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An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

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Kindred Spirits, part 8

More news from World Fantasy hopefully soon (after I’ve caught up, and we had a great DayBreak Magazine reading), but first two news tidbits that fall under the ‘kindred spirits’ category:

This, together with the tireless Charles A. Tan winning one of the inaugural Last Drink Bird Head Awards (the one for International Activism), marks a movement towards more openness to non-Anglophone SF & fantasy (list of winners on Ecstatic Days, with an unexpected picture).

interfictions2_cover2

Last Monday I spoke with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman about the Interstitial Arts Foundation and Interfictions 2 (among other things), and Ellen mentioned that they had made a concerted effort to include more international writers, which I welcome and applaud.

Apropos Charles A. Tan: he has interviewed me for the Apex Book of World SF, and the good people of SF Signal have put it up on their site. Check it out!

Apex Book of World SF

While you’re at it, also check out the interviews with Melanie Fazi, Aliette de Bodard, Guy Hasson, and more to come! And keep an eye of the World SF News Blog.

And buy a copy of the Apex Book of World SF , of course.

Also, to coincide with that release, Apex Magazine has a special World SF issue this November, guest-edited by Lavie Tidhar.

A torrent of world SF happenings this late October/early November. I hope it’s the beginning of a truly internationally-oriented SF community.

A very quick update

Sorry about the week-long (or longer) silence: Anticipation (the Montréal WorldCon) was great, with one single exception.

I’ve just returned, and after a day of recovering from huge sleep deprivation (not to mention alcohol and great food overindulgence), I’m reading Shine submissions like crazy.

Short remark: a lot of well-aimed submissions in the very last batch. It seems my constant posting about what I was looking for eventually bore fruit. I already have seen more quality stories than I can publish: this is a very good thing, as it makes my life (as an editor) hard, and the more hard choices I have, the better the anthology should eventually be.

So thanks for making my life hard!

Also, I did receive a large amount of positive and encouraging comments about Shine at WorldCon, which makes me hope that the antho will also sell well. QUED, obviously.

Another thing I heared through the grapevine was that Patrick Nielsen Hayden tried to get an optimistic, near-future anthology called Up! off the ground back in 2002, for several years, but had to give up because he didn’t receive enough quality stories (some versions had it he didn’t receive enough stories period). If that’s not true, please feel free to correct me.

Having said that, there were also several editors who asked me something along the lines of “How do you get authors to send you positive, optimistic, exuberant stories in the first place”. I won’t name names, but I can tell all the writers reading this that, contrary to the general impression, there are a lot of editors who would like, no even love to see some upbeat stories in their slushpiles. And I’m talking editors of professional markets out there.

So for all the authors I will need to reject (I have already received more quality stories than I can publish, and I’ve still got about 40 submissions to go), do send the story out to other markets. I will actually mention that in the rejection email, where I will mention *which* markets I think might be suitable.

In short: the more upbeat stories out there, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

As to WorldCon: I will post a much longer post about it once I’ve read and responded to all the outstanding submissions (which will be sometime after the coming weekend).

Nevertheless, a short mention of some of the highlights (and my forgiveness to those I forget: I hope to have a much more complete post about it sometime next week):

