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[conventions] WorldCon schedule

Friday, August 8th

11:30 am — To be Announced: we pick the panel, audience picks the topic
I am moderating Greg Bear, Connie Willis and Chris Garcia. This will be a drop-down laff riot.

1:00 pm — The History of the Campbell Award
I am moderating with Dr. Schmidt. Which mostly means he will talk, I think, since his experience of this history is all first hand. I really hope Chris Garcia and Jim van Pelt can be there, because they’ll get bumped onto the panel if they show up.

5:30 pm — Sidewise Awards
Mainspring Powell’s | Amazon thb | Audible ] is up for this award, though I am highly doubtful of my odds given the excellent competition.

10:00 pm — Match Game SF
will be running this hilarious topical remake. I will present for the first round only, with some of my books on tap as prizes.

Saturday, August 9th

9:00 am — Strolling With the Stars
Me, Frank Wu and Stu Segal, I believe. Though if I’m up rattling around, I’m likely to appear on other days.

5:30 pm — Hugo Reception and Ceremony
I will be making a very special announcement at the reception, and I believe I will be presenting the Campbell Tiara at the ceremony, though I have not yet confirmed this.

Sunday, August 10th

11:30 am — Making a living telling lies

Miscellaneous notes…

  • I am arriving Wednesday afternoon from LaunchPad and flying out Sunday evening.
  • All my dinner slots are spoken for, so if you want to meet up, catch me for breakfast, lunch or bar time.
  • I’m supposedly involved in a couple of publication panels covering specific anthologies, but this has not yet been confirmed.
  • There is a joint Buckell-Lake-Rosenbaum-Strange Horizons party in the SFWA suite, I believe Saturday afternoon. Borderlands Books will have stock to purchase, and Toby will be doing stand-up comedy. I’ll confirm time and location when I know them.
  • Failing all else, I’m likely to be in the bar, whichever bar seems most likely.

[links] Link salad for a hump day

Jonathan Strahan comments passim on Green and Escapement Powell’s | Amazon ] — He asks a question I’ve wondered about myself. Also, bonus kenscholes mentioned.

“Mind Meld” from SF Signal on worldbuilding — In which I was invited to play.

will-couvillier with news about the return of James Gunn’s online writing workshop — Go check it out.

Mary Robinette Kowal builds me a new colon — She has the technology. She will make me stronger than I was before.

Cake Wrecks — Hahahahahah. (Thanks to danjite.)

APOD with another astonishing image of Martian terrain — The post is titled “High Cliffs Surrounding Echus Chasma on Mars.” I want to put a city in that crater.

Global Warming distortion from the right wing noise machine — An overview at Cocktail Party Physics (Hat tip to Bad Astronomy Blog, which has been on a roll lately.)

The US Military’s sleep reduction program — (Hat tip to Freakonomics.)

Time in saddle: n/a (20 minute walk instead)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: Green by Jay Lake

[books] Cover art

I was thinking random thoughts about publishing as I walked back to my hotel from dinner. (This is a sign that I continue to feel better — I’m no longer thinking random thoughts about cancer, by and large.) Back in stone age of the 1970s when I first started buying books myself, right through the mid-to-late 1990s when the Internet came into general use, my book-buying habits followed a specific pattern.

When I’d find an author I liked, I would spend time in the bookstore trying to figure out what order to read their stuff in, and whether I missing titles. Otherwise, I’d browse for interesting titles and covers. This explains the preponderance of authors with surnames beginning with /A/ and /B/ on my shelves to this day — often I wouldn’t get much further.

Judging a book by its cover is a proverbially tricky business, yet that’s what most buyers do outside of genre-specific or author-specific Fandom. There’s a whole art to cover design which is way beyond my comprehension, except for me to shout out to Tor yet again about what a wonderful job Irene Gallo has done with my covers. The Dos Santos art for Green is a trifecta in the cover lottery.

What I wonder about is how cover design has changed in the years since the Internet disintermediated detailed bibliographical information, as well as book reviews. Do people buy differently now, armed with information? I certainly do. (That, and all the ARCs and courtesy copies people mail me.) But am I an outlier? Or has the role of the book cover changed in the past 25 years?

Beats me, I have no intuition about that, but it’s an interesting question. Poll here on my LJ if you’re interested in adding your observations to a very unscientific survey of book buying habits of yore.

