the auditorium. That nightmare will have been getting steadily worse as we have added more categories. I can quite see why those who run the event hate the 6 Finalists rule.

Motion D9: Non-transferability of Voting Rights, is one that I think will divide the meeting. I can see merits both ways. Personally I am generally in favour of anything that strengthens the bond between the member and WSFS. People buying a membership of Worldcon tend to see themselves as members of that Worldcon, not members of WSFS, when in fact they are both. Obviously there will be old time fans who will see this as creeping corporatisation of WSFS, but I think the time when a cry of, “To the Barricades! No WSFS Inc!!!”, could pack the meeting are long gone. Where I think this motion will attract opposition is from people who see it as taking away their right to re-sell their voting rights, which it does. But as long as membership of WSFS is relatively cheap I don’t have a problem with that. It will enlarge the voter pool, which is a good thing.

There may be some very convoluted arguments about whether Supporting Memberships and WSFS Memberships are, or should be, the same thing. It is complicated.

Motion D11: Clear Up the Definition of Public in the Artist Categories Forever, is all very well in theory, but is certainly not going to achieve what it says on the tin. There are always going to be new wrinkles in definitions as long as the pro/fan distinction exists. All we can hope for is that this reduces the number of issues. I have no idea whether it will.

Motion D12: Best Translated Novel, is one I’d like to speak to if I am still at the meeting (I have a 12:00 appointment elsewhere). No one I know in the translation community is in favor of this. Neil Clarke has laid into it here. Knowing how much the WSFS community hates the idea of a work being eligible in more than one Hugo category, I fully expect there to be an amendment to this proposal that would also bar translated novels from the Novel category, and possibly Series and the Lodestar as well. Even if such an amendment doesn’t get through, I think that the existence of this category will encourage people to think that translated works are not eligible for any other Hugo category. It is hard enough now to persuade people that they are eligible, even though they always have been. We don’t want to be stuck in a ghetto, so please don’t pass this.

Motion D13: Best Game or Interactive Experience, is something I think will have to happen at some stage in some form. I’m not a sufficient expert on the game industry to tell whether this is a good solution or not. Given that the last trial of a game category was 13 years ago, I’d like to see a trial category run before we make anything like this permanent.

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Book Review – The Undoing of Arlo Knott

The last couple of weeks have seen me in Bristol to do events with local author, Heather Child. I hosted a launch event for her new novel, The Undoing of Arlo Knott, and then interviewed her on my radio show. Obviously I needed to read the book, so I have done a review. I’m really impressed with the path that Heather is crafting for herself in the field. It is light years away from the sort of space opera that Gareth Powell is writing these days, but it is nevertheless very thoughtful science fiction. Also Orbit have outdone themselves on the promotional materials. You can find the review here.

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Interview – Regina Wang

This is the other interview that I promised you from Åcon X. Regina and I had a chat about her work promoting Chinese SF around the world. Here are links to some of the things we talked about.

Regina, Chen Quifan and Neil Clarke will all be at Worldcon in Dublin. Knowing Regina, she’s probably going to the Eurocon as well.

Chen Quifan is doing an event in London tonight.

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Book Review – The Calculating Stars

I have a Hugo finalist up for review today. I, of course, voted for Space Opera, because I think Cat Valente is a genius. However, I expect Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars to win. If you want to know why, and why it didn’t quite work for me, you can find my review here.

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Writing Historical Fiction Symposium

This is very much advance notice. I’ll be pushing it much more once I am back from Ireland. But in November (assuming that the UK has not descended into full scale civil war) I am going to be giving a workshop on “Writing Queer Characters from the Past” at a symposium on writing historical fiction at Bath Spa University. The date is Saturday, November 16th. The fee including lunch is £85, though there are concessions available for students. Full details here.

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Tourism in Dublin

Some of you are in Ireland already, and many more are on the way. Obviously there is Worldcon to look forward to, and a fair amount of Irish history (particularly if you count yourself as part of the diaspora), but many of you will be interested in that thing that Ireland is justifiably famous for: alcohol.

I don’t know what the convention centre bars are like, but if they are rubbish I suspect that a lot of us will end up in the Porterhouse on Temple Bar. It happens to be just a short walk from my apartment, and as I recall it is the traditional Dead Dog location for Octocon. Anyway, they will have a good selection of microbrews.

Then there is the matter of whiskey. Are there distilleries? Yes, there are. Can you visit them? Of course. Here’s a quick guide.