  • Claude Lalumière helping me out with getting drinks and such for the Angry Robot launch party. Claude is a gentleman, an SF/F/H scholar and a friend in need;
  • The first pubcrawl at Wednesday evening: eventually eleven people showed up, while Jim Minz and I made reservations for only six at the first restaurant. It was a blast. Names and incrimianting pictures of all attendees to be released later, depending on the (non-)receipt of bribes…;-)
  • The fact that all the panel items on which I was programmed on where attended very well (more than a half full room) to excellent (on one particular item people had to be turned away, and resented it). Kudos to the programming committee;
  • A dinner on the Thursday night with Daryl Gregory and family, Adam Rakunas and me at Au Pied de Cochon. I ordered the largest pork chop, because I thought I was hungry. It was enormous: about two pounds of flesh. After a heroic effort I had to give up. I’m sure Mssrs. Gregory and Rakunas will post incriminating pictures on their respective blogs;
  • The “Anatomy for Writers, Heroes and Tavern Brawlers” panel, where I assisted Sean McMullen (I was basically his sparring partner, as Sean is the men with the karate black belt and fighting instructor) was a blast. Sean and I had rehearsed in the Green Room a few hours before, and the panel itself was in a relatively small room, which filled up and overflowed very soon. People had to be turned away, and in retrospect we hoped it had been in a larger room. Actually, Sean and I plan to do a repeat at next year’s WorldCon (Sean lives in Melbourne, as does my sister, so we should both be there), and will ask for a larger place. Catcalls and howls of laughter as I stripped to my waist, and fun was had by all. I must also note that I saw a large part of the audience take notes quite fervently, which must have been very gratifying for Sean;
  • The Angy Robot launch party on the Friday evening: it was a struggle to get the booze in on time, as we couldn’t get into the suite until after 4 PM (normally 3 PM, but they had a problem with the suite’s lock), and I was on the above-mentioned panel at that time. After much hurrying and stressing all was in place in time, and at 7 PM the party started. All went well until at about 10 PM the hotel told us we had to move, as we were holding the party at the wrong floor. Jesus Christ! It’w where the WorldCon hotel liaison had booked us, and if they think publisher’s launch parties are silent, subdued affairs then they shouldn’t be organising the WorldCon parties floor in the first place. I was fuming, but with the help of the absoluely phenomenal partye guest (many thanks to you all!) we moved to booze to a different location, where the party went on until well into the night.
  • (A day later I heared that local TV station CTC did an item about WorldCon in Montréal, and mentioned that these SF fans held parties at the Delta Centre-ville, on the 28th floor, and that everybody was welcome. The line before the elevators supposedly snaked well into the next block, and by 10 PM almost every room at the 28th floor was packed full, at which point the hotel panicked. Four more parties were busted (like ours), one of them the Asimov’s/Analog readers’ awards ceremony in the SFWA suite: people, I feel your pain, most definitely);
  • Saturday was, relatively speaking, the least intense day, meaning I had a few hours not fully planned in. Nicest thing was the Nightshade Books launch party of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (and his collection Pump Six, even if that one is out already for a while). At the end of the convention Jeremy Lassen was happy to reort that he sold out all his books at the dealer’s table, and regretted not getting more books. Other dealers were also quite happy with their sales;
  • On the Sunday I was Ann VanderMeer’s guest at the Hugo Awards ceremony. Her husband Jeff couldn’t make it to Montréal, unfortunately, so I — having represented Interzone several times — showed her the ropes. My summary, for the ‘best semiprozine category’ was as follows: “You go to the pre-reception, drink and eat as much as you can. Then you attend the ceremony and lose to Locus. Then you get drunk at the Hugo losers party.” I was so wrong, and I was at least as surprised as Stephen Seagal (he and his wife were sitting to my left) and Ann (sitting to my right) when Claude LaLumière announced that Weird Tales has won. The only slight disappointment I had was when we found out that there was only *one* free drink per person at the Hugo losers party. The shame! The lack of booze was adequztely taken care of at the Baen party, courtesy of the ever-reliable Jim Minz;
  • On the Monday we did the second pubcrawl (after Sean McMullen did a quick stint of body-guarding at Neil Gaiman’s kaffeeklatch), and while the group was smaller, it was a high quality one (Jim Minz, Jeremy Lassen, Ross Lockheart, Féorag Nicbridhe and Roy something — sorry forgot your last name, Roy!). Many beers were tasted, even some whiskies, and I arrived at the dead dog party relatively coherent;

More in a later post. Now I’ve got to prepare for a short stint at HAR (Hacking at Random) in my home land tomorrow. Annalee Newitz talked me into it at WorldCon, so I hope to see her there again. Submitters don’t worry: it’s a 90 minute train ride to and from the place, which means 3 hours of slush reading.

Someday I’ll get a life…;-)

A Travel Schedule, part 2

In week 32, I will be attending Anticipation, the Montréal WorldCon.

My travel plans and preliminary schedule are as follows:

Flight to Montréal:Departure:

  • Tuesday August 4 @ 15.20 hrs. with flight KL 0671;
  • Arrival: Tuesday August 4 @ 16.35 hrs (flying time approx. 7.15 hrs.)

After clearing customs & immigration I’ll be heading to the Best Western Europa for a full week (there was a CAN$ 80 per night special if I booked a full week, so why not…;-).

This gives me the Tuesday night and the Wednesday daytime for preparations, especially — I hope — to do some shopping for a special event.

montreal_aggrandi_port

Also, an ‘unofficial’ event: Pubcrawling with the Pros.