Other thoughts?

[travel] Lafayette, I am somewhere

Well, I seem to be in Omaha. At least that’s what the rental car contract says. The Hertz random upgrade program hath delivered unto me a brand new Chevrolet TrailBlazer, due to a “broken car wash.” Just the vehicle for these days of $4+ per gallon gas. Luckily, about half my meetings this week are literally across the street from the hotel.

On leaving Seattle this morning I had a lovely aerial view of four Cascade volcanos almost in alignment — Mt. Ranier, Mt. St Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. And I’m enough of a Northwesterner now to identify them by their profiles as well as by their relative locations. I then kicked some serious butt on “In the Forests of the Night”, wrapping the first draft a bit over 18,000 words.

After that I did some crit, some contest judging, and some reading of Green. I have to a bit of audio work in the next day or two, otherwise I’m focused on Green, which has a no-shit deadline of the end of this month. (I actually finished the requested revisions back in June, on time, despite all my excellent cancer adventures, but the excellent and incomparable casacorona give me an month’s extension.)

garyomaha commented tonight that I seem more like my old self than he’s seen since the cancer bus ran me down. I think that’s true — for several hours today Classic Jay was in evidence. Completing a major story, having a clear head, I just am me. Of course, I’ve since cratered, and I still can’t do airline Sudoku (I tried), but, hey. One damned thing at time.

I’m happy.

[links] Link salad for a Friday

A review of Mainspring Powell’s | Amazon thb | Audible ] — Not so much with the liking, this one. interviews Stephen Hunt — Author of the truly awesome Court of the Air. Gratuitous drive-by mention of my description of the novel: “If Charles Dickens and Jack Vance had ever collaborated, they might have written this book…a collision between English letters and the hard-edged vision of grunge fantasy.” Plus loads of steampunky goodness. Fantasy Book Critic has more.

xkcd on literary criticism

Air travel poses weighty problem for musicians with big instruments — Huh. Obvious in retrospect, but, huh.

Researchers have controlled the position of a single electron in a silicon circuit. — This will change one or two things. Personally, I’m excited about the implications for management of power requirements and waste heat.

NASA’s Deep Impact probe films Earth as an alien world — Cool stuff. Very cool. (Hat tip to Bad Astronomy Blog.)

Time in saddle: 6 minutes
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 248.6
Currently reading: n/a

[travel] Spending the weekend down by the bay

It was a good weekend, but somehow my blog index was much lower than normal. Comes of being in single-tasking health, I guess.

Friday afternoon I got to San Francisco. Had a nice lunch down in Cole Valley with calendula_witch, then went to my Balboa Park pied-a-terre and crashed out until therinth and Mr. Therinth picked me up for a dinner in San Jose with zellandyne and her guy.

Saturday morning I headed down to Santa Cruz, a trip interrupted by a brief but paperwork-free roadside interview with the po-po: “Sir, using a cell phone while driving is illegal in California.” “I’m from Oregon, I didn’t know.” “Well, then get out of here, but don’t do it any more.” (He was very courteous, as was I.) Down in Santa Cruz I spent an hour on KUSP with Lyle Troxell and a cast of half a dozen, including Rick Kleffel. The Trashotron podcast of the radio segment is here.

After that it was back up to San Francisco, another nap, then off to Borderlands Books, followed by SF in SF, all of which was great good fun. dinogrl and dave_gallaher showed up at the store, but there was a logistical mixup about dinner and they didn’t connect after. Terry Bisson hosted me and Susan Palwick for SF in SF, where after a brief memorial discussion of Tom Disch, she read a rather dark and twisted piece, I read the equally cheerful “The Goat Cutter”, then we all interviewed each other.

Afterwards, camillemulan gave me a book for the_child, her graphic novel Raggedy Chan about the experience of being a Chinese girl in America. It came with a lovely doll. the_child was quite thrilled.

Today was an early Vegan breakfast with mine hostess, then I hopped an early flight home. A very good trip to the Bay Area, but I am happy to be back in my own little home (however briefly).

