MileHiCon 45

MileHiCon 45 is quickly approaching, and I have yet to publish my panel assignments, so here goes!

Friday, October 18, 2013

I’m not on any panels on Friday, but I will be stopping by in the evening to participate in the Friday edition of the Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, which takes place in the Atrium at 9 PM.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Poetry Fantastique (1PM, Wind River B) – This year’s poetry panel should be excellent.  With the ever-cheerful David Lee Summers moderating and guests like Laura K. DealRobin M. Ambrozic, and Gail Barton, you can expect some excellent verse in general, but this year, it looks like Rhysling Award winner and multiple Pushcart Prize nominee Catherynne M. Valente will be joining us.  I’m honored to share a panel with all of these people.

I don’t have any other panels that day, but I’m looking forward to visiting other panels and participating in the Saturday edition of the Hold ‘Em Tournament.  (I took second place last year. :-))

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Patent-ly Ridiculous (1 PM, Wind River B) – Patent laws are in tremendous flux, with game changers like the international Trans-Pacific Partnership pending and 3D printing becoming more accessible to the average criminal person.  What does the future hold for intellectual property and copyright law?  I’ll be joining Arlen FeldmanVan Aaron HughesThea Hutcheson, and Rebecca Lickiss on this panel.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (4 PM, Mesa Verde A) – How do you know when a story/poem/song/novel/piece of artwork is ready to make its own way in the world? Should it even go out to the world? How true is the idea that a work of art is never truly finished, just abandoned? Join Ronnie SeagrenGary JonasCarrie VaughnRebecca LeeChaz Kemp, and me to wrap up the con.

As usual, MHC45 is being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel – Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver CO.  See you there!

MileHiCon 44

As promised, here is my schedule for MileHiCon 44.  The convention is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the Denver Tech Center from Friday, October 19th through Sunday, October 21st.

Saturday

Online Alphabet Soup, Grand Mesa B-C, 11:00 AM
This promises to be a fun panel about SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, and various other attempts to control the Internet. I’ll be in the esteemed company of Andrew Burt (former SFWA vice president, notorious Critter Captain, founder of the world’s first ISP, and e-publisher of out-of-print works by Ben Bova, among others), Marie DesJardin (technical writer and author of For the Time Being), Arlen Feldman (software developer, computer book author, and recovering costumer), and Doris Beetem (a longtime fixture of MileHiCon and short story author.)

Playing with Participants, Atrium, Table 2, 2 PM
This is an opportunity to sit down for an hour or so and play a game of … something … with me.  Assuming I can find them in the sea of boxes that materialized after my recent move, I’m likely to bring along some of my old Magic: The Gathering decks or my Car Wars boxed edition.  Any takers?

Sunday

Falling Skies, Terra Nova, and Primeval, Mesa Verde A, 12 PM
Join me, Daniel Dvorkin (the writer, not the Chicagoan who hired a hitman to kill a rival businessman), Patrick Hester (from the Hugo nominated Functional Nerds podcast), Christopher M. Salas (Colorado Springs author and martial arts expert), and SFWA Grand Master Connie Willis (!!!) as we discuss the above television shows.  I followed Terra Nova all the way through its short run, and enjoyed it quite a bit, but I’m going to have to brush up on the other two a bit.

Poetry Fantastique, Wind River A, 3 PM
I have the honor of moderating the poetry panel this year, and with guests like Gail R. Barton (who read some wonderful poetry last year), Daniel Landes (Westword writer), Dr. Rob S. Rice (historian specializing in ancient and military history, poet, fiction writer, non-fiction writer, and steampunk fan), and anyone else who happens to show up (Owen Allen and Laura Deal, I’m looking your way), it should be a great hour of poetry. I may even get up the guts to read the steampunk rewrite of “The Windhover” that’s been rolling around in my brain.  (Imagine if Gerard Manley Hopkins had never entered the priesthood, and instead became an early Vorticist or Pre-Raphaelite.  Does your brain hurt yet?)

When I’m not on panels, I’ll probably be checking out other people’s panels, getting books signed, or wandering around with my lovely steampunk-bedecked wife.  I’m looking forward to it!

Speak Out with Your Geek Out: Sense of Community

It’s Speak Out with Your Geek Out week, during which self-described geeks blog about various positive aspects of geek culture.

As an unabashed geek, I’m all over that.

One of the most important aspects of geek culture is the fact that geeks have each other’s backs, as illustrated by the very idea of SOwYGO; Monica Valentinelli came up with the idea after witnessing the development of a geek-bashing thread on a pay-per-click website.  It’s also illustrated by the outpouring of support for one of geekdom’s most brilliant lights: sf/f/h writer, critic, and mentor Edward W. Bryant.

