Something Nice; Synthetic Confusion Schedule

As a warning to all and sundry: Today is likely to be a day of schedules and announcements of a lit’ry sort, so if you don’t give a crap about any of that, you’ll want to run away until tomorrow, when I’m sure I’ll find something unrelated to rant about.

First, as promised, something nice — well, nice for me, anyway: the trade paperback of Old Man’s War is on the top of the bestseller list for Clarkesworld Books, a specialty SF/F/H bookstore. This is heartening news not only because it is on the top of the list, but because the OMW hardcover was something of a creature of Amazon (i.e., we sold rather more than the usual percentage of books through that avenue), and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s good to get an indication that the trade paperback is making inroads with other retailers. And I’m happy when my book helps a specialty store make money; that’s good for the genre I write in. Specialty stores and their staffs have been good to me (I’m particularly looking in the direction of Borderlands Books when I say that), so it would be nice to return the favor.

Second, I will be attending the Synthetic Confusion convention in Troy, Michigan later this month (January 20 – 22), and for those of you who plan to attend and wish to stalk me, here is my panel schedule:

January 20, 9pm: Political Correctness
Are we PC, should we PC, can we have fun having a non-PC discussion about it? Where is the line? When do we as writers ‘cross the line’? What happens when we do cross it?
Panelists: Sarah Zettel, Willian Aksel, Steve Climer, Marcy Italiano, Steven Brust and John Scalzi

Me and Steven Brust, together on a panel about political correctness? Holy crap! We’ll all be lucky to get out of that one alive.

January 21, 12pm: Is SF Too Narrow?
Has science fiction become something just for middle aged Anglo Saxons and Jews?
Panelists: Tobias Buckell, John Scalzi, Sarah Zettel, M Keaton and Steven Brust

As I am not middle-aged, Anglo-Saxon or a Jew, I imagine I’ll have some thoughts on this.

January 21, 2pm: Reading

For this I’ll be in the con suite, watching people snack. I do believe I will read from the first chapter of The Android’s Dream — in which, you may recall mentioning at some earlier, one diplomat tries to fart another one into an irrational rage. It’ll be fun. And then I might answer questions or whatever. Or perhaps an interpretive dance.

As a bonus for people who attend my reading, I’ll be giving away lovely signed postcards for The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies. First come, first served!

January 21, 3pm: If This Goes On….
Intelligent design being taught in schools and evolution is not, pharmacists refusing patients prescribed drugs because of religious convictions… what is going on here, a Heinlein novel?
Panelists: John Scalzi, Vernor Vinge, Steven Leigh, M Keaton, Eric Raymond

Sadly, I don’t have much to say on this topic.


Okay, maybe a little. But who cares what I think? Look, Vernor Vinge!

January 21, 4pm: From Star Wars to Serenity
The last year saw some interesting science fiction movies. What was good and what just did not work and what stunk, could any be considered a classic or even notable? What does the future hold?
Panelists: John Scalzi, Alex von Thorn, Sandee Rager, Dierdre McDaniel

Yeah, I will definitely have some opinions here. Hopefully I won’t get shot by the browncoats still angry with me for noting that Serenity was a flop in the theatres after its first weekend.

I don’t have a damn thing to do on Sunday, and that’s a good thing, I thnk.

As for when I’m not on a panel, I will usually be doing one of two things: watching someone else’s panel, or hanging about the bar bantering with folk. If you see me there, do feel free to say hello.

Remember I will also be attending Boskone, Penguicon (at which I will be a “Nifty Guest”) and Wiscon in the first half of 2006, so if you can’t stalk me at Synthetic Confusion, you will have other opportunities to do so before summer arrives. Mmmm… stalking.

16 Comments on “Something Nice; Synthetic Confusion Schedule”

  1. If you don’t mind my asking… were we to invite you to be a panelist at Philcon in November, would you be willing to come?

    Just wondering, is all…

  2. Hugh Casey:

    You mean to say: “If we were to invite you to be a panelist at Philcon in the same month your novel The Android’s Dream hits the bookstores, would you be willing to come?”

    To which the answer would be: Hmmm, probably.

  3. re: “As I am not middle-aged, Anglo-Saxon or a Jew, I imagine I’ll have some thoughts on this.”

    Aren’t you on the North side of 35? What, exactly, do you think qualifies as middle-aged? You sound a bit here like my oldest sister (15+ years older than me) who objected to my refering to myself as middle aged when I was in my late thirties because she didn’t consider herself to be middle-aged. Talk about moving the goal post…

  4. Heh. Jennie, I think I’ll remind you that you wrote this when you’re 35 or so.

    I’m 36. I’m no longer young, to be sure. But middle age, as far as I’ve always heard it, starts around 40 or so and lasts until about 60 or so. So right now, I’m just an adult. Not that I’m concerned about being middle-aged — indeed, I hope to become middle-aged, because the alternative is pretty grim — but I’m not there yet.

  5. Sorry I will miss the wonderful people at Synthetic Confusion. I will, however, be celebrating my birthday that weekend as well as the one year anniversary of our friendship. I will always remember hanging out with you in the bar last year and I highly recommend it to any lucky folk in the position to stalk you. I should also warn any stalkers that John is a good dancer. Learn from him!

  6. Jody always says the nicest things. And I don’t even pay her to do it! So that’s something.

    Jody, will you be doing Wiscon ?

  7. I’m trying for Sythetic Confusion, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards. It should be so easy, since I live in Ann Arbor. But I think there is a hockey tournament that weekend that I may or may not be able to attend because of work…anyway, I am huge with the wanting to spend time stalking you, hanging out in a bar, dancing, receiving snazzy free postcards, participating in rousing debate over the very concept of “PC,” etcetera, etcetera.

    I’m going to try for PenguiCon and WisCon too. One of these upcoming cons in 2006 will be my first con ever, at the ripe, not old, not-yet-middle-aged-dammit age of 35.

  8. Well, John, you may not be middle-aged, but you’re not that far behind me. You might as well get the practice in.

    Then again, I’ve been a cranky old man since about 19.

  9. I’m curious about your comment that science fiction appeals primarily to jews. Where does that come from? It’s something I haven’t heard before. Are jews especially attracted to SF? Is there a secret conspiracy to seize the reins of SF from the anglo-saxons and install jews in positions of power?

  10. Hey, I didn’t say it, Thingo. It what someone wrote in the program description of the panel.

  11. Eighteen, ethnic Chinese, and not religious…

    I guess science fiction’s not for me. :( :( :(

    Re: “If This Goes On” — recent events have actually made me think of Heinlein, and I haven’t even read that much of the Great Man’s works. Hrm…

  12. You’re right, John, I knew this was merely the title of the session but somehow forgot the fact between then and posting my comment. Nevertheless, it’s there. If any interesting observations happen to arise during the panel about SF being for jews, feel free to talk about them. I happen to be both jewish and a fan of SF. I don’t define myself by either of those traits, but I’m curious if I should be looking back to something in my upbringing (or my genes?) that predisposed me to the genre.

  13. I imagine I’ll be writing up the panels, so if it gets particularly interesting, I will indeed let y’all know.

  14. John,

    “Browncoats” should be capitalized, and yes some of us are still peeved (okay, just me) – though not at your pointing out the box office numbers were less than stellar, but because your tone wasn’t terribly supportive of the film.

    Still love you though :P

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