Brief RavenCon Wrap-Up

Had a good weekend in Richmond at RavenCon. All the panels I attended seemed to go well, the ones I was on also ran smoothly, and even the two I moderated. It helped that I had great panelists who had good things to say … it made it harder for me to mess things up.

The best part, of course, was seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I got to hang out with Edmund Schubert, James Maxey, Chuck Gannon, Bud Sparhawk, David B. Coe, Mike Kabongo, Hildy Silverman, Amy Sturgis, Misty Massey, Gail Z. Martin, Stuart Jaffe, Yoji Kondo, Larry Hodges, and lots of other people whose names I can’t remember this early in the morning.

At any rate, a splendid time was had by Gray. Kudos to Mike Pederson and all the organizers and volunteers for putting on a great con!

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Agent Hunt

No, I don’t mean to refer to Ethan Hunt from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

Tonight I started my hunt for an agent to represent my novel — a story of survival and sacrifice in the early days of the first lunar colony, tentatively titled* WALKING ON THE SEA OF CLOUDS.

Specifically, I sent out queries to five agents who have sterling reputations and accept electronic inquiries.

I’ll send more queries out, in batches, in the next few weeks, and I’ll post updates as I have them. Meanwhile, I need to finish getting ready to go to RavenCon.

*Tentatively because, if a publisher decides to take the book, they will decide the title based on what they think is most marketable. That, however, is far in the future.

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25 Years Ago, in Space

On August 30, 1983, the Space Shuttle Challenger launched on mission STS-8. Astronauts Richard Truly, Daniel Brandenstein, Dale Gardner, Guion Bluford (first U.S. black man in space), and William Thornton made up the crew. The mission launched the Insat-1B satellite (a multipurpose satellite for India) and was the first shuttle launch in the dark and the first shuttle landing in the dark.

Other mission highlights (edited into bullet format),

– the nose of orbiter was held away from the sun for 14 hours to test the flight deck area in extreme cold
– the crew filmed performance of an experimental heat pipe mounted in the cargo bay
– the orbiter dropped to 139 miles altitude to perform tests on thin atomic oxygen to identify the cause of glow that surrounds parts of the orbiter at night
– the remote manipulator system was tested to evaluate joint reactions to higher loads
– six rats were flown in the Animal Enclosure Module to observe animal reactions in space
– testing was conducted between the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-I (TDRS-1) and the orbiter using a Ku-band antenna
– investigations continued on the Space Adaptation Syndrome


In other news, Dragon*Con is going fine. I got to visit with several of my writing friends at supper last night, and I’ll be leaving in a little while for Day 2 (featuring the ever-popular Baen slide show).

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Trinoc*coN Report

Today I made it to the last bit of Trinoc*coN, the local Raleigh-Durham SF&F convention.

I caught the tail end of a panel on whether Harry Potter is destined to become a literary classic (the panelists and audience were each about evenly split between “yes” and “maybe”), then was on a panel about the paranormal in fiction and nonfiction. We had an interesting discussion amongst ourselves until a few audience members straggled in … but such is the hazard of Sunday morning panels.

I moderated a panel on SF’s broken technological promises, which was okay … but I’m not a very good moderator. The panel was entitled “Where’s My Flying Car?” and one of the panelists took that rather literally — he brought a nice PowerPoint slideshow about flying cars, which we all enjoyed, but we spent so much time on actual flying cars that we didn’t get to discuss some of the broader promises SF has made.

The highlight was seeing Hank Davis and Laura Haywood-Cory, both from the main office of Baen Books. (Laura got me on the guest list in the first place.) Hank was on the “Flying Car” panel, and as the most widely read of all of us he kept us firmly anchored in the genre. Laura did a great job moderating the very enjoyable panel on Southern Fandom.

This year’s Trinoc*coN was a small affair, a “relaxacon” as it’s known — more laid back and less programming-intense than usual — but very well done and I was pleased to be invited to be a part of it. Kudos and thanks to all the organizers and volunteers!

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Back from the beach, off to a con

Just returned this afternoon, lightly sunburned and heavily fatigued, from a week in Myrtle Beach, and tomorrow I’ll head over to Trinoc*coN, a local SF&F convention. It’s a “relaxacon” this year, with minimal programming, but even so they got a big-name GOH in Catherine Asaro.

I’ll contribute the “minimal” to tomorrow’s programming: I’m on a panel on “The Paranormal in Fiction and Nonfiction” and I’ll moderate “Where’s My Flying Car?”, a panel on the failure of technology to live up to our more fantastic dreams.

For now, though, let’s see if we can add a few more words to the novel-in-progress. Best to any and all!

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YouTube, MeTube

I didn’t expect to make the cut (which may mean there wasn’t a cut), but there I am on the “videoblog” fantasy author Gail Z. Martin made at ConCarolinas. Here’s the YouTube link. I’m the last person she talked to that day, right after GOH Mike Resnick.

Surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle used to say. And of course I didn’t take the opportunity to plug my web site. Ol’ dopey me.

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ConCarolinas Schedule

Opened my ConCarolinas schedule this morning to find that I’m assigned to a half-dozen panels, including one I specifically didn’t want to be on. So here goes:

6:00PM – Best Books You’ve Never Heard Of – NOW ACCEPTING SUGGESTIONS 😮

9:00AM – Fantastic Animals – That is, animals as characters in fiction … done well and poorly
10:00AM – The Science Panel – What’s up in the world of science, especially with respect to story potential
5:00PM – Putting the Science in your Science Fiction – A nice follow-on to the 10 a.m. panel

11:00AM – Where’s My Personal Jetpack? – In which I whine (and channel Daniel Amos*) about not having a rocket pack
3:00PM – Cover Letters – What to do and what not to do, as demonstrated by the slush pile

The con is the 30th of May through the 1st of June, in Charlotte. Visit the ConCarolinas web site for more info.

*Quick, without resorting to Google: who was Daniel Amos?

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