MileHiCon 46

It’s that time of year again! MileHiCon 46 is just around the corner, taking place from October 24th through the 26th, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO  80237. Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, October 25, 2014, 4 pm
Poetry Fantastique — Mesa Verde A

I will be moderating the poetry panel this year, as David Lee Summers won’t be able to make it to the convention. I will do my best, and with a panel including Laura Deal, Gail Barton, and the energetic Dr. Rob S. Rice, it should be an easy job.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 11:00 am
Dark Net/Net Neutrality — Wind River A

This is a tech panel about current Internet privacy trends moderated by Arlen Feldman, with panelists Margaret Alia Denny, Deena Larsen, Marc MacYoung, and yours truly.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 4:00 pm
Privacy, Facebook, and Other Social Media — Wind River B

In a similar vein, this is another tech panel focusing on privacy rights in relation to Facebook and other social media platforms. Arlen Feldman is again the moderator (sorry, Arlen, you only get one link), with panelists John Barnes, Kronda Seibert, the mysterious T. Simpson, and myself.

I hope to see some of you there!


My MileHiCon 43 Schedule

It’s October once again, which means MileHiCon is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center on October 21-23, 2011.

I’m not normally much of a convention goer, but I do enjoy attending MileHiCon every year, and I’m honored to be chosen for some panels again this time.  If you’re interested in attending any of my panels, here’s where I’ll be and when I’ll be there.


SF (and Otherwise) Poetry Slam — Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM in Mesa Verde A

Like last year, Rhysling Award nominee David Lee Summers will be moderating this event, and I get to share the panel with Robin M. Ambrozic (author of the Piccolo epic fantasy novels), artist Gail R. Barton, and others to be determined.  This is likely to be less of a poetry slam and more of a reading, if David runs it like he did last year (and I hope he does!)


Sounds Like Steampunk — Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM in Wind River A

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn will moderate this panel.  I’ll join panelists Jason Heller (Westword music writer), artist Alisia Silliman, and David Lee Summers (who is evidently stalking me, or vice versa), presumably to discuss Steampunk’s influence on music.


Polyamory in SF/F — Sunday, October 23, 2011 at Noon in Wind River B

If someone were to create a Venn diagram of SF/F literature and alternative lifestyles (and somebody probably has), the area of intersection would probably be greater than in a similar diagram made about mainstream literature.  This makes sense, because science fiction and fantasy allow for a wide range of thematic exploration, and a number of SF & F authors have explored polyamory in their work.  Join moderator and author Thea Hutcheson, author Jane Bigelow, self-defense author Marc MacYoungLoving More Non-Profit Managing Director Robyn Trask, and Yours Truly as we discuss polyamory in the context of science fiction and fantasy literature.


I hope to see some of you there!

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.

Tem Writing Group

The traffic gods took their revenge on me today. Whereas it only took me 30 minutes to get from Boulder to Aurora last night, it took me an hour and a half to get half that distance tonight. I was 45 minutes late to Melanie’s writing group, but I did have my critiques done and managed to give the writers some quick verbal feedback in addition to the written comments on the manuscripts themselves.

The homework assignment for next time is to write something that’s outside our comfort zone. I still don’t feel entirely comfortable writing SF or fantasy, despite the fact that those are my primary reading choices. However, the spirit of the assignment would suggest that I should write something with which I’m very uncomfortable, like romance or mystery. I don’t know which direction I want to go yet.


Earlier, I wrote an e-mail to a friend (I hope I can call him that) about the death of Poul Anderson, the great science fiction writer who passed away late on July 31st, 2001.  It’s been many years since I read a Poul Anderson book, but I still have several on my bookshelves.

I described to my friend how, even though I had never met Poul, his passing seemed to weaken the infrastructure of science fiction.  There was suddenly another name on my bookshelf without a body to back it up.  While describing this, I realized that it wasn’t the infrastructure of science fiction that I was worried about, but my infrastructure.

I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, starting with Heinlein’s Red Planet and moving on to Bradbury’s R is for Rocket and S is for Space.  I worked through much of the meager science fiction section (at that time, anyway) in the Durango Public Library and started combing the paperback exchange racks for likely books.  I remember one Christmas vacation during which I set a goal to read five of John Norman’s Gor books (yes, I read the schlock, too) and I set up a makeshift tent in my bedroom, complete with beanbag chair, lamp and coaster.  At that time, books were my inspiration.

Now, I have large, double-sided bookshelves in three rooms, filled with all kinds of books, but mostly science fiction.  Though most of them simply sit there, holding each other up, they act as a buttress for my life.  My wife will tell you that I can think of a story or passage, go to a shelf, and pull the book right down.  If I lose track of an important one, I try to keep from panicking until I remember what happened to it or who I loaned it to.  As material items, they are probably not worth much.  As a structure for my life, they are priceless.  As each author passes away, especially from the the Golden Age of science fiction, my world shudders a little.  I still think of the books as my inspiration, but somehow my focus has shifted over the years from the magic in the books to the memory of that magic.  The books themselves are symbols for that memory, and symbols of their authors.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m placing too much importance on these symbols of living people.  My favorite authors will all die someday; a few have come close already, others have already gone.  Should I allow their passing to shake my world so much?

As I think about it, that path leads to despair.  Am I lashing my inspiration to the heartbeats of my favorite authors, using their works as symbols of their lives?  If so, that’s wrong.  An author’s work is a legacy, but it is not the sum total of his or her life, and the work can continue to be inspirational long after the author is gone.  Using their books as  my inspiration for writing is missing the point.

I know that I have more respect for the authors than that, and I know that I can draw inspiration from long dead writers, as I did in my poem “To Keats”, elsewhere on this site.  Yes, the books are important, and I should continue to value them.  But the words are the heart of the matter.  Those books on my shelves are for appreciation, not inspiration.  As I’ve heard “real” writers say, inspiration is everywhere.  I need to get back to focusing on the magic books give me, and look to the world for my ideas.

I guess there’s only one cure for that.  I’d better get to reading again, and I’d better start observing things a little more closely.