Williamson Lectureship Chair David Sweeten hits the high points in the schedule:
For Thursday April 13th, we are having opening comments on the Lectureship, and we will have a screening of student short sci-fi films alongside a display of student sci-fi art. On Friday April 14th, we’ll have our Guest of Honor reading, a lunchtime event with sci-fi trivia, comments from Connie, and a Keynote from Arkady Martine; panels (including a panel on scholars studying sci-fi and fantasy); and a gaming event. On Saturday morning April 15th, we’re planning on having Connie’s Creative Writing Workshop, accompanied by however many baked goods I can get through my oven in time.
Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. Under both names she writes about border politics, narrative and rhetoric, risk communication, and the edges of the world. She is currently a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she works on climate change mitigation, energy grid modernization, and resiliency planning. Her debut novel, A Memory Called Empire, won the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and its sequel, A Desolation Called Peace, won the 2022 Hugo Award in the same category. Arkady grew up in New York City, and after some time in Turkey, Canada, Sweden, and Baltimore, lives in New Mexico with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw. Find Arkady online at www.arkadymartine.net or on Twitter as @ArkadyMartine.
Connie Willis has been publishing science fiction and fantasy works for more than 50 years. After her first novel was published in 1982, she was able to quit her teaching job and become a full-time writer. She’s won multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and named a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master. Themes in her works include time travel, romantic comedy, history, and Christmas – to name a few. Her 2016 novel Crosstalk was named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR. Her most recent novel was Take a Look at the Five and Ten from Subterranean Press in 2020; The Road to Roswell will be coming out in July 2023 from Del Rey.
The annual Jack Williamson Lectureship includes a luncheon with presentations by the guest of honor and toastmaster, readings by guest authors, time for book sales and signing, and panel discussions on a variety of science fiction and fantasy topics.
The lectureship, named for the prolific sff author and academic, was established by the university when Dr. Jack Williamson retired from his position as professor of English at Eastern New Mexico University in 1977. Ever since then writers, editors, artists and other speakers have gathered at ENMU every spring to share ideas, insights and their work with students, readers, viewers, creators, collectors and fans.
All events are open to the public and the luncheon is the only event that requires advance reservations and a fee. See the full agenda here.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) has opened registration for the 2023 Nebula Conference, which will be taking place both online and in-person at the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort, in Anaheim, CA from May 12-14, 2023.
Registrations may be purchased at this link. Registration for the online portion of the conference is $150.00and includes access to broadcasts of many of the weekend’s panels and the subsequent archive, mentorship opportunities, the Nebula Awards ceremony, a conference Discord, and entry to SFWA’s ongoing Nebula Conference events beginning May 1, 2023.
In-person conference registration begins at $349.00, which includes access to the online conference. Due to limited space and seating, they anticipate the conference and banquet to sell out, so are encouraging people to buy their tickets early. Participants may attend panels and the awards ceremony in-person, take part in mentorships and receptions, and visit the SFWA hospitality suite.
For Anaheim attendees, banquet tickets for the Nebula Awards banquet can be purchased for an additional $125.00. This three-course celebration dinner held before the Nebula Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 13, 2023 is a fantastic opportunity to mingle with old friends and meet new peers. Conference attendees who wish to attend the ceremony without purchasing a ticket to the banquet may do so on a space-available basis. The ceremony will also stream live online for the public.
The Nebula Conference is the premier professional development conference for aspiring and established members of the science fiction and fantasy industries. It includes content geared toward creators working in games, comics, prose, poetry, and other mediums of storytelling, which reflects the diversifying and expanding membership in the organization.
Purchase conference registrations at this link. Hotel reservations must be made separately, and information on how to reserve a room at conference rates is available at that webpage, along with SFWA policies for harassment, COVID-19, and code of conduct. For questions, please contact [email protected]
A decision to ban an individual from all Arisia convention and other sponsored activities was announced November 20 by the Arisia Inc. Eboard and Acting Convention chairs.
Trigger warning: sexual assault of a minor.
