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[conventions|photos] My day two of the Nebula Awards Weekend

Yesterday was my second and final day at the Nebula Awards weekend. Not to bury the lede, the award in my ballot category of Best Novella went to the excellent Nancy Kress for After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall.

My parents and [info]the_child were there, along with my Aunt B— and Uncle L— from Texas.

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Dad and Mom

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Jersey Girl, Dad, Me, Mom

There was a comic convention going on next door, so some crossover happened.

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These are not the SF writers you are looking for

Still we had fun.

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Me and Jersey Girl, who’d never attended an SF event before

And though I did not win, I got to give away the Best Short Story Nebula to a charmingly shocked Aliette de Bodard.

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I’ll post more later about the emotional experience of this weekend, and how it has intersected with my illness. For now, suffice to say I had an amazingly good time. My family was pretty happy to be there. My thanks to chair Dave Gallaher, SFWA President John Scalzi, and everyone who worked so hard to make this all come together as fantastically well as it did.


Photos © 2013 N. Schaadt and others. All rights reserved, reproduced with permission. As usual, more at the Flickr set.

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[conventions|photos] My day one of the Nebula Awards Weekend

Yesterday, Jersey Girl in Portland flew down to San Jose. We ran into Richard Lovett on the plane, and shared a cab to the convention hotel. Once there, the afternoon became a blur of old friends and new that I couldn’t possibly do a sane job of listing. At the author signing, I was seated between John Scalzi and Joe Haldeman, with Connie Willis and Stephen Gould on the far end, safely out of range from me. Signing was busy and a lot of fun

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DNA transfer between myself and John Scalzi

After the signing, Jersey Girl and I went to dinner with C.E. Petit, Catherine Shaffer, and the Locus crew, led by the indomitable Liza Trombi, along with Francesca Myman, Tim Pratt and Heather Shaw.

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DNA transfer between myself and Francesca Myman of Locus while Catherine Shaffer looks on approvingly in the background

Post-dinner, we hit the reception at which the Nebula nominee certificates and pins are handed out, along with drinks and photography. It was fun to stand with Aliette de Bodard, Ken Liu and Lawrence Schoen. We were only missing Nancy Kress. And I am in awe of both Aliette and Ken for their across the board strength on the award ballots this year.

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(Most of) the Best Novella ballot lining up to be photographed for the later restraining order

Eventually I retired early for a crappy night’s sleep.

Today my parents show up, as does my aunt and uncle, as does [info]the_child. My profound thanks to Crystal Black for making her trip possible. Plus a ton more friends.

Tomorrow, I am off to Rio Hondo at the crack of doom.


Photos © 2013 N. Schaadt. All rights reserved, reproduced with permission. As usual, more at the Flickr set.

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[conventions] Why steampunk cons can be confusing for genre authors

I had an excellent time at Gaslight Gathering this past weekend. This is the fourth different steampunk con I’ve attended (speaking off the top of my head), the others being GEAR Con in Portland, Steamcon in Seattle, and the now-defunct World Steam Expo in Dearborn, MI. I’ve noticed some things about steampunk cons that make them rather different from print-oriented fantasy and science fiction conventions, and in many ways more similar to anime and comic conventions. These differences can confuse authors.

Fundamentally, so far my experience of steampunk conventions is that they are not book-oriented at all. For example, at World Steam Expo, Gail Carriger and I were the only two out of town pro author guests in attendance, with something over 2,000 fan there. Here at Gaslight Gathering, I believe I was the only out of town pro author guest. (In point of fact, I was Guest of Honor.) People are here for a wide variety of experiences. Print publishing is basically a grace note for the steampunk fandom I’ve encountered. As Kevin Hull said in a discussion here at Gaslight Gathering, “Steampunk conventions are costume-driven.” Costumes, yes, and I’ll add art, maker culture, re-enactments, and music to that list.

But steampunk cons are very much about story, about narrative. 80-90% of the people you see are in costume. The tradition of hall costumes at SF and fantasy cons is relatively minor these days, but they are nearly de rigueur in the world of steampunk. And unlike the prevalence of cosplay and tribute costumes in the SF, fantasy, anime and comic worlds, steampunk costumes are mostly original work. Almost very one of those people in costume has a story and and character to go along with their creations. Most of them will be happy to explain in great detail, in character, what they are wearing, how it works, and why.

Like I said, very much about story, about narrative. Just not story and narrative the way a book dinosaur like me thinks of it as being packaged and delivered. In effect, the flow of primary creative endeavor is reversed, the fans becoming the creators. This significantly displaces the role of the author.

