A thoughtful take on anarchy, mutual aid, and the legacy of the Confederacy as seen through the eyes of a visitor from the past. This is a heartfelt book, and a fine picture of Richmond that brings the punk anarchy of the 1990s to life like nothing else I’ve read or heard. Kropotkin’s humane approach to life is a tonic, especially when it leads to repeated jarring crashes against our world today.
Today is the day some of the folks involved in the Hugos shenanigans have declared as the start date for a Tor Books boycott if the company doesn’t cave to various and sundry demands. By and large I think this is a toothless threat, given the size of the audience for genre fiction these days, and also given the broader landscape to which some of the high-visibility targets belong, but you never know.
Do I read Tor books? Hmm. I did a quick grab from my shelves and got these books, a small sample of the hundreds of Tor books I’ve read over the years. Look at that stack of books! Admire the range of political opinions held by the authors who wrote them! Wait… what’s that you say? You don’t know anything about most authors’ politics and just want to read their books? Amen, sister!
Tor, please keep on publishing Republican, Democratic, atheist, conservative, liberal, pagan, Libertarian, polyamorous, queer, straight, Christian, Buddhist, female, male, intersex, American, international, organic, living, dead, and all other types of authors. Even the ones with questionable character and with whose politics I disagree.
And if you’re going to say anything to anyone, say something supportive to Irene Gallo, who does fine work. It’s 2015, for God’s sake, not goddamn 1984, and if we can’t use a worldwide communications network accessible via pocket computers, wristwatches, and video game consoles to voice our opinions, why the HELL do we even have science fiction?
Buy Tor books. And buy other books: corporate, indie, self-published, radical, and otherwise.
Whatever the fuck you do, don’t let someone else tell you what to buy.
Yesterday RavenCon opened for its 10th year. I wandered around, talked to friends, and spoke on a panel entitled “Urban Fantasy: Using Real-World Settings and People in Your Fiction,” along with Gail Z. Martin, R.S. Belcher, and moderator Jean Marie Ward. We had a good time, the audience also seemed to do so, and my deep, dark confession about being a librarian who uses Wikipedia was met with an appropriate volume of laughter. Picture below by Katharine Herndon, my friend and JRW-co-conspirator.
This year I’m delighted to attend RavenCon as a writer guest. I’ll be here and there throughout the con, probably wandering around the dealer’s room, art show, seeing panels and readings, chatting with friends old and new, etc. One place I probably won’t be is at any late night revelries: I start transforming into a pumpkin long before the stroke of midnight. My schedule looks like this:
5:00 p.m., Ballroom G, Urban Fantasy: Using Real-World Settings and People in Your Fiction
7:00 p.m., Ballroom E, Opening Ceremonies
10:00 a.m., Ballroom E, How to (Not) Ruin Your Writing Career
1:00 p.m., York, Ignite Your Worldbuilding (workshop; 1 hr, 50 min)5:00 p.m., Board Room, Reading
1:00 p.m., Anna, The Best Critique Group for You
The workshop on Saturday is an attempt to weld together my research expertise with my love of well-portrayed worlds. Should be fun. Description: “How do you create memorable worlds? Come learn techniques that combine research, inspiration, and your personal experience. Participants will leave with a list of resources to inspire their creativity, whether they want to create engrossing stories or paintings with lived-in worlds. We’ll discuss the limits of worldbuilding, and signs that it’s time to join Worldbuilders Anonymous. Be prepared to talk with your fellow creators, and bring a notebook, computer, or other writing device.”
If you’re in Richmond and have an interest in fantasy, science fiction, or horror, you probably already know about RavenCon. If you don’t, however, it’s a convention that’s happening next weekend, April 25th-27th, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Richmond – Midlothian. The programming has been posted, and it looks good. I’m particularly intrigued by the panel on Virginia as a setting for speculative fiction.