New York Comic Con 2014 Schedule

NYCC logo

New York Comic Con is around the corner, and I’m pleased to announce two panels that I will be moderating.

Geeks of Color_matrix

Thursday, October 9th
8- 8:45 PM
Room: 1A18

How can fans of color become successful creators? Experienced PoC in TV, publishing, comic books, gaming, and pop culture journalism offer their advice. With LeSean Thomas (producer, BLACK DYNAMITE: THE ANIMATED SERIES; animator, THE LEGEND OF KORRA; Director/Lead Character Designer, THE BOONDOCKS), Tracey J. John (Journalist, MTV.com; Gameloft), Alice Meichi Li (illustrator, Dark Horse), Daniel José Older (author, HALF-RESSURECTION BLUES); Jennifer Cruté (illustrator/writer, JENNIFER’S JOURNAL), & I.W. Gregorio (author, #WeNeedDiverseBooks). Moderated by Diana Pho (editor, Tor Books).

Full panelist bios & RSVP on Facebook.

YesAllGeeks banner

Saturday, October 11th
3 – 3:45 PM
Room: 1A21

After years of silence, people have become more vocal about speaking against harassment in fandom. How can our community unite and make our spaces – online and offline – safer from creepers of all stripes? Featuring panelists Mikki Kendall (writer & activist, @karnythia), Marlene Bonnelly (blogger, @ilikecomicstoo), Kaye M (writer & founder of #YesAllWomen), Emily Asher-Perrin (blogger, Tor.com), Robert Anders (nurse practitioner). Moderated by Diana M. Pho (editor, Tor Books).

HAVE A QUESTION FOR THE PANEL? We’re creating a Q & A from questions submitted to us beforehand. You can post those on our event page or submit via Twitter hashtag #YesAllGeeks by October 10th.

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Kriti Festival Schedule

Kriti Logo

This weekend, I’ll be at the Kriti South Asian arts and literature festival in Chicago from September 25-28, 2014, at the University of Illinois as a guest editor for science fiction & fantasy. My schedule is below — hope to see some of you there!

Friday, September 26th:

Friday 10 – 10:50
Q&A with Editor Diana Pho: Daley Library, Room 1-470
Pho answers every question you’ve ever had about book editors and publishers — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Diana Pho.

Friday 12 – 12:50
Paths to Publication (brown bag lunch): Daley Library, Room 1-470
What are today’s alternatives to “traditional” publishing, and how do you decide if one of them is good fit for you? The publishing industry has undergone, and continues to undergo, massive and rapid change. The array of publishing options now runs the gamut from traditional publishing to self-publishing, each with its own characteristics. What is happening in the middle of the spectrum? How is a writer to decide what path to follow? What are the relative pros and cons, and what are the questions to ask oneself in order to ensure a positive publishing experience? This panel will address small press publishing, self-publishing, crowdfunding, social media, and more. As it occurs over lunchtime, please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch. (Anjali Mitter Duva, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Rajdeep Paulus, Diana Pho)

Friday 2:00 – 2:50
Writing and Arts Activism: Institute for the Humanities, open room
How does one build a life in the arts while also using the arts as advocacy? An open discussion.
(Shikha Malaviya, Fawzia Mirza, Anu Singh Chaudhary, Meeta Kaur, Diana Pho)

Saturday, September 27th

Saturday, 11:00 – 11:50
Crossing Genre Boundaries: Daley Library, Room 1-470
We’ve all seen the epic South Asian family novel, a tale of marriage and politics and history and social conflict. What other kinds of S. Asian fiction is out there? Who are our science fiction and fantasy writers, our mystery, spy novel, romance, and political thriller authors? Writers discuss the challenges of breaking out of the ‘literary’ ghetto as an ethnic writer, and recommend favorite work in other genres. (Vidhu Aggarwal, Sonali Dev, Phiroozeh Romer, Mina Khan, Diana Pho)

Saturday 12:00 – 12:50
Q&A with Editor Diana Pho: Institute for the Humanities, open room
Pho answers every question you’ve ever had about book editors and publishers — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Diana Pho.