First up, don’t bother with Jamesons. I understand that they don’t actualy make whiskey in Dublin any more, and in any case what’s the point in looking for whiskey that you can buy at home. Also Bushmills is in Ulster. Wait until you get to Belfast before asking for that. Thankfully Dublin has seen an explosion of craft distilleries in recent years.

The Tourist Information lady I talked to in Dublin back in February recommended Pearse Lyons and Teeling. My local whiskey shop in Bath added Liberties and Dingle. And there’s also Roe & Co, which I know nothing about. All of these places are right in the centre of Dublin in and around the Liberties district, so south of the river and west of the castle.

If visiting all of those places seems like a bit much, you should be able to get an overview of the field at the Irish Whiskey Museum. You can sample what’s available at the Dingle Whiskey Bar (at least I hope you can, they do have a connection to the Dingle distillery so they may be a teeny bit biased). And you can buy bottles to take home from the Celtic Whiskey Shop.

Most of these distilleries are quite young. I think they all have product available now, but it won’t have had much ageing.

That should keep you all busy during your trip. However, there’s one more place that I’d like to visit if I have the time. That is the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum. I don’t suppose it is entirely devoted to Horslips, and Thin Lizzy do deserve a place. I gather that there’s another Irish rock band that is quite famous too. Anyway, it seems like fun.

Posted in Conventions, Music, Travel, Whisky | 2 Comments

Reviews Come In

Reviews for The Green Man’s Foe are starting to come in. There is a rather spoilery, but very enthusiastic, one up on The Monday Review. Michele is less spoilery, but no less enthusiastic, on Goodreads, where you can also find comments from KJ Charles and Jacey Bedford.

Meanwhile Juliet informs me that The Green Man’s Heir now has 125 reviews on Amazon UK, with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

I am so very happy for her.

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Today on Ujima – Mexican Food, Poetry, Fiction & Renewables

Today I was in the studio at Ujima with lots of studio guests.

First up I welcomed Graham from My Burrito, a fabulous Mexican eatery in Bristol. We had a great chat about the glories of Mexican food. I was hungry by the end of it, as were Ben, my engineer, and Keziah, the studio manager. You probably will be too.

Next in the hot seat was Tom Denbigh, Bristol’s first LGBT+ Poet Laureate. I met Tom at an event that was part of Bristol Pride and loved the poem he read so I knew I had to get him on the radio. Sadly Ofcom rules about swearing on air rather limited what he could read. It’s about time the regulations caught up with everyday speech.

Guest three was Heather Child, who was no problem to interview as I had already done it last week at her book launch. We talked again about The Undoing of Arlo Knott and the various places where you can find out more about the book.

Finally I was joined by Jon Turney from Zero West to talk about local renewable energy projects.

Much of the music I played was inspired by my time doing the live coverage of Bristol Pride. The full playlist was:

  • Boney M – By the Rivers of Babylon
  • Pointer Sisters – Fire
  • Shea Freedom – Woman’s World
  • Nina – Calm Before the Storm
  • Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
  • Eddy Grant – Baby Come Back
  • Chi-Lites – Give More Power to the People
  • Boney M – Brown Girl in the Ring

You can listen to the whole show for the next few weeks via the Ujima Listen Again service.

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Farah & Cathy on DWJ

I entirely forgot to make a post about last month’s radio show because I was in Finland when it aired. As I’m in the middle of prep for this month’s show, I have been reminded of this and need to do something about it, because there were some good interviews in the show.

One of them is with Regina Wang, which I plan to get online before Worldcon. The other is with Farah Mendlesohn and Cathy Butler, which is slightly more urgent because it is about an event that is taking place this coming weekend – the conference on Diana Wynne Jones that they are running in Bristol (and which I can’t go to because I am swamped with work).

Farah and Cathy are always good value for a chat, but there is no better subject to set them off on than Diana. I hope you enjoy the interview.

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The OutStories Bristol AGM

Regular readers will know that each year at the OutStories Bristol AGM we have a lecture from a respected academic on some aspect of LGBT history. This year I am delighted to announce that our guest lecturer will be Professor Jennifer Ingleheart from the University of Durham. She will be talking about the Classical influences of the poet, AE Housman. The meeting is on October 5th, at the Wills Memorial Building, Bristol University. Full details are available on the OutStories Bristol website.

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Thinking Beyond – Transversal Transfeminisms

As you might have guessed, that is the title of an academic conference. It is a bit of a mouthful, but basically it was a feminist conference about trans issues. It look place at the University of Roehampton in London last week, and I was one of the speakers.