Ed has been a fixture in the speculative fiction world since the early 1970s, when he first began publishing short fiction.  Not long after that, he founded the Northern Colorado Writers Workshop, from which many of the most successful writers in speculative fiction and mystery have graduated, including Connie Willis, Dan Simmons, Melanie Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem, and John Dunning.

Although Ed has published hundreds of stories, essays, and reviews, perhaps his greatest legacy will be his longstanding mentoring in the sf/f/h community.  He is an unabashedly kind man, and has patiently helped hundreds of fledgling writers and pro writers alike improve their writing and critiquing skills.  He is well-spoken, with a resonant, commanding-yet-gentle baritone voice, and he has irresistable charisma and charm.  If we were to apply old-school D&D stats to him, I think his charisma would be a natural 18, and his intelligence would have to be up there, as well.

Ed has been a Type I diabetic since 1968, the same year he attended the Clarion writer’s workshop and launched his writing career.  As he has progressed in years, the diabetes has become a frequent issue due to nerve degeneration.  He recently finished a ten day stay in a Denver-area hospital with a bout of gastroparesis, his fourth in the last three years.  In addition, doctors discovered that his esophagus has slowly been turning to scar tissue over that time, a result of the repeated bouts of gastroparesis.  He also had open heart surgery a few years ago.  The health problems have taken a toll on his writing, and his output has dropped dramatically since the heart surgery.  Unfortunately, this also means his income has dropped accordingly.

Here’s where the geek community shines.  Ed’s friends, students, and neighbors banded together in late 2008 to form the loosely-knit Friends of Ed Bryant organization.  The Friends of Ed Bryant website and Facebook group formed shortly thereafter.  The purpose was to get the word out to all the people who love and respect Ed that his health and finances were in jeopardy; it was time for the geek community to step up and pay back some of what Ed had given to us over the last four decades.  And pay back we did!  Within a couple of weeks, we had enough donations of money, labor, and medical supplies to dig Ed out of the financial bind he was in at the time.

Folks, it’s time to pitch in again.  Ed is currently facing the very real possibility of losing his home due to unpaid property taxes.  Eventually, he will likely sell that house and move into some form of assisted living arrangement, but right now, he needs to get the taxes paid so he can buy time to sell the house.  The Friends of Ed have mobilized again to solicit donations on his behalf, as well as brainstorming ideas to help him out over the long term.  Donations have started rolling in, some as little as $5, others in the hundreds, but we’re still far short of the amount he needs in order to pay the tax bill.  If you can afford anything — even $5 — please consider visiting the Friends of Ed website and giving what you can.  The donations are processed by Paypal and go directly into an account managed by the Colorado Fund for People with Disabilities.  Unfortunately, this is not a tax-deductable donation, but it does go to support one of the kindest, most influential writers in the geek community.  Ed has stood with us for nearly 40 years; it’s time for us to stand in support of one of our own.  Visit the Friends of Ed Bryant website, make a donation, and join the Facebook group to stay in the loop about Ed’s status.

Make me proud, fellow geeks.

Which Science Fiction Writer Am I?

Found at my friend Chuck Anderson’s blog:

I am:

Ursula K. LeGuin

Perhaps the most admired writing talent in the science fiction field.

Which science fiction writer are you?

 

Yes, it’s a completely non-scientific, silly little Internet quiz, but I’m flattered nonetheless.

Generally Excellent Dude

I got a great Father’s Day present today. My son, Keith (MySpace, Facebook), called and said that he had completed his GED!

If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog (yeah, you two, there) you might remember a post I wrote a couple of years ago expressing concern about the alarming dropout rate among high school students, and how it affects the way young adults talk about graduation. Little did I know that only about six months after I wrote that, my own son would drop out, just prior to graduation.

It doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence; he is a smart kid — er, young man — although he hasn’t always made wise choices (as is often the case when one is in one’s late teens.) He passed the GED easily, which is no surprise to me. He is faster than I am at solving a standard 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube, and he can solve the harder 4x4x4 Rubik’s Revenge and even the 5x5x5 Professor’s Cube. His musical, spatial, and artistic talents have always been his strengths, but he is no slouch at poetry, abstract thinking, or math, either. (I have no idea how many digits of π he is currently able to recite, but it’s many times further than my mere 3.1415926535.)

And to top things off, he’s decided to enroll in the Art Institute of Colorado, something that thrills both me and Lannette. We’ve always tried to encourage him to expand upon his natural artistic talents, and now he appears to be doing exactly that.

There have been many times when I’ve been proud of Keith: each time he scored a “1” in his fine arts solo competitions, each time he drew fantastic image that simply sprung from somewhere deep in his mind, each time he told a horrible pun, or even out-geeked me on a geek test. But I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of him than I am right now.

Congratulations, son, on completing your GED and on your choice to continue your schooling. You have grown into a Generally Excellent Dude.