Sunday, September 28th

Sunday, 12:00 – 12:50
Ask the Editor: Institute for the Humanities, open room
Editors gather to discuss their work, and invite your questions.
(Syed Haider, Pooja Garg Singh, Diana Pho)

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Help out The Jupiter Chronicles Create an Animated Short

Juniper Chronicles

Leonardo Ramirez, young adult author, has a dream: to create an animated short of his young adult steampunk series The Jupiter Chronicles. With the cooperation of Magnetic Dreams Studios — and readers like yourselves interested in diversity in children’s entertainment — he hopes to make that dream come true.

Ramirez plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign to help fund his goal. Interested in learning more about The Jupiter Chronicles? From his website is the series premise:

Ian Castillo is a young boy who, together with his sister Callie, discover their secret; they are the son and daughter of a Jovian king whose world had been subjugated by the evil Lord Phobos of Mars. After a great battle was fought they returned to the steam-powered world of Jupiter where Fireflights and Skyrockets rule the air. Now, as part of the newly reborn Chrono Legion, Ian struggles to find his place in a world powered by steam. The fate of the Jovian Realms are in his hands as he fights against the Martian Doomslayers and seeks to protect Earth from what is to come. A much deeper struggle lies within him. With no father to guide him, Ian desperately searches for the answer to the question he’s been asking himself all of his life:

Why did my father leave me?

Readers can check out his website for more information, including details about the talented creative team behind The Jupiter Chronicles, and watch that space for details about their upcoming crowd-funding venture. You can also sign up for their mailing list here.

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On Dragon*Con: Talking about Current Events and Steampunk

Ferguson_DCon_room

Dragoncon attendees stand with Ferguson at the Race and Gender Issues in Alternate History panel.

Dragon*Con has always been a highlight of my convention circuit. This year consisted of five panels, lots of interesting discussion, new faces and old, plus raising money for a good cause. I’m especially grateful for the sincere responsiveness and discussion at the Race and Gender Issues in Alternate History panel that happened on Saturday, where the audience showed their solidarity for the events in Ferguson. I also want to thank the many, many attendees who bought black ribbons and donated to the Mike Brown Legal Defense Fund while I was on-panel.

 

Ferguson_DCon_panel

With panelists (from right to left): Diana Pho, Emmett Davenport, Michael Martinez, Stephanie Osborn, Milton Davis, and Tony Ballard-Smoot.

I’ve received some pushback from readers who asked, “Why bring personal politics to an alternate history panel/ a steampunk blog?” First of all, I am mystified by the idea that people thought that my work in steampunk isn’t political, especially since the blog’s mission statement since its founding in 2009 states:

Steampunk, because it’s an aesthetic & a subgenre inspired by a time period fraught with a complex social and political history, is never apolitical. The nineteenth century was a time of intellectual achievement, innovation, and geopolitical expansion. At the same time, that greatness came at the expense of slavery, oppression, social inequality, and racism. These problems did not go away once the Victorian era ended, and in fact, the social scars are still visible upon our society today. So when speaking about steampunk from non-Eurocentric settings, difficult issues about race, class, marginalized histories, and cultural appropriation will be addressed.

Also, some thoughts about the role of alternate history in our lives. Speculative fiction is based on fantasies and people usually interpret that as irrelevant to daily life. But the power of a fantasy is related to everyday experiences and histories. Stories that intrigue are stories that people connect with, compare to, or contrast against their own personal stories — even when based on an alternate history or in deep space or in another world entirely. In fact, the significance of steampunk’s “what if?” premise is lost if the reader can’t compare that “what if” to the actual events that the story is playing against. The function of alternate history itself is based on exploring new stories based on the stories we already know (or presume to know).