Last year, Jim Minz had the luminous idea to do a Microbrew Pubcrawl in Denver (actually two: one on the Wednesday before, and one on the Sunday afternoon). As it happened, only two people showed up on the Wednesday (Jim and me), but we had a great time, and tasted some great beers. Sunday we redid it with a nice group (Jim Minz, Jeremy Lassen, John Picacio, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, John Picacio, Diana Rowland, Christian Dunn, George Mann, Mark Newton and a few others whom I can’t recall right now) to great acclaim.

Montreal supposedly has Belgian type beers, so I think a repeat is in order.

So, the way things look right now, there will be two pubcrawls:

  1. Wednesday evening August 5 from 8 PM onwards: where I will be waiting in the bar of the Hotel Delta Centre-Ville for the estimable Mr. Jim Minz to arrive, after which we set off;
  2. Monday afternoon August 10 from 1 PM onwards: we gather in Le Fourquet Fourchette restaurant (which is located right in the Palais des Congrés), and from there we will set off;

Since we expect that the group on the Monday will be much larger, the Monday pubcrawl will be less extensive (we’ll concentrate on a group of brewpubs which are within crawling distance) than the Wednesday evening one.

Anybody who wishes to join us, feel free to drop me an email at Jetse.deVries@gmail.com .

At Thursday the WordCon takes off, and — so far — I have the following items scheduled:

palais02

–> Thursday August 6:

When: Thu 2:00 PM

Location: P-511A

Session ID: 345

Title: Translation Challenges

Description: What are the artistic and professional challenges faced by translators? How do they tackle translating between languages whosegrammars are incompatible?

Language: English

Track: Literature in English

Moderator: Kari Sperring

Duration: 1:30 hrs:min

All Participants: Jetse de Vries, Kari Sperring, Rani Graff, TomClegg, Fabio Fernandes, Eileen Gunn.

NB: Fábio Fernandes is still listed as a participant, but unfortunately he will not make it. Too bad: I was looking forward to meeting him, as well.

********************

When: Thu 5:00 PM

Location: P-518A

Session ID: 549

Title: Putting the World into Worldcon

Description: Our information about SF outside the English language isoften provided by (mediated by) Anglophone experts who have been tothe foreign land in question and brought back what interests them.Here, instead, we gather experts from SF/fantasy traditions outsideEnglish to tell us what we should look out for.

Language: English

Track: Literature in English

Moderator: Jetse de Vries

Duration: 1:30 hrs:min

All Participants: Aliza Ben Moha, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Jetse de Vries, Stefan Krzywicki, Tara Oakes, Tore A. Hřie

NB: a handy map for the locations (which is available on the Anticipation website):

palais_meetings_level

Furthermore, on Thursday evening — as things stand now — I will be having dinner with a few very good friends: Adam Rakunas and Daryl Gregory and his family in Au Pied de Cochon.

–> Friday August 7:

When: Fri 3:30 PM

Location: P-523A

Session ID: 1008

Title: Anatomy for Writers, Heroes and Tavern Brawlers.

Description: Author, karate instructor, fencer and first aid officerSean McMullen provides a tour of how the human body can and cannot bedamaged. Want to know where a hero can be punched without any effect?Worried about his vascular dilation? Curious about the real-lifeversion of Mr Spock’s nerve pinch? Not sure whether a really longsword fight is three hours or seven seconds? Wondering why readers arelaughing because your hero has microsecond reactions? Come along andfind out in complete safety.

Language: English

Track: The Light Programme

Moderator: Sean McMullen

Duration: 1:30 hrs:min

All Participants: Jetse de Vries, Sean McMullen, Darlene Marshall, Kirsten Britain

NOTE: this should be great fun: I will be the wild barbarian who gets his arse kicked by the Master. Or maybe, maybe the unwashed barbarian can pull a quick one…

********************

AngryRobot-party

When: Friday 7.00 PM

Location: Room 2231, Party Level, Hotel Delta Centre-Ville

Session ID: C2H5OH

Title: Angry Robot Launch Party.

Description: Launch party for new HarperCollins imprint Angry Robot. With introduction speech by Neil Gaiman. Drinks, drinks, drinks & snacks arranged by your Moderator who has a reputation (Interzone party, LACon IV; Pyr party, Denvention) to uphold. Wine aficionados will be attended to by connoissuer Adam Rakunas; beer lovers will be helped by The Flying Dutchman; there will even be soft drinks and mineral water for teetotallers. This is the party to be on the Friday night: don’t miss it!

