Monthly Archives: June 2008

yesterday’s tomorrow at apollocon

The most interesting panel I attended last weekend at ApolloCon was about SteamPunk. (I was not on the panel; I was in the audience, and rightfully so for this topic. I am not an expert about SteamPunk.)

Chris Roberson argued effectively for a “Big Tent”, wherein all of Yesterday’s Tomorrows are included under the umbrella term.

However, when discussion of SteamPunk went on, the focus was more on airships (for instance the magical airships of Martha Wells’ Hugo-award-winning trilogy…) and objects and anime. Only a touch of the discussion focused on the word “Punk”, suggesting that this was just a throwaway word accidentally coined in large part because of the proximity of CyberPunk on the timeline of the zeitgeist. What little discussion that did involve steam focused on the tactile, tinkerer technology before the digital age. Almost no discussion of either “Steam” or “Punk” took place, compared to discussions of all other things.

I still believe that what everyone is calling “SteamPunk” is actually just Victoriana spread out among the various forms of literature. (For instance, Martha Wells’ fantasy novels, Hayao Miyazaki’s films, and books like “The Prestige” and “The Somnambulist”.)

For my money, SteamPunk, by itself, doesn’t exist.

Thus, when Chris Roberson talks about “Yesterday’s Tomorrows”, he’s describing a completely different subgenre of alternate history entitled “Yesterday’s Tomorrows”.

Other then that, I thought ballroom dancing with Anne K. G. Murphy was really nifty. Ballroom dancing is fun. I sure wish I knew how to do it better.

Space Squid is a really cool Austin LitMag, and I hope everyone gets a chance to read it. I picked up a couple extra to give away randomly out and about, so if you see me, ask me if I have a copy to spare.

I finally had a chance to actually play one of the cool games that people bring to Cons, and my hungry monster cats devoured some really nice people after I turned traitor. Sorry, but the cats thought you were tastier than you were nice, though I’m sure it was a close call.

My favorite reading was done by the talented and underrated short story writer Mikal Trim. (What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? How many pro sales do you need before people hear of you? Well, now you’ve heard of him. Go forth and read.) It was really strange that he was paired up with Mel White. Mikal read a story about a cursing, drunken Texan burning all of his alcoholic wife’s stuff as part of a spell to cause her spontaneous human combustion at the feed store. Mel White read a very YA-friendly story about a bardic pig in fairy world facing fairy tale-style problems.

My panels were pretty quiet. The ghost story one was – for me – just an excuse to do a reading, since no one scheduled one for me. The other folks on the panel told some great stories, too, though theirs were less *ahem* off a computer screen directly, and more actual “story-telling” as the panel was likely intended.

The Anime for SF/F fans was… odd. I wish the moderator guided the discussion towards more interpretation of the intersection between SF/F and Anime than just listing out cool Anime. We had a room full of hardcore Anime fans, and they didn’t really need to be convinced to watch AdultSwim, nor did they really need advice about how to find good Anime. I wasn’t surprised to see people walking out before the end. The second time someone cut off Jessica Reisman – who is very soft-spoken, but also very, very knowledgeable – I kind of wanted to walk out, too.

HOWEVER: There was a really cool mini-panel that happened at the bar afterwards, because our bartender just happened to be a chair of a large, Houston-area Anime convention, and some of the people who walked out of the panel were at the bar as well. That discussion was very interesting indeed between the bartender, Chris Roberson, yours truly and some cool fans that joined us. It was enough to make me wonder why our bartender wasn’t moderating the panel, with Chris on it. I am reminded of a good rule of thumb for conventions: often the coolest things happen at the bar.

Other then that, work will be very, very hectic the next four months, and I will likely miss a day here or there at this little blog. I wasn’t even able to attend the complete convention last weekend. I had to duck out early Sunday morning and go directly to work from Houston. I think I only have one day off this week.

I will be pre-dating entries to try and keep things going, but I will not be quick in the comments for a while. Also, I might just miss a day or two here or there.

If you’d like to make me a full-time blogger, please encourage folks to purchase my books, my stories. Or, just give me lots of money and tell me to blog with it.

