I have a brief update today, because this weekend I’m (virtually) present at the hybrid virtual science fiction convention Boskone!
I miss actual, in person science fiction conventions. They’re a wonderful way to meet readers and writers and other people who care about books and book-related things, a sort of ritual space within which certain forms and practices are observed year after year—the obvious ones like opening and closing ceremonies and certain repeated parties, of course, but also the less-formal rituals, like the routine death-defying dash across the highway in Novi, Michigan to the suspiciously good Indian restaurant inside the gas station. They’re places where you, passing on your journey, meet others passing on theirs—nerd caravanserai. A good convention is a place of odd moments and synchronicity as much has it is a place of programming and scheduled events. My favorite convention time is spent drifting from hallway conversation to hallway conversation until three in the morning, or crossing a lobby at a rate of five feet an hour, or just sitting in one place as the venue changes. You sit down in someone’s room to have a chat about their experiences doing theater tech, and you turn around an hour later to find that one of the beds has been colonized by a cuddle pile of folk in cat ears. SF fan cons being not exactly for-profit endeavors, they’re often held at airport-adjacent hotels, which creates an added beauty of liminal space. You’ll be deep in an earnest conversation about someone’s machine learning project, and another earnest conversation about Gene Wolfe with someone else at the same table, both at the same time, at two in the morning, as the Air Emirates flight crew wafts in out of the cold wearing their red hats and khaki, bearing the blizzard with them…
I miss real cons, anyway, and I look forward to going back once the toddler / vaccine issue has been settled. (Obligatory glare in the general direction of the FDA.) But virtual conventions have a huge advantage over the physical variety, which is that anyone can attend! So if you have some free time this weekend, drop on by the Boskone website, register, and check out the virtual programming. Here’s my own schedule, eastern time:
VIRTUAL: Solo Reading - Max Gladstone
18 Feb 2022, Friday 21:00 - 21:25, Marina III (Westin)
VIRTUAL: Craft of Writing Conversation with Max Gladstone and Ada Palmer Format: Dialog
19 Feb 2022, Saturday 10:00 - 10:50, Marina III (Westin)
VIRTUAL: Kaffeeklatsch - Max Gladstone
19 Feb 2022, Saturday 15:00 - 15:50, Virtual Kaffeeklatsch (Westin)
VIRTUAL: Pick Your Superpower
19 Feb 2022, Saturday 19:00 - 19:50, Marina III (Westin)
You’ve been bitten by a radioactive bitey-thingy. Suddenly you possess a totally awesome superpower! Which one would you choose, and why: strength, speed, flying, invulnerability? Or perhaps something a bit more unusual: maybe rodentia communication skills, like Squirrel Girl? Or superintelligent nudity, like Doctor Manhattan? Would you use your power for good — or just for a good time? Final question: what color is your cape?
Last Exit Release News!
If you live in the USA, our friends at Porter Square Books can hook you up with a signed copy of Last Exit—just order through this site.
At the moment, it appears we’ll have an actual, in-person launch event for Last Exit at Pandemonium Books and Games, on March 10! Masks and proof of vaccination required. It’s a ticketed event, $5, some portion of which (maybe all of which?) goes against the purchase price of the book. This is all, obviously, subject to change as the pandemic continues to evolve—but it would be great to see some of you face to face.
Take care, stay safe, and happy reading!
Have a great Boskone! I miss cons as well, the liminality and the randomness and the feeling like you're back in college with so much to learn and (relatively) little to worry about.
For what it's worth, I would definitely pick superintelligent nudity in the Pick Your Superpower panel :)