The incident occurred away from the Arisia convention in 2009 and was reported to a senior staff person during the 2010 Arisia. Although multiple reports were received at the time, there were no records in Arisia’s Incident Report Management Committee files. The subject of the report continued to attend Arisia and serve on staff. It was only when the IRMC-assisted vetting process for 2022 convention staff was taking place that the reporters stepped forward again, and otherwise they say the individual would not have been restricted from working on Arisia staff.
The Eboard and Acting Chairs statements follow the jump.
By James Bacon: Octocon 2022, the Irish National SF convention, emerged from the pandemic to successfully present a hybrid event in a new venue and it went very well.
It was so nice to be home amongst fans in Dublin enjoying catching up, hearing about new projects, new works, new ideas all the time within easy reach of chairs and tables, relaxing with a pint and looking over the green of the pitch of the legendary Croke Park.
I had my nieces for some of the time on Saturday, kids could go free, so that was kind, and they got into the swing of things coming in cosplay and immediately joining the Lego session and making some fascinating space ships to a story. Octocon feels young, be it attendees or organisers. I am on the team but am possibly the oldest, and the energy and enthusiasm of the fans present while shared is great to see.
Younger engagement was a key aspect of the programme, kids and teens programme was highlighted, the youngest attendee was 15 months old, she was issued her own badge which was given to her parents for safekeeping while the youngest panelist was 12 years old, and was delighted to proudly wear her panelist ribbon.
Raissa Perez the Octocon chair who has successfully steered the team through three conventions, was visibly ecstatic to be in Croke Park, a venue she was familiar with. Raissa’s ability to pivot to virtual with a fabulous team saw Octocon grow its virtual presence with 600 online members last year and now to dynamically go hybrid demonstrated a skilful approach by all involved., requiring commitment and determination from all the volunteers as this further change brought fresh challenges.
Running a hybrid convention, in the sense that there was an online programme, streaming of programme in person and social space online, is without doubt very tasking on convention running teams. Here success was achieved well, the volunteers all working very hard, in person and online. The strengths of the online aspect was utilised bringing new guests to members while allowing those unable to travel to enjoy the range of discussions and a lively, amusing and educational watch party of Nosferatu also took place.
The venue was ample in size, the conference facilities seemed to work well for attendees and the Croke Park staff were welcoming, a workshop room, main programme, dealers, secondary programme, fan chats and ample socialising space with a bar ran on the same floor. As experience grows with the venue, I expect some aspects will be refined and adjusted to suit the convention, but there is ample space for expansion and growth.
As well as bringing us safely to Croke Park, Raissa helped bring back aspects of Octocon that had slipped away. Costuming had been a strong aspect of Octocons early years and it returned in strength this year with a dedicated Cosplay team and competition a surprisingly large amount of entries. Kids and juniors also got involved and it was impressive to see so many people looking fabulous.
This year’s guests of honour were Michael Carroll, Philippa and Helen Ryder. All three are fans, while Michael and Philippa have received much fame and respect for their professional writing. The three of them have been an integral part of Irish Fandom, conventions, publications, meetings, all fan activities that they have spent vast amounts of time and energy bringing to fruition. All three have worked and chaired Octocons.
This meant the History of Irish Fandom panel was definitely a history! Pippa could speak to the Irish contingent that went to the Brighton Worldccon in 1979 and the nature of the 1970’s Irish Science Fiction Association and the first SF conventions, ISFAcon in the Eighties. Legendary and Brian Nisbet were able to speak to gaming conventions, which mostly emanated from universities. Social Media is such that as this conversation was ongoing, a pal of mine, now lost to us, Mick O’Connor popped up as a memory at an Octocon ten years previous, such synchronicity.
The ISFA was a nexus for Irish fandom. The association itself had newsletters, fiction magazines, workshops, special events, art shows, and monthly meetings. I recall fondly Clive Barker doing a special interview meeting, and of course the Pub Quiz nights. The three guests on the panel were heavily involved in the association. Out of the ISFA Octocon was born, but so many fans who were members, or attended the monthly pub gatherings went on to do more, there was Timewarp a Star Trek Convention than ran twice in the nineties, Sproutlore, which went on to spawn five conventions of its own, Starbase ireland a Star Trek fanclub, Visicon, Nine P-Con’s, two Eurocons and a Worldcon. In actual fact one can trace a vast amount of Fan Activity back to the ISFA. .