Reading steampunk is not only entertaining, but it is engaging because it actively posits that the reader understands historical realities. For example, in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, when she talks about the dangers that Captain Croggon Buearegard, a former slave and airship captain, faces, or the resistence of occupied New Orleans, or the importance of Mexican government officials investigating these yellow-sap zombies, or just the awesomeness of Princess (and she is awesome)–all of that conflict and adventure is forgrounded by the complexisies of the Civil War and the roles various minority groups had.

Another example is Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s “The Governess and We”  from Steampunk World: a story of spycraft in Siam during the reign of King Mongkut. This is also a story about three women, two fictional and one historical: Aunrampha the palace spymaster to the Thai throne, the tinker Ging, and Anna, popularly-known as the English governess to the King (and also not as known, a mixed race Anglo-Indian woman and a suffragette). The King and I is what the West knows about Anna Leonowens’ time in Siam, but Sriduangkaew changes our perceptions of the truths we take for granted from one fictional story by presenting us with another based on other histories.

So when we look at events like Ferguson and people say, “How could this happen?” they are saying this because they have only heard one particular set of stories about life in the US. If they blame the people of Ferguson for overreacting or putting their police force in a bad light, they are believing one story over reality.  Everyday we are bombarded by biased media and perceptions we take for granted as “normal”.  Speculative fiction — especially steampunk — overtly create gonzo, funhouse mirror reflections of our own society, but in that process show how our “normalities” are equally based on fictions.

In this particular case, taking a stance on Ferguson on this blog is taking a side with what I think steampunk does.  Storytelling itself is never neutral, apolitical, ahistorical, or a pointless fantasy, but communicates with the world around us. Stories can bridge the chasms of misunderstanding that form between people through empathy. For a genre based on lies about reality, steampunk requires you to understand our reality deeply in order to appreciate the lie. And by seeing through the lies, you can also find a reason to fight for a greater truth.

DragonCon_Ferguson

Over $200 dollars was raised on-panel from attendee donations.

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Power Plays and Indian Steampunk in Eric Brown’s Jani and the Greater Game

image

Janisha Chatterjee is a woman tangled up in layered identities. She lives during the heyday of British imperial rule, which is powered by mysterious technology known as Annapurnite. The privileged daughter of an Indian government official, Jani is an accomplished citizen of Empire—modern, secular, and studying medicine at Cambridge. She feels increasingly at odds, however, with the world around her: not fully fitting in as a mixed-race woman on the streets of London or in the market squares of Delhi. She also has growing reservations about the Raj, despite her father’s accomplishments as Minister of Security.

When her father falls gravely ill, she takes the first dirigible back east. The Rudyard Kipling’s journey, unfortunately, is cut short by a Russian attack that kills nearly everyone on board. One of the few survivors amongst the wreckage, Jani discovers that the airship had been transporting a most unusual prisoner. This stranger bestows a dangerous gift to Jani that reveals the British Empire’s source of military might…. and a dire warning about a threat which endangers the entire world.

Read the review on Tor.com

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Dragon*Con Announcements: Black Ribbons for #Mike Brown and #Ferguson

Viceroy Chang, cyborg steampunk panda and my convention companion,  has an very important message to our readers:

Viceroy_hands-up

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!”

See? He’s a pretty up with current events and both of us have been upset about the violence happening in Ferguson against protesters after the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO.  Often, it’s easy to slip into the “convention bubble” and ignore the serious issues affecting others. Like how we should keep the “punk” in steampunk, we should also work toward dismantling historically-created systems of oppression when we see it, and not just make it our Alt Hist fantasy.

Dragon*Con is coming up in less than a week. Along with conducting an array of panels and meeting with book people (contact me for available appointments), at the convention I will be wearing and selling black ribbons in protest against police brutality and the death of Mike Brown. Ribbons will be “pay-as-you-wish” — I’ll accept anything from a copper Abe Lincoln to a Benjamin.

