Some fun things for the weekend:
- At every convention I’ve ever gone to, rule #1 is “don’t freak the mundanes”. However, some mundanes are very good at freaking themselves. (h/t Andrew Porter)
- Chicon and Dragon*con will be doing some joint programming, connected by two-way video links. I’ve looked into doing this sort of thing at Readercon, mostly to bring in guests who can’t travel to the convention for one reason or another, and there are a really astonishing number of ways for it to fail even if you have substantial infrastructure and experience with videoconferencing. Not all the problems are technological: if you’re a speaker, for example, do you face the live audience or the camera? If you’re a moderator, you rely heavily on body language; how can you tell whether your long-distance panelists are fidgety and bored, or itching to say something but too polite to butt in? It’s very complicated. I will definitely be going to some of those program items to see whether they can pull it off.
- Speaking of Worldcon, if you want to meet up there, drop me a note! It’s a working vacation for me, and I’d especially love to connect with small-press publishers who don’t often come to New York.
- At long last, Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction series will have digital editions. These books are excellent reading as well as priceless snapshots of how SF has changed over the years. Not mentioned in that press release, but hopefully included in the digitization project, is The Best of the Best, Volume 2, an anthology of superb SF novellas from the past 20 years. That book is probably my third-favorite anthology of all time, and I have read many, many, many anthologies. (The first two in my personal pantheon are Terry Carr’s Best Science Fiction of the Year #14 (1984) and Spider Robinson’s The Best of All Possible Worlds. It’s a close call, but I think Best of the Best, Volume 2 edges out Judith Merril’s The Year’s Best S-F: 11th Annual Edition (1967) and Arthur W. Saha’s The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories 13 (1987) for third place. Barely.) Some of the very best work in the field has been done at novella length, going back to the days of skinny pulp paperbacks that really did fit in your back pocket. If you haven’t hunted down Dozois’s homage to the SF novella, do; you won’t be disappointed.
Finally, my friend Rachel Silber kindly sent along “Just Glue Some Gears on It (and Call It Steampunk)”, a smashing blend of chap-hop and barbershop-style harmony: