Friday, September 21, 2007

Reality Check

If anyone is interested in hearing a no-nonsense approach to the realities of making money in science fiction, read Eleanor Arnason's post over at Wyrdsmiths', "Money."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

October Events

My "mainframe" at home had a small meltdown, so it may be a while before I can update my webpage. So, I wanted to post a notice about my up-coming October events:

Saturday, October 6, 2007 starting at 5:30 pm at the Mall of America, I will be part of a mega-author signing which is part of the Midwest Fiction Writers' Fall Harvest Workshop. The precise venue has not been nailed down yet, so I would suggest calling the MoA's Barnes & Noble for further information: 952-854-1455

Friday, October 12, 2007 from 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm I'll be taking part in the Augsburg College Alumni/ea Reunion and Reading. The reading will be in Lindell 301 on the Augsburg College campus: 2211 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55454. For more information call: 612-330-1000. They will have copies of my recent books, including (I hope) Many Bloody Returns, as I'm currenly planning on reading an excerpt from the story that appeared in there, "Fire and Ice and Linguine for Two."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You Say Sci-Fi, I Say SF: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off...

My knee hurts this morning after having fallen out of bed last night. Sheesh.

Also, as I half promised my class last night, I thought of something I wanted to talk more about this morning. I alluded to the fact that the term "sci-fi" is considered derogatory by some science fiction fans and writers. I found a bit of a wikipedia article about the kerfuffle:

Forrest J. Ackerman publicly used the term "sci-fi" at UCLA in 1954, though Robert A. Heinlein had used it in private correspondence six years earlier. As science fiction entered popular culture, writers and fans active in the field came to associate the term with low-budget, low-tech "B-movies" and with low-quality pulp science fiction. By the 1970s, critics within the field such as Terry Carr and Damon Knight were using "sci-fi" to distinguish hack-work from serious science fiction, and around 1978, Susan Wood and others introduced the pronunciation "skiffy." Peter Nicholls writes that "SF" (or "sf") is "the preferred abbreviation within the community of sf writers and readers." David Langford's monthly fanzine Ansible includes a regular section "As Others See Us" which offers numerous examples of "sci-fi" being used in a pejorative seen by people outside the genre.

I grew up in an era (70s/80s) where using the term "sci-fi" was still considered gauche in the circle of "serious" writers and fans. I think, however, as I said in class, this is changing. This may be because of an influx of younger, media-savvy fans/readers. As this snippet from Scifipedia suggests...

"Over the years, Sci Fi's meaning in popular culture has changed to refer almost exclusively to movies and TV with science fiction genre-related themes. Among some in fandom, the term is often used in a derogatory and dismissive way. Some purposely mispronounce the term as "skiffy" and use it to refer to poor quality science fiction and fantasy. Many committed Science Fiction readers refuse to use the term at all, preferring the more generic initialism, "SF."

...the term has been co opted by the media, and thus has fallen into much more regular use. In my opinion, the use of "sci-fi" no longer stigmatizes the user as a "mundane" (non-initiate into science fiction fandom/prodom).

What do you think? Which term do you prefer or do you not have a preference? Is it a matter of po-tato, poh-tato to you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Teachin' and Dreamin'

Do you ever have reoccuring dreams?

I have a lot of them. But, because I periodically teach writing at the Loft, I have a cyclical teaching dream. Usually, it involves what I would call classic dream tropes: I'm lost, I can't the classroom, I was supposed to be teaching months ago, the bus is late/my car has no brakes, etc., etc.

Last night, I had the weirdest twist on my usual teaching dream. In the dream, I showed up to class with my syllabus and a cheery attitude, but I quickly discovered that everyone taking the class knew each other from an on-line group. They had even appointed a specific woman to be the "moderator" for the class and she started handing out syllabus that the on-line group had created. Of course, the things on their list I knew nothing about... I specifically remember that I was supposed to lecture on the topic of "children in science fiction." Anyway, when I tried to gain some control over the class and suggest some compromises between my plans and their, the moderator woman got in a huff and basically organized a walk-out.

Am I worried about class tonight, Dr. Frued? What do you think?

Oh, and if you're local and you suddenly want to take my class, you can still sign up. Here's a link to the details: Mars Needs Writers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Great Writing Resource

My fellow Wyrdsmith, Kelly McCullough painstakingly dug through the "snarkives" over at the now defunct "Miss Snark" literary agent blog for the good stuff. He's made an annotated index over on our site called: The Truly Gargantuan Miss Snark Index Post


If you're serious about learning the business of writing, I think this is a great place to start.