Language: English/Français/others/

Track: The Party Floor

Moderators: Jetse de Vries, Adam Rakunas (wine master)

Hosts: Marc Gasoigne & Lee Harris (Publishers/Editors)

Duration: ??:?? hrs:min (depending on when your ‘Moderator’ decides to call it quits, or when the booze runs out, or when the suite needs to be vacated: whichever comes first…;-)

Special Guests: Neil Gaiman & Mystery Guest, various Angry Robot authors

Note that Neil Gaiman, as Guest of Honour, has a very full schedule, so will make an appearance at 7 PM and give a short speech. If you want to see him, be early!

All Participants: everybody is invited!

Be often, drink early! (Or was it the other way around?)

Delta_2

–> Saturday August 8:

When: Sat 12:30 PM

Location: P-521A

Session ID: 1625

Title: Jetse de Vries–Kaffeeklatsch

Description: A chance to ask those burning questions.

Language: English

Track: Kaffeeklatsch

Moderator: (I’ll be there: don’t worry)

Duration: 1:00 hrs:min

All Participants: Jetse de Vries & all who wish to show up. Come by & ask anything you want!

(NB: tax-free sales willing I might have something to go with that coffee…;-)

********************

When: Sat 3:30 PM

Location: P-516AB

Session ID: 586

Title: How to Pitch Your Novel … And How Not to

Description: You’re an aspiring writer, you’ve run into an editor oragent in a bar. After buying them a drink, what’s the next thing to do? Talk about your just-completed novel? Thrust the printout into their hands? Or … something else? Some advice from those who know.

Language: English

Track: Literature in English

Moderator: Cathy Petrini

Duration: 1:30 hrs:min

All Participants: Cathy Petrini, Jetse de Vries, Mike Resnick, Sean Wallace, Ginjer Buchanan

–> Sunday August 9:

When: Sun 10:00 AM

Location: P-511CF

Session ID: 87

Title: When the Oil Runs Out

Description: Oil is a limited resource but is the basis of much ofour energy usage. What are we going to do as it becomes more expensiveand eventually runs out? Turn your bicycle into a dynamo to power yourphone or laptop?

Language: English

Track: Science and Space

Moderator: Jetse de Vries

Duration: 1:00 hrs:min

All Participants: Chuck Cady, Jetse de Vries, Paul Kincaid, MichčleLaframboise, Richard Lynch, Paolo Bacigalupi.

********************

When: Sun 12:00 PM

Location: Other

Session ID: 1527

Title: Jetse de Vries Signing

Description: Jetse de Vries Signing ehrm … something.

Language: English

Track: Autographs

Moderator:

Duration: 12:30 hrs:min (this is what it literally says in the email I received from programming: I’ll just assume that it’s a typo and it’ll take oo.30 hrs:min. Or they’ve mistaken me for J.K. Rowling…;-)

All Participants: Jetse de Vries

NOTE: from 8.00 PM onwards you have the Hugo Awards Ceremony, followed by the Hugo Losers Party (actually Hugo Nominees Party, but as a four-time loser ‘Losers Party’ just sounds better) and various other parties.

NB: I understand from Jim Minz that the Baen party will also be on the Sunday night. There will be — as ever — no lack of booze.

********************

–>Monday August 10:

The second pubcrawl.

Gasthering time: 1.00 PM

Gathering spot: Le Fourquet Fourchette restaurant (which is located right in the Palais des Congrés).

As Jim has something scheduled at 6.00 PM, we intend to return before that time.

It’s also much better to do this before the Dead Dog party, as then you can actually taste the great beers Montréal has to offer. After that it’s Dead Dog time, and all will be well…;-).

Then I’ll be flying back home on Tuesday August 11:

Flight from Montréal:

  • Departure: Tuesday August 11 @ 18.25 hrs. with flight KL 0671;
  • Arrival: Wednesday August 12 @ 07.05 hrs (flying time approx. 6.40 hrs.)

No rest for the wicked, as then I need to finalise the Shine ToC, and reminisce about SF plans for the future. Next Con will be World Fantasy in San José.

A Travel Schedule, Part 1

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In week 30, I will be visiting China in order to witness the July 22 total solar eclipse (which is the longest of this century!).

My itinerary is as follows:

Flight to Shanghai:

  • Departure: Saturday July 18 @ 18.20 hrs. with flight KL 0895
  • Arrival: Sunday July 18 @ 10.55 hrs. (flying time approx. 10.35 hrs.)

As I understand from one of my colleagues at work, China is taking the swine flu (or Mexican flu) pandemic very seriously, and people will be scanned — on the forehead — with an infrared scanner in the plane, after it has landed (obviously) and before it is allowed to go to the gate. See the picture.