Black Ribbon Against Police Brutality

Black Ribbon Against Police Brutality

All proceeds will be donated to several organizations to help the citizens of Ferguson & the Brown family when I return from the convention. The orgs haven’t been chosen yet, because I don’t know which ones will still need support in a couple of weeks, but it will be one or two on this list of grassroots organizations (EDIT 8/25: NEW LINK HERE). People are, of course, welcome to donate directly to any of them now.

For those of you who don’t know my face (and hey, with thousands of congoers, it can get pretty hectic), I’ll be sporting this arm band while walking around the con. Feel free to flag me down to donate and ask for a ribbon.

hands up

Look for the black armband

Please signal-boost widely, and I’ll see some of you in Atlanta!

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Pre-order STEAMPUNK WORLD from Alliteration Ink

Steampunk World

Steampunk World_Kickstarter

 

The day has come. STEAMPUNK WORLD is now available for pre-order!  The top image is the regular cover, and our special Kickstarter supporters will receive a limited-edition version with that epic new cover designed by James Ng.

I strongly recommend folks pre-order the books if they are planning to purchase for two reasons. One–it guarantees that you get this awesome book ASAP for your immediate enjoyment. And Two–from a publishing standpoint, books that have strong pre-orders look good in the eyes of distributors and will help keep the book in stock in the long run.

Need more convincing? See the official description after the jump.

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Dragon*Con 2014 Schedule

Alt Hist Dragon Con logo

Excited to announce my schedule for Dragon*Con this year! I’ll also be taking appointments with any interested authors & agents — feel free to email me at attic [dot] hermit [at] gmail [dot] com to get started.


Title:
Fiction & the Silk Road
Description: Open discussion about scifi & fantasy literature written about and inspired by the Silk Road.
Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Piedmont – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-

Title: Adventurous Women-Traveling in the 19th Century
Description: This roundtable discussion will encompass women and detailed travels during the 19th and early 20th century.
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 3 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-

Title: Race & Gender Issues in Alternate History
Description: Do we pick the best parts of the past and ignore the rest? How do we handle gender and race roles? This discussion panel explores this and more.
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Augusta 3 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
——————-

Title: TOR To Come
Description: TOR gives us a glimpse of what is upcoming from them in a good opportunity to plan your reading.
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Regency V – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
——————-

Title: Crossculture in History
Description: Non-English and non-American cultures in history focusing on Africa and India. Warning: may blow the mind.
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 3 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel

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Signal-boost: Uncanny Magazine Year One

Uncanny Magazine

Click on image to see their Kickstarter

New project alert! Recently, I was contacted by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, former editors-in-chief of Apex Magazine to be a contributor for their latest project: UNCANNY, whose Kickstarter just launched today. Managing Editor Michi Trota already posted about all of the wonderful things about this new mag, so I’m handing over the soapbox, below:

Ok, folks, you’ve waited patiently, so here it is: In addition to the number of projects I’m involved in (and the FT day job), I’m now MANAGING EDITOR of the new professional online magazine, UNCANNY: A MAGAZINE OF SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY! I’m unbelievably excited and honored that Lynne Marie Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas asked me to join this fantastic new project of theirs. I’ve been a fan of their work ever since picking up Chicks Dig Time Lords on a whim a few years ago, and it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know them as friends and colleagues.

We have an award-winning line up of contributing authors, poets and artists who have committed to providing stories, essays, poems and art for the first six issues of Uncanny Magazine, which will run on a bimonthly basis. Contributors include Neil Gaiman, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jim C. Hines, Liz Argall, Carrie Ann Baade, Galen Dara, Emily Jiang, Diana Pho, Kameron Hurley, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, Amal El-Mohtar, and so many more.

You all know how much I love SF/F and the geek community, and getting to be managing editor for a publication like this is a dream come true. I can’t wait to put my stamp on what promises to be a stellar publication.