You can find the full schedule for the day here. Sadly UIrika Dahl was unable to attend due to illness, but the rest of the conference went ahead as planned.

Because the conference was advertised online it came to the attention of the transphobe mob on Mumsnet, who unsurprisingly lost their collective shit about it. If you want to see the nonsense that they come up with, just Google the conference title. This had two main consequences. Firstly the trans student group that was going to be involved had to withdraw because they were concerned about their safety. (One of the haters’ favorite games is to take unflattering photos of trans people and post them online accompanied by a sea of insults and, if they can get it, doxing data.) The other was that for the first time in my life I attended an academic conference that had a security guard on duty at all times. Thanks Pavel, you were great.

Interestingly, of the 8 speakers, 6 were cisgender women. The claim that the haters speak for all women is really utter nonsense.

I won’t go through all of the talks because much of it is fairly niche stuff, but Erzsébet Barát’s description of life in Hungary under the government of Viktor Orbán was chilling, and could prove a forecast of what the UK will be like should Boris Johnson still be Prime Minister at the end of the year. Sadly there are always women who are prepared to go along with far-right regimes and preach a form of “feminism” that puts women’s lives firmly in the control of men.

The really bizarre thing about right-wing Hungarian “feminists” is that they describe their views as being in opposition to that awful neo-liberal capitalist form of feminism known as “intersectional feminism”. The capacity of the far right to re-define words to mean what they want never ceases to amaze me.

The other country I learned a lot about at the conference was India. My thanks are due to Sarah Newport (I’ve found your thesis, Sarah, and look forward to reading it), and also to Antonia Navarro Tejero who introduced me to a work of Indian feminist science fiction.

Manjula Padmanabhan is an Indian SF writer who is working on a trilogy of novels about a young person called Meiji. The first book, Escape, is set in a country in which all women have been exterminated. As the title suggests, Meiji, who was assigned female at birth, manages to escape, and book 2 is set on The Island of Lost Girls. This, of course, is the place where women survivors have fled to. But, as all Suzy McKee Charnas fans will know, that doesn’t mean it is a utopia.

Listening to Antonia talk about the books, it is clear that Padmanabhan is in conversation with Joanna Russ and Charnas. My guess is that she has read both The Female Man and The Holdfast Chronicles. What is interesting and different about her books is that there are a whole lot of trans people in them.

Book 3 isn’t out yet, but I have bought the first two books to see what they are like. That wasn’t easy. Amazon appears to be deliberately hiding them. If you search for “The Island of Lost Girls” you won’t find Padmanabhan’s book even though that’s a full and almost-unique title. I had to search for “The Island of Lost Girls Manjula” to find it. And the two books aren’t linked either.

Anyway, I will read the books and report back. In the meantime, does anyone know anything about Manjula Padmanabhan? Mimi, Tasha, Aisha, Samit?

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Finncon – The Report

With profuse apologies for taking so long, I have finally done a report from Finncon. Having done so I found to my horror that I hadn’t done a con report since 2015. I need more space in my time to write (and to edit audio).

Anyway, there is now a Finncon report. The tl;dr is that it was amazing and I had a wonderful time. But there’s a whole lot of stuff that went on, and you can read about it here.

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ESFS Awards Finalists

Those of you who are attending the Eurocon in Belfast after Worldcon will get to see the ESFS Awards in action. They are a very different beast from the Hugos, necessarily so because the members of the convention are unlikely to be familiar with most of the finalists because they don’t speak the necessary languages. Instead the ESFS Awards work on a system of national delegations, thereby ensuring equal representation for each member country. The full rules are available here.

The finalists for this year’s ESFS Awards have been announced, as reported by Europa SF. I don’t have a vote, but I am familiar with some of the finalists. Here are a few quick comments.

In Best Author, most people will be familiar with Charlie Stross. That may not count in his favour as delegates tend to mark down people who write in English precisely because they are so much more likely to be translated. I’m hoping for a win for Maria Turtschaninoff who has written some amazingly good feminist fantasies. I’d be happy with a win by Aleksandar Žiljak as well because he has a story in the anthology of Croatian SF that I published.

In Best Artist I’d love my friend Ninni Aalto to win, but it is a tough field with a bunch of professional illustrators, some of whom undoubtedly work internationally.

In Best Publisher I’m rooting for my pals Pete Crowther (PS Publishing) and Francesco Verso (Future Fiction). Pete has a huge track record, while Francesco deserves recognition for his commitment to translations.

In Best Promoter I note that Petra Bulić has worked tirelessly for Croatian fandom for decades (who remembes the Zagreb in ’99 Worldcon bid?), but Toni Jerrman absolutely deserves all of the awards for Tähtivaeltaja.

The only one of the Translator finalists that I know personally is Marko Fančović. Fingers crossed for him.

In Work of Fiction I’d like to highlight Mats Strandberg’s Slutet. Lots of people at Åcon were enthusing about this book. It has a 4-star rating from over 100 reviews on Goodreads. Mats tells me that an English translation has been made because there’s interest from TV companies. It needs an English language publisher.

If you happen to be a member of a national delegation, please take note.

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EuroCon Schedule

The programme for TitanCon, this year’s Eurocon, does not appear to be on their website yet, but it is on Grenadine so I guess it is public. Here’s what I am doing:

Small Press
22 Aug 2019, Thursday 16:00 – 17:00, Lagan A (Hilton Belfast)

Small Press publishers are the backbone of the SF&F industry. Our panel will be sharing experiences, insights and anecdotes. Pedro Cipriano (Editorial Divergência), Ms Cheryl Morgan (Wizard’s Tower Press) (M), Carole Parker ms

Writing Vulnerable Men
23 Aug 2019, Friday 17:00 – 18:00, Lagan A (Hilton Belfast)

A look at the presentation of non-stereotypical male characters in SF&F. Ms Cheryl Morgan (Wizard’s Tower Press) (M), Ian McDonald, Zoë Sumra

The Matrix – 20 years on
24 Aug 2019, Saturday 13:00 – 14:00, Lagan A (Hilton Belfast)

In 1999, cinema viewers across the world were asked “What is The Matrix?” Twenty years on, the question still remains. On its face a groundbreaking SFX blockbuster, it can be read as a transgender parable, a treatise on the Philosophy of Mind, an object lesson on the dangers of Sequelitis, and more. Ms Cheryl Morgan (Wizard’s Tower Press) (M), Dyrk Ashton (Paternus Books Media), Flickums (Royal London Group), RB Kelly

Yes, I am moderating all three of those. I am also moderating every panel I have been put on at Worldcon. Someone has obviously got a reputation.

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Book Review – Empress of Forever

With Worldcon season fast approaching, a reviewer’s mind tends to turn to chrome rockets. We know who is in the running this year, but what of the crop of hopefulls who will be wending their way to Wellington in 2020 (assuming they are able to make the trip)? Max Glastone, I suspect, will have at least two reasons to go. This is How You Lose the Time War (co-written with Amal E-l-Mohtar) will probably be in the Novella category, and Empress of Forever has a good shot at Novel.

There are many people who are capable of writing light-hearted, entertaining novels. There are also many people capable of writing very serious and thoughtful novels. Few people can do both in the same book. Terry Pratchett was a master at it. Cat Valente cracked it with Space Opera. And now Max has done the same with Empress of Forever. To find out more, check out my review.

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My Worldcon Schedule

The final programme allocations for Worldcon were released today. Here’s where you can find me:

Bridging the language barrier: translated SFF

16 Aug 2019, Friday 12:00 – 12:50, Wicklow Hall-1 (CCD)

How has the landscape of translated SFF changed in the last decade or so, both into English and from English into other languages? We’ve seen translated pieces triumph in the genre’s prime awards and gain dedicated magazines, the attention of more readers, and many specialised anthologies. The panel will discuss trends in translated genre fiction as well as possible future directions.

Cheryl Morgan (M), Julie Novakova, Neil Clarke, Francesco Verso, Emily Xueni Jin

Anniversary: The Left Hand of Darkness

16 Aug 2019, Friday 20:00 – 20:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)

It is the 50th anniversary of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. For many, this book has been an eye-opening presentation of gender. How has it influenced and shaped gender in SFF books? Where has the genre gone since?

Cheryl Morgan (M), Laura Lam, Dr Nick Hubble, Ell Schulman

Robots before RUR

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 15:30 – 16:20, Odeon 4 (Point Square Dublin)

The word ‘robot’ was coined by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek, for his play, Rossum’s Universal Robots, first performed in 1921. However, the idea of artificial human-like machines is far older. Cheryl Morgan takes us on a tour of the prehistory of robotics to see how artificial beings were imagined, and even built, by visionaries of the past.

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