Mention of course was made of Harry Harrison’s World SF writers conference in 1976 as well as a story about Harry Harrison at Trincon 1, the first of two SF cons at Trinity University. The 1992 Octocon with its 600 attendees was mentioned – boosted past the expected 200 members by the national broadcaster RTE giving coverage in its guide mentioning Star Trek offhandedly and encouraging fans along. Concept a more relaxed convention which was planned to be held at Celtworld in Wexford in 1993 and didn’t come to pass was explored.
History is very subjective, and fans will associate their own entry point strongly, and while the ISFA is without doubt a crucial point in history, it has been extant now for nearly twenty years, and in that time Anime Conventions and Comic Conventions have stormed forth with great success, gaming cons have been consistent while other more specialised events have been very successful as festivals have grown. Fanac.org got a mention as there is now quite a bit of Irish material there, and I think it was Helen Ryder suggested the ISFA makes a return. Brian Nisbet was an encyclopaedia of Irish gaming cons, there really wasn’t enough time, and in retrospect Raissa should have been on this panel to talk about the anime conventions, Eirtikon and Jcon which were impressive, though really a sequence of panels looking at each decade is probably very feasible.
Michael Carroll made mention of something though that is so vital, connecting with fans, and this is more important than ever, while the internet is amazing, one has to find conventions to get to them, he noted that he found the ISFA from a flyer in a shop, and I noted that Mick worked in Phantasia when I met him and others, Padraig in Dandelion books was another source of fans and this year Octocon had a wonderful window display in Hodges Figgis the week of the convention. We still need to reach out, to go to where fans will be, shops and libraries, and Comic Cons, where also this year a team from Octocon had a table.
I was sitting down the back, as one does with fellow previous Octocon Chair Maura McHugh and I said how interesting it is to see the little different recollections of the same thing with a bit at variance with my own memories.
Philippa and Helen Ryder had produced a fanzine Through Space and Time a personal journey in Irish Science Fiction, Part 1, 1970 – 90 and this was picked up eagerly by fans, and I understand soon to be available on efanzines.com and Fanac.
Maura McHugh had been on a panel about Irish Horror Films with Jon O Sullivan, amongst others from which I took some excellent recommendations. Dead Meat by Dubliner Eddie King seems to be the starting point of a new epoch of Irish Horror Films in 2006. Based on my notes, here were a list of films recommended, Dark Song, Grabbers, The Lodgers, Hole in the ground, Byzantium, Boys from County Hell, Mad God, Hellbender, You are not my mother and Sea Fever. Ygraine Hackett-Cantabranna who was also on the panel had written a Fangoria article earlier in the year which was the source of inspiration for the panel and I was pleased at how knowledgeable some of the panelists were.
I picked up The Elementals and Spyfunk, different anthologies as they had stories by Russell A. Smith stories which I was interested in reading, and Russell is a supporter and participant of Octocon and it was nice to be able to pick up his stories in these books. Spyfunk is an anthology of Spy Stories with characters who are from Africa or of African heritage and it’s a cracking selection edited by Milton J Davis. As well as Russell’s story, which I read first and was well impressed with, I thought Eugene Bacon’s story was quite wonderful with a fantastical element to it, but they were all quite quick reads which really delivered, entertaining while being fresh and fun. Russell’s story in The Elementals was a different prospect, set in London, it felt very real and very current, albeit with a magically abled protagonist, a young witch who is able to manipulate water and air and whose plans for a nice weekend gets complex both with real life problems, her cousin gets arrested and then the fantastical. A nice read, it feels very honest and genuine in its London setting, giving a strong sense of place and another quick read.