Hence the confusion. Because superficially, steampunk cons resemble SF and fantasy cons. They are run by many of the same people. They have the infrastructure of programming, the dealer room, registration, con ops, and so forth. Everyone’s wandering around wearing badges, most of them with ribbons. It all looks very familiar.

And it’s all very different.

The other observation I’ll make is that steampunk cons, along with comic cons and anime cons, is where most of young fandom has gone. Hanging around any of these conventions, I see the average age of the attendees is easily two decades younger than the average age at Worldcon, World Fantasy or most other SF and fantasy cons. The kids and young adults are getting their creative buzz on in different way than they were several decades ago.

What does this all mean? Heck if I know. I think it does bode well for the future of steampunk as a cultural element. And these conventions are a lot of fun. But what’s going on under the hood is different in some fascinating ways that I believe SF and fantasy authors need to take careful note of and spend time thinking about.

What do you think? Have you experienced the wild, whacky world of steampunk differently? Am I misunderstanding the source and direction of primary creativity in these contexts?

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[conventions] Gaslight Gathering, day three

Yesterday was fun, if long. (Like a good date.) [info]the_child, Lisa Costello and I breakfasted as usual. I had a late morning autograph session. We caught a quick lunch, then they headed off for the airport to return home while I geared up for the auction.

I was let off the hook of my ethical dilemma by the excellently good offices of steampunk fan and Gaslight Gathering volunteer Dave Rodger, who is among other things a cattle auctioneer. This violated one my cardinal rules of auction running, which is “Never compete for attention with a cattle auctioneer”, but moved bidding along nicely. (Longtime readers will of course recall that my other cardinal rule of auction running is “Never compete for attention with a clown in a straitjacket on a unicycle.” Experience is a bitter teacher.) As yet I do not know what the auction cleared, but some pretty amazing items went up for sale, and at a wide variety of prices ranging from painfully underbid to amazingly run up. Such is the way of auctions.

Post-auction, I hung about for closing ceremonies, then rested a while in my hotel room. In the fullness of time, concom chair Anastasia Hunter and a cast of dozen took me out to Phil’s B.B.Q., apparently a San Diego institution. Which was quite good, as evidenced by these photos:

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No, I did not Eat All the Things, tempted as I was. Those are the plates of three different diners, that last being my order of boneless pork shoulder. I do find the extremely wide variation in style, presentation and meat selection of barbecue around the country to be fascinating. This was extremely delicious.

Afterward, we repaired to a suite at the hotel for a hilarious yet moderately distressing game of Cards Against Humanity, which is currently my top candidate for Most Inappropriate Game Ever. When we were done, Anastasia had me edit a couple of cards, then autograph them.

This morning I have breakfast with at least some of the concom, lunch with Greg van Eekhout, then I’m off to Portland, where I’ll reunite with [info]the_child, Lisa Costello. Starting Tuesday, the rest of this week is dedicated to cancer diagnosis and some likely challenging treatment and life decisions.

I’m very glad I got to spend the weekend here at Gaslight Gathering. My thanks to the folks who invited me, to all the conrunners and volunteers that made this event possible, and to everyone who came to the auction. Also, my especial thanks to all my friends as well as some total strangers who made such amazingly generous donations to the auction. I love the community that is genre.


Photos © 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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[conventions|photos] Gaslight Gathering, day two

Yesterday was a lot of fun. I had breakfast with The League of S.T.E.A.M., then a day of programming. This included a reading, a guest spotlight, a panel on writing steampunk, and a hilarious hour of improv moderated by Todd McCaffrey. Plus we dropped into Brian Kesinger‘s birthday party. Today I have an autographing, and then I’m emcee’ing the auction.

Some photos by the [info]the_child:

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[conventions] Gaslight Gathering, day one

Yesterday was day one of Gaslight Gathering. We had a darned good time, if I do say so. The morning was more or less our own, except for some time spent with the Guest Liaisons planning Sunday’s auction logistics. There I was given two wonderful new (and very writerly) aloha shirts by conventions chair Anastasia Hunter.