IMG_0836

So I’m mentally preparing for an extra two hours on the ground before we can disembark.

Then it’s off to the Crowne Plaza Century Park Hotel, where I will stay for two nights. I’ll probably visit our company’s Shanghai local headquarters on Monday.

Then on Tuesday, I’m travelling onward to Wuhan’s Hangkou station by train (and a bullet train at that):

  • July 21 — Shanghai to Hangkou — D3006 — depart 14.06 hrs. — arrive 18.59 hrs.

China High Speed RailIn Wuhan I’ve booked the Yushang Business Hotel, as my fellow eclipse enthusiasts will be staying there, as well.

My eclipse friends have booked an organised trip through the geology department of the University of Utrecht, which lasts three weeks. I didn’t book that trip because I will be going to Anticipation — the Montréal WorldCon — a week later, and I only have so many days off, and my budget only goes so far.

Anyway, reunion with friends on the Tuesday night, and then the next morning, on July 22, I hope to join the group when they set off, on 6 a.m., for a good location about 25 kilometres north of Wuhan. Climatologically speaking, this should be one of the best spots (with the lowest chance of cloud cover, which is still 61%, so it’s going to be ) to observe the total solar eclipse. Total Solar Eclipse 2008 Novosibirsk

(NB: this is the one from last year in Novosibirsk.)

Here’s the interactive map of the July 22, 2009 solar eclipse (courtesy of NASA). The centre line of totality goes straight over the Wuhan Tianhe Airport, and the place where we will — probably, as I don’t know the exact location — be has the following data re. the total eclipse:

Lat.: 30.7837° N; Long.: 114.3165° E

Total Solar Eclipse; Duration of Totality: 5m29.1s Magnitude: 1.037

Event ———————- Time (UT) – Alt — Azi

Start/partial eclipse (C1) :  00:15:01 032.4° 084.3°

Start/total eclipse (C2) : — 01:24:02 047.2° 092.9°

Maximum eclipse : ——— 01:26:46 047.8° 093.3°

End/total eclipse (C3) : — 01:29:31 048.4° 093.7°

End/partial eclipse (C4) : – 02:46:17 064.6° 108.3°

Since this is all in UT (Universal Time, then — according to the Time Zone Converter — we need to add 8 hours for China time, so totality will start at 09.24.02 hrs local time, and end at 09.29.31 local time.

Or, in solar eclipse geek parlance: First Contact @ 08.15.01 local time; Second Contact @ 09.24.02; Third Contact @ 09.29.31; and Fourth Contact @ 10.46.17.

After which we will return to Wuhan and then either celebrate a successful observation, or drown our sorrows if the event was obscured by clouds. There will be beer, nevertheless.

Then the Uni of Utrecht groep will fly onwards to Guilin in the evening: I will stay one more night in Wuhan. The enxt day I’ll be going back to Shanghai:

  • July 23 — Hangkou to Shanghai — D3016 — depart 11.23 hrs. — arrive 16.16 hrs.

Of course, I could have taken a flight from Shanghai to Wuhan and back, but I hope to see a bit more of China in the train, and a five hour train trip is just about the right length. Another, although unplanned, advantage is that the Yushang Business Hotel in Wuhan is literally a stone’s throw away from the Hangkou railway station. This is a lucky coincidence (I would’ve booked the same hotel as where my eclips friends would be staying, irrespective of location in Wuhan).

Then, on Thursday late afternoon I’m back in Shanghai. shanghai_pudong-1

The Friday morning and afternoon are free for sightseeing: in the evening the plan is to have dinner and drinks (plenty of drinks) with a couple of Dutch expatriates, who know the good places in Shanghai.

Then Saturday — with or without hangover — is the trip back home:

Flight from Shanghai:

  • Departure: Saturday July 25 @ 12.50 hrs. with flight KL 0896
  • Arrival: Saturday July 25 @ 18.55 hrs. (flying time approx. 11.45 hrs.)

Which then gives me the Sunday to recover as I am expected back on the day job on the Monday. Then one week of work, and onwards to Montréal (of which more in the next post). Last year, I had only two days between returning from Novosibirsk and travelling onwards to Denvention. Now, it’s ten days, so maybe I’ll be more coherent on the first day in Canada…;-).

UPDATE: Belated apologies to Franck Giral for not attributing the fantastic picture of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Shanghai by night to him: at the time I got it from some of the (at least) 47 other websites that featured it, and couldn’t figure out the original.

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