Overall, it was a smashing weekend. It was interesting to see how people adjusted to the return, with a total of 409 members, 283 people attended the convention in person, 49 of whom joined on the door, 185 members attended virtually and the programme was excellent, both online and in person. The con worked well. They sought support from Dublin and Fingal Libraries, Unesco City of Literature, Glasgow 2024 and Dublin 2019, and it was nice to see Libraries present where readers could actually borrow books.
Too soon it was over. Next year’s Octocon awaits a date confirmation, but fans are already signing up here.
Pemmi-Con, the North American Science Fiction Convention, has created a First Nations Travel Fund.
The event will be held July 20-23, 2023 at the Delta Hotels Winnipeg and the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.
Robbie Bourget & Linda Ross-Mansfield, the Pemmi-Con co-chairs, explained how the fund will work.
Pemmi-Con has committed to reserve 10% of their Adult Attending memberships, or CAD $4,000, whichever is greater, to assist indigenous science fiction and fantasy fans to travel to Winnipeg to attend Pemmi-Con. This fund will be under the direction of indigenous groups who will contact Pemmi-Con to request funds for individuals whom they believe should be assisted to travel. Pemmi-Con will not make any decisions about who is eligible for funding.
This Travel Fund may be used for air, rail, road travel or accommodation, or any combination of these. No grant for any individual will be greater than CAD $500, in order to provide the widest outreach.
We acknowledge we are gathered on Treaty 1 Territory and that Manitoba is located on the Treaty Territories and ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Anishininewuk, Dakota Oyate, Denesuline and Nehethowuk Nations.
We acknowledge Manitoba is located on the Homeland of the Red River Métis.
We acknowledge northern Manitoba includes lands that were and are the ancestral lands of the Inuit.
We respect the spirit and intent of Treaties and Treaty Making and remain committed to working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the spirit of truth, reconciliation and collaboration.
Pemmi-Con, the 2023 North American Science Fiction Convention, has opened their Registration Site here.
Those who voted in Site Selection for the 2023 NASFiC at Chicon 8, or converted at Chicon 8, will receive an e-mail with login information for the Registration site in order to either check on their status, upgrade their membership or change their address.
Those who pre-supported the Winnipeg in 2023 NASFiC bid but did not vote also will receive an e-mail with login information to the registration site, where they can convert to either Supporting or Attending Membership in the convention. This e-mail may take a week or so to arrive.
All those who wish to join Pemmi-Con and neither voted, pre-supported, nor paid in full for a membership, should access the site as their first stop in the process of paying for a membership.
Membership rates will rise substantially as of midnight Central Standard Time (North America) on December 5, 2022.
Pemmi-Con is being held July 20-23, 2023 at the Delta Hotels Winnipeg and the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. The convention chairs are Robbie Bourget & Linda Ross-Mansfield.
By John Hertz: We’ll discuss three Classics of Science Fiction at Loscon XLVIII, to be held November 25-27, one discussion each. Come to as many as you like. You’ll be welcome to join in.
Our operating definition is “A classic is a work that survives its own time. After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.” If you have a better definition, bring it.
Each of the three is famous in a different way. Each may be more interesting now than when first published. Have you read them? Have you re-read them?
Charles Harness, The Paradox Men (1953)
Five crises have fused the Americas together; the Imperator is dead, leaving his widow Imperatrix Juana-Maria Chatham-Perez; there’s aristocracy, and a Society of Thieves rigorously trained who steal from the rich to buy freedom for slaves. Dueling. Research stations on the Sun. A star-drive is being tested, based on the square root of -1 and an acceleration of several million gravities. The hero doesn’t know who he is.
Robert A. Heinlein, Time for the Stars (1956)
The Long Range Foundation starts looking for identical twins – because a very few have proved to be telepathic – and rigorous tests can’t find that telepathy takes any time – so it looks promising for messages from starships traveling light-years away. The ships go. There are adventures. Eventually there are consequences – indirect ones – fruitful ones.
C.L. Moore, Doomsday Morning (1957)
Where others rant, this author lights a lantern: looking, as a Star Trek fan sang, at both sides now. Or more. Moore shows her fictional society, its fictional technology, through the human element; always the human element. And we learn why the actor-director protagonist is told he has to put on his play without changing the script even a little.