[books] Green cover art

And I have now seen the cover art for Green. It is fabulous, and very much captures the spirit of both the book and the girl who is the title character. Posted with permission of the artist, Dan Dos Santos: (more…)

[links] Link salad for a Bay Area day

Today’s Bay Area events:

10 am GeekSpeak interview. [ | LiveJournal ]

3 pm Borderlands reading and signing

7 pm appearance with Susan Palwick at SF in SF

Steve York lays the smack down on Buzz Aldrin for blaming science fiction for the decline of interest in the space program — Um…earth to Buzz?

Exploring Titan by blimp — Ok, excuse my while cool-o-meter spazzes out. It’s Space 1889 come to life! (Except with fewer Belgians.)

The law of diminishing returns in late-life healthcare — This article struck a bit close to home, given my recent experiences with cancer.

Cell-phone sniffing dogs — Can I have one that can find the car keys?

Spanish parliament extends rights to apes — It’s easy to make fun of this, but there’s a serious, albeit difficult, point buried in here somewhere.

The week that should have ended McCain’s presidential hopes — Or, “Your Liberal Media Inaction.” (Thanks to lt260.)

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (travelling)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Belated link salad for a Friday

bsdotrand with a surprising comment on Escapement Powell’s | Amazon ] — Well, surprising to me at any rate. I’m rather impressed with their insight.

Check out the Steampunk Abecedary — it’s kind of amazing what you guys can do [ LiveJournal | ] — (Most of the action is on the LiveJournal comments.)

Batman by Michael Bay — Hahahahah. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

The cognitive technology of numbers — “Cognitive technology.” Wow. What a concept.

Elizabeth Hand writing at Salon on the passing of Thomas M. Disch — (Thanks to my Aunt M.)

An airline pilot on TSA — (Thanks to my Aunt M.)

A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue — An analysis of whether McCain is qualified by citizenship to be president. To be clear, I think this is a bogus issue, just like the “McCain doesn’t know to use a computer” thing is bogus. (My own birth circumstances are rather similar, but I’m in no danger of running for president in this lifetime.) However, consider the focus of the Right on the circumstances of Obama’s birth and related qualification for office: imagine for a moment that sort of focus on McCain, where there is a clearly colorable claim, as opposed to woolly conspiracy theories about forged birth certificates. As with so many other issues-of-character and personal past by which Democrats are hung out to dry, it’s OK if you’re a Republican.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (travelling)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: n/a

[travel] “They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies”

Up too late already, given my 3:30 am (Central) wakeup call. At least I’ve been horizontal for a while.

After too short a night’s sleep, I’m off for San Francisco tomorrow. (I’ll crash more on the plane.) Doing nothing but light socializing and resting when I get there, before Saturday’s three-ring circus of a day. First ring: the 10 am GeekSpeak interview. [ | LiveJournal ] Second ring: the 3 pm Borderlands reading and signing. Third ring: the 7 pm appearance with Susan Palwick at SF in SF.

I wasn’t able to finagle a ride to Santa Cruz in the morning, so I’ll be doing a lot of driving that day. I imagine I’ll survive, but I’ll be useless Sunday, so I don’t expect to get back to fiction until at least Monday after I’ve been home. It will be a lot of fun, though.

[links] Link salad for a Monday

In cased you missed them over the weekend:

Escapement in The Washington Post [ | LiveJournal ]

Me talking about the emotional penalties of cancer [ | LiveJournal ]

tetar with a letter to the late, great Thomas Disch

The Ethics of Interstellar JourneyingCentauri Dreams bumps into a problem SF has been wrestling with for generations.

First Detailed Map of the Human Cortex — I have commented before that brain imaging studies of writers while they are in a state of writing fugue would probably be quite revealing — if nothing else for performance management. At one point I seriously suggested such a study to a friend who does research psychology, and volunteered to participate.

lillypond with a wonderful photo of the_child

Studebaker Cathedral:: 1908Shorpy with another awesome image. This one borders on apocalyptic, if the Apocalypse had happened during the administration of Teddy Roosevelt.

Freakonomics on the DC gun ban — This article doesn’t align well with my opinions and beliefs about gun control, but it’s interesting, and comments on the available statistics.

McCain promises to balance budget — Hahahaha. Here’s the doozie: The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. I’m pretty sure your average high school sophomore could spot the glaring flaw in the logic. Will anyone in conservative America even notice Mr. Straight Talk’s utter bullshit on this one? Or maybe Your Liberal Media? Nah…

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (travelling)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 252.2
Currently reading: Pavane by Keith Roberts [ ]