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नो अपडेट

busy day ahead, so i leave with just this question:

a dog whose hair was so flowing
there was no way of knowing
which ed was his head
once stopped me and said
please sir am i coming or going

i memoriozed a limerick in jr high school, that has stayed with me my whole life since, but i can’t find the author. anyone?

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@ApolloCon

“I have decided that I’m not going to wear pants all weekend!” – Tim Miller, ApolloCon ’08

I’m going to learn how geeks should dance now…

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wear an eyepatch

The next time you have a job interview, wear an eyepatch.

That way, the interviewer will feel a little uncomfortable about looking you in the eye, and they’ll be put-off by how much they want to ask about the eyepatch. This will put the interviewer on the defensive.

Also, nothing says go-getter like a pirate. Pirates will do all kinds of crazy stuff for their crew and captain. In fact, if you can find a three-corner hat and a parrot, bring those, too!

If I was interviewing someone for a job, and they looked like a pirate, I would immediately hire them on the spot. Because pirates look cool.

Think about it. Wouldn’t you be more likely to vote for Barack Obama or John McCain if one of them constantly looked like a pirate?

Hillary Clinton would have looked awesome and deadly in a three-corner hat. That’s really what her campaign was missing.

People care more about your cutlass wit when you also have a steel cutlass on your hip.

Arrgh ’08!(Someone with more graphical ability than me really ought to send me a picture of our presidential candidates dressed up as pirates…)

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Very Sorry to Report…

I just got off the phone with my boss at my day gig, and apparently I won’t be able to attend ApolloCon for the entire three days.

Sunday morning, I’ll have to leave very early.

I’ll be unable to attend two panels.

10:00 AM Sunday, I’ll be forced to miss this one: Spec Fic, Social Networking, and the Blogosphere

Then, at 12:00 PM Sunday, I’ll also be forced to miss this one: Archetypes in Speculative Fiction

It’s a long story guys, and I don’t want to get into it here. If you want to know, just e-mail me.

sankgreall, gmail com

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Off to ApolloCon…

I’m leaving in the morning for ApolloCon, down in Houston:

www.apollocon.org

In the meantime, I noticed something today that ought to be considered:

Golden Gryphon Press smell fantastic. Whatever they use as paper and glue just smells wonderful. Sometimes, in between stories, I’ll take a quick sniff break.

Seriously.

Have you smelled Golden Gryphon Press books lately?

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Fantasy Magazine teasers…

Want a sneak peek into the July and August fictions of Fantasy Magazine? (Including my short story, “Gods of the Spiderhole”?)

Check it check it here, ladies and gents:

http://catrambo.livejournal.com/177262.html

Cat’s got some lovely looking surprises in store. I can’t wait to read Jim Hines’ story. He’s quite the award-winning short story scribbler, as well as a novelist of goblin-esque merit.

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economic stimulus check

Dear George Bush,

Thanks for giving me three-hundred bucks in the middle of the start of the horrifically expensive summer air-conditioning season.

Miraculously, it just covers the shortfall between my energy budget and my energy reality.

Also, I can finally subscribe to Electric Velocipede.

Your Pal,

Joe

PS You know what? I wish you took all this money and spent it on alternative energy sources like seven years ago, or used it to finish up that unending war in Afghanistan, or something like that. You know… Aren’t you conservatives supposed to be the ones who know how to balance a budget?

PPS Depositing this check made me feel dirty. Like getting money from a friend you know well, but not that well, and recieving too much, and knowing your friend really ought to spend the money on a new roof. But, I want the money, and I know you’ll be gone in like eight months and I’ll never see you again. Also, I think the next guy to live in your house is going to fix things.

(Obama 2008!)

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about ringtones…

‘tis strange to hear people whose ringtones are more eloquent than their conversations.

a loud, elaborate techno dance alarm. she answers.

“hey, how are you…”

“no, just workin’…”

“later…”

Perhaps if people read more books.

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still down

and thanks to the Benbrook Public Library making these posts possible with their internet connection.

I’ve got limited time on this compy to type, so let’s check out a cool video, of the Oberlin Bassoon quartet playing Super Mario Brothers:

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