After lunch, the three of us hit Opening Ceremonies, where I was awarded a medal. Literally. We then prowled the Dealer’s Room. There I signed stock for Mysterious Galaxy, and signed books for all comers. That was followed by a rather nice “meet with guests” with fellow Guest of Honor Brian Kesinger. Val and Ron Antell took us out to dinner at D.Z. Akin’s, which was a cultural experience in and of itself. I couldn’t even tell you what I ate, except it was called the “Mini Ethnic Sampler”, and included lots of Jewish carbohydrates from Eastern Europe. We finished off the evening with a concert by Steam Powered Giraffe.

And of course, some photos. Most of them by [info]the_child.

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[conventions] Arriving at Gaslight Gathering

Yesterday, [info]the_child, Lisa Costello and I flew to San Diego to attend Gaslight Gathering, where I am Guest of Honor this weekend. We were graciously met at the airport, then ferried out to Illumina for me to give a talk on cancer and genomics, then brought to the convention hotel and released into the wild for the evening.

I am meeting this morning with Gaslight Gathering’s guest liaison to go over my schedule for the weekend. Specifically the auction on Sunday is going to be an interesting challenge. They have put it together as a benefit for me, and some of the donations have been impressive and humbling. I’ll say more about this when the time comes. I’ll be around all weekend, so if you’re at the convention I should be easy to find.

My philosophy about being a GoH is that my time belongs to the convention. Even so, there will be a little extracurricular visiting while I’m here. Tomorrow morning, my friends from the League of S.T.E.A.M. are coming down from Los Angeles to have breakfast with me. Sunday evening I’m having dinner with @gregvaneekhout. Monday I’m mostly chilling until I fly back to Portland that afternoon. So if you’re in the San Diego area and want to connect, let me know. We can probably work something out.

Meanwhile, I plan to have a heck of a lot of fun here. I know they have some surprises in store for me, but I do not know what those are. (Because they wouldn’t be surprises then, would they?) More to come…

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[travel|conventions] Off to San Diego and Gaslight Gathering

In a couple of hours, Lisa Costello, [info]the_child, and I are off to the airport to fly to San Diego for Gaslight Gathering. Those fine folks have invited me to be their Guest of Honor. How could I say no?

This afternoon when we arrive, we’ll be visiting Illumina, the company that performed the primary analysis for my Whole Genome Sequencing. There I will give my talk on cancer and genomics from the patient perspective. After that, we’ll be the whole weekend at the convention.

The Gaslight Gathering folks have been incredibly kind and generous, offering me all sorts of support. I cannot thank them enough for the invitation, and very much look forward to spending the weekend with that crew. If you’re in southern California, especially San Diego, drop in and see me.

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[conventions|repost] Announcing JayCon XIII

Every year, some people tell me that I need to announce JayCon early so they can get it in on their calendars. Every year, some people tell me I need to announce JayCon later, because they don’t plan that far ahead. Sometimes, these are the same people. So starting now, and going on through the spring, I will be reposting this announcement with occasional edits or updates as needed.

In celebration of my natal anniversary, JayCon XIII, my 13th annual 37th birthday party, is Saturday, June 15th, 2013 from 2 to 5 pm at the Flying Pie in SE Portland. We’re partying because I was born, and because I have beat cancer again and again and again.

If you can read this, you’re invited. Prior JayCon experience not required.

Also, if you’re coming from out of town, and you think I might not be aware of that, please contact me. There are some limited capacity extended festivities from Friday to Sunday.

Flying Pie Pizzeria
7804 SE Stark Street
Portland, 97215
(503) 254-2016
http://www.flying-pie.com/
[ Google Maps ]

As is traditional for JayCon, Paul M. Carpentier is specifically not invited.

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[conventions|repost] Announcing JayCon XIII

Every year, some people tell me that I need to announce JayCon early so they can get it in on their calendars. Every year, some people tell me I need to announce JayCon later, because they don’t plan that far ahead. Sometimes, these are the same people. So starting now, and going on through the spring, I will be reposting this announcement with occasional edits or updates as needed.

In celebration of my natal anniversary, JayCon XIII, my 13th annual 37th birthday party, is Saturday, June 15th, 2013 from 2 to 5 pm at the Flying Pie in SE Portland. We’re partying because I was born, and because I have beat cancer again and again and again.

If you can read this, you’re invited. Prior JayCon experience not required.

Also, if you’re coming from out of town, and you think I might not be aware of that, please contact me. There are some limited capacity extended festivities from Friday to Sunday.

Flying Pie Pizzeria
7804 SE Stark Street
Portland, 97215
(503) 254-2016
http://www.flying-pie.com/
[ Google Maps ]

As is traditional for JayCon, Paul M. Carpentier is specifically not invited.

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