But this can’t happen without your help – we’re raising funds for the first year of operations through Kickstarter and we have until Aug. 28th to meet our goal of $26K. Please feel free to share our Kickstarter and help spread the word. We have nifty backer rewards, including a copy of the first issue, postcards of cover art by Tran Nguyen and Julie Dillon, shinies by Rachel Swirky (one of our authors for year one!), manuscript critiques by select authors, and even dinner with the editors and Uncanny contributing authors!

Thanks for all your support and for helping us bring the Uncanny to life!

There are many awesome people on board with this project beyond those listed above. PLUS great prize offerings for supporters (I’m offering a manuscript critique, blog post, Google Hangout or even an awesome dinner at a convention where you can pick my brain in person.)

Find out more info & contribute to their Kickstarter here.

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Detcon1 & San Diego Comic Con Schedule

Detcon1

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be convention-hopping across the country.  First up is Detcon1, which is doing some amazing things for the sci-fi and local community. Afterwords, I’ll be hitting up the Mecca of all Geek Cons, San Diego Comic Con working at the Tor Books booth and appearing at the Witty Women of Steampunk panel. Details are below.


 

DETCON1 SCHEDULE

Friday

The League of Extraordinary Black People – 12 PM – Mackinac West
Multiculturalism has become a hot topic in the XYZ-punk community. How does this impact creators and their work in Steampunk, Dieselpunk and Alternate History? What issues arise in moving toward a more diverse retrofuturistic community?
Panelists: Emmy Jackson (moderator), Balogun Ojetade, Salathiel Palland, Pablo M.A Vazquez III

[I can assure you that I am the token non-black person on this panel.  :) ]

Dealing with Bad Apples – 2 PM — Ambassador Salon 2
Trolls, creepers, or just plain jerks. We’ve all encountered them at cons and online. Panelists discuss tools–like comment moderation and harassment policies–for keeping foul and prejudiced people from chasing others out of our community spaces, events, and organizations. And what to do when “they” are “us.”
Panelists: Steven H Silver (moderator), Tim Miller, Mark Oshiro, Jesi Pershing, John Scalzi

Steampunk Style — 3 PM — Duluth A
What makes a costume “steampunk”? What props do you need to do it right? Why is steampunk the hottest costuming craze right now?
Panelists: Janine, Balogun Ojetade

Saturday

What Am I Looking For? — 12 PM — Mackinac East
Agents and editors talk about the sorts of projects that interest them individually and answer general publishing questions.
Panelists: Self (moderator), Richard Flores IV, Kate Baker, Neil Clarke, Sam Morgan, Bryon Quertermous

Welcome to Night Vale: What You Should Know About It – 3PM — Mackinac East
Turn on your radio and hide. Our panelists share their love for Welcome to Night Vale, the viral podcast drama that combines surreal humor, human relationships, and weird creeping horror into a delightful community radio show. If you know Night Vale, come. If you don’t know Night Vale, come and bring your friends. There will be no hooded figures.
Panelists: Anne Harris (moderator), Rachael Acks, Bill Sutton


 

 

SAN DIEGO COMIC CON

Witty Women of Steampunk
The Witty Women of Steampunk — Friday, July 25 at 2:30 PM – San Diego Convention Center, Room 24ABC
Come join us for this witty panel, now celebrating its 3rd year at San Diego Comic-Con International!
While the Victorian era was known for its constraints on morals, behaviors and bosoms, steampunks have turned things on their head by reimagining a history that never was. Women creators have loosened those traditional corset laces and have begun to explore multiculturalism, science, sexuality, class politics and much more. Come join us for this always lively third-year panel as we explore just how liberating the age of steam can be with witty women Anina Bennett (Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel), Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Editor for BeyondVictoriana.com & Tor Books),Claire Hummel (Bioshock: Infinite), Robin Blackburn (The League of S.T.E.A.M.), Sarah Hunter (Steampunk Model/Performer), Sheyne Fleischer (The League of S.T.E.A.M.), and moderator Dina Kampmeyer (Lady Steam Designs).

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