Ah…another year, another Shore Leave at the Hunt Valley Inn outside Baltimore. My favorite con, hands down, and once again I have a really full plate. But if you’re going too, and you want to find me, and you’re not the one who put the tracking chip in my head, here’s my schedule next weekend to make things easier:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3:
8pm–9pm, Hunt Ballroom: Ray Bradbury: Author’s Retrospective
I join David Mack, Scott Pearson, Michael Jan Friedman, Steve Wilson, and Kathleen David to celebrate the work, influence, and legacy of one of the true giants of the genre.
10pm–Midnight, Hunt/Valley Corridor: Meet the Pros
All the attending authors and editors, together in one room at one time.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4
11am–1pm, Concierge Room: Story Development Workshop
Two bestselling authors—David Mack and David R. George III—and I will strive to impart some of the fundamentals of the craft to aspiring writers. What could possibly go wrong?
1pm–2pm, Concierge Room: Editors: Forging Partnerships with Writers
Veteran editors Greg Cox, Scott Pearson, and I delve into the responsibilities editors and writers have to each other, and talk about the ways to make those relationships work.
2pm–3pm, Salon E: Kira Nerys: The Heart and Soul of DS9
David R. George III, Rigel Ailur, and I take a look back at one of my favorite Star Trek characters, her relevance to the mythos as a whole, and her unique place in SF television history.
4pm–5pm, Salon A: Star Trek Vanguard: The Finale
Join Dave Mack and me as we close the book on the Star Trek novel series we developed together eight years ago, and discuss hows and whys of bringing that saga to its ultimate conclusion.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5
11am–Noon, Salon A: Tor Books, New and Upcoming
Greg Cox and I, together with author guest Christopher L. Bennett, present highlights from Tor’s extensive list of original Science Fiction and Fantasy.
I’m back from the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention, held this year in pleasantly arid Reno, Nevada. This was my first Worldcon, and I’m still coming down off the high of what was, for me, a really amazing week. Some of the highlights:
• The Tor Party: This is a Worldcon tradition, and I was tasked with taking point when it came to putting it together this year, though I had plenty of help from veterans of previous Tor parties, including editors Patrick Nielsen- Hayden, Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, Susan Chang, Liz Gorinsky, David Hartwell, Beth Meacham, Moshe Feder, and Jim Frankel, as well as our art director, Irene Gallo, and our punk-rock publicity director, the indispensible Patty Garcia. We had a great suite of three rooms for the occasion, which included a jacuzzi and two bathtubs suitable for filling with ice and a nice variety of fizzy libations. I got to spend a fair amount of time behind the bar greeting people and dispensing vine-based social lubricants, while writers, editors, artists, agents, and all manner of fans milled in and out over the next seven hours. At times the population density made the suite virtually unnavigable, and the heat unbearable, but going by the number of compliments I received as partygoers left for the evening, it seemed as if a great time was had by all. Not even a mishap involving a stick of soppressata, a very large knife, and my thumb (don’t ask) could mar the evening’s festivities, and I was finally able to lock up the suite just after four a.m.
• Reconnecting with old friends, such as artist John Picacio, who was warm and gregarious and generous with his time as always; and Lou Anders, one of the earliest writers I worked with at Simon & Schuster, who won this year’s Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form.
• Making new friends, such as author Paul Cornell, who rocked the house at the Masquerade with his half-time show; Editor-in-Chief Liza Groen Trombi of Locus Magazine and her bevy of interns, Francesca, Hannah, and Chloe; Fairwood Press founder Patrick Swenson; and the many authors, both established as aspiring, whose acquaintance it was my honor to make.
• The Hugo Awards: a well-produced annual ceremony recognizing excellence in the genre, for which I was happy to wear a suit and tie.
* Fine dining: I’m not a casino guy, ao I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the local cuisine, especially in the variety of restaurants hosted by the Atlantis hotel, which included an amazing sushi joint, a great steakhouse, an excellent bistro, and an unbelievably authentic NYC style deli.
All in all, Worlcon was a wonderful experience for me. Can’t wait for the next one!
I’m back from Shore Leave, where I had an utterly fantastic time, as usual. Kara Bain took this photo of Dayton Ward, me, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack our first night there. We may not be Ocean’s Eleven, but as Los Amigos de Vanguard, we do all right.
The annual Shore Leave F/SF media convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland is just a week away, and as most of my nerd brethren have already posted their preliminary programming schedules for that weekend, I figured it was time I did the same.
To my surprise, my name appears on more panels this year than in than any previous Shore Leave I’ve attended in the last decade. So if you’re interested in where I’ll be, here’s the 4-1-1:
Friday, July 8
7pm-9pm, Hunt/Valley Room: The Third Annual Shore Leave Comedy Roast For Charity
Benefitting the American Red Cross, this year my fellow roasters and I pile on my friend Bob Greenberger—all for a good cause, natch. You can find out more about it here.
10pm-Midnight, the Hunt/Valley corridor: Meet the Pros
Meet and chat with the Shore Leave author guests–including me! Previous years I was always here purely as an editor. This year I get to be an author as well, celebrating the publication of Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, which will be available for sale all weekend at the con. Woo-hoo!
Saturday, July 9
10am-11am, Chase Room: What Makes a Villain Great?
Insights and analysis of the ingredients that go into truly awesome antogonists. With David Mack and Alan Kistler
11am-Noon, Salon E: You Maniacs! The Enduring Appeal of Planet of the Apes.
All right, I admit it, I specifically requested this one. Beware the beast Man…and pass me the bananas. With Dayton Ward, Greg Cox, Dave Galanter, and Alan Kistler
1pm-2pm, Salon A: Star Trek Magazine
I join editor and Shore Leave virgin Paul Simpson, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Scott Pearson, and David George III as we talk about all the cool stuff that goes into the mag, what’s coming up, and why you should be reading it.
4pm-5pm, Belmont Room: Myriad Universes and Alternate Timelines
A book concept I launched in 2008 about Star Trek alternate realities recently published its third collection of novellas, and I reunite with several of the authors (Scott Pearson, David R. George III, and Bill Leisner) to talk about bending Trek history.
5pm-6pm, Derby Room: Bring Back Janeway
I’m not officially on this panel, but I volunteered to join my pal, acclaimed Star Trek: Voyager novelist Kirsten Beyer as she invites an open discussion of Pocket’s controversial decision to kill a canonical Star Trek captain, and what that means for Voyager fiction.
Sunday, July 10
11am-Noon, Salon F: The Making of a Reboot
What old show would you want to see updated? We all have a favorite. Find which ones Kevin Dilmore, Bill Leisner, Scott Pearson, Paul Simpson, Amy Sisson and I think are rife with potential.
Noon-1pm, Derby Room: Writing for Cancelled Shows
Believe it or not, there really is an art to this, and it’s my honor to share this hour with some of the artists: Kirsten Beyer, Greg Cox, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, David Mack, and Dayton Ward.
1pm-2pm, Derby Room: Star Trek Vanguard: Still Going Strong
Dave, Dayton, Kevin and I talk about our latest collaboration, Declassified, and the guys drop some hints about their next two novels in the series, What Judgments Come and Storming Heaven.
Nerdcore art by Chris Whetzel
Earlier this year I was asked, together with a whole pack of Star Trek luminaries, to take part in a Biography Channel Special focusing on Trek‘s Captains. Well, the word is out, and the two-hour Captains of the Final Frontier is set to premiere next week on Wednesday, November 3 at 9pm Eastern Time, with followup showings on Thursday and Sunday. The above link has all the details, so please watch it and let me know what you think!
The other folks interviewed for the special include actors Vaughn Armstrong, Denise Crosby, Dominic Keating, Anthony Montgomery, Kate Mulgrew, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, and Nana Visitor; production people Ira Steven Behr, Rick Berman, Manny Coto, René Echevarria, Nicholas Meyer, Michael & Denise Okuda, and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens; authors Kirsten Beyer, Keith R.A. DeCandido, David R. George III, David Mack, Larry Nemecek, and Geoffrey Thorne; comics creator Ken Penders; and Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
I still have no idea how I ended up in such august company, but it was a great experience and fun to do, thanks in no small part to the special’s producer, the awesome Laura Marini.
I love collective nouns. These are words used to represent groups of objects, usually animals. Most people are familiar with these terms without realizing just what a peculiarity of the English language they are: at one time or another we’ve all used, or at least read, expressions such as school of whales, pride of lions, pack of wolves…but how many of us have heard of a destruction of cats, an ostentation of peacocks, or a murder of crows? These are fun words to play with, especially if you’re a writer. Used with care, in just the right context, they can be quite evocative. Fortunately, the Web makes it easy to find lists compiling such words. But the great thing is, if your research doesn’t yield the exact results you want, you can invent your own!
Last year, an author friend on Facebook solicited ideas for collective nouns for snakes. He knew about the usual ones — nest, den, pit — but he was looking for something different for a novel he was writing. Naturally, as tends to be normal among friends, a fair number of the responses were half-joking. My own offering was “a planeful.” Somebody else suggested “Congress.” I think the author ultimately went with “tangle,” which I thought was an excellent choice for the scene he was crafting.
Now I’ve discovered that someone last year put together his own list of collective nouns specifically for the supernatural! My favorites are a cackle of mad scientists, a braid of chimerae, and a clamor of harpies, but I have to admit to being impressed with the author just for being brave enough to suggest a lawn of gnomes. Definitely worth checking out!
Comic Con has come and gone, and I am at once exhausted and invigorated. The weather in NYC was beautiful, which made for a fantastic turnout—they should hold the convention in October every year. Meetings, panels, and introductions were the order of the weekend, and judging from the sudden uptick in inquiries about OE in my inbox, it was time well spent. Also got to do some business on behalf of Star Trek Magazine—never a bad thing—and I still managed to reconnect with old friends and even geek out from time to time.
As always, the DC Comics booth kept drawing me in, as if it had its own gravity. Partly this has to do with the fact that I still have a soft spot for the DC Universe, and I get a real rush out of seeing what’s new, but mainly it’s because I still have a number of friends there from the days when I wrote its catalog, not the least of whom are folks like Syndee Barwick, Georg Brewer, Mike Carlin, Ivan Cohen, Vince Letterio, and Bob Wayne. I also got to hang with fellow DC alumni Bob Greenberger, Andy Helfer, Charlie Kochman, Maureen McTigue, and Stuart Moore. You’d think being immersed in that much deep history would make me feel my age, but honestly, it was just the opposite.
My buds, Keith DeCandido and David Mack, were rockin’ the BOOM! Studios booth, pushing their respective Farscape comics. In the Random House corridor, I learned that Dallas Middaugh, to whom I was introduced at Comic Con in San Diego something like sixteen years ago, now lives two blocks from my last apartment. (How’s that for small universe syndrome?) Also spent time catching up with Christopher Bennett, Greg Cox, Peter David, Mike Friedman, Glenn Hauman, Jennifer Heddle, and Aaron Rosenberg.
The costumes were impressive, though I didn’t have time to photograph nearly as many as I would have preferred. Some of the ones I especially liked are here for your enjoyment.
That was Friday and Saturday. Sunday I stayed home. There was no avoiding it, really. I was on deadline for Titan, which I’m happy top say I met. Now it’s back to work on my current round of editorial jobs, and my novella for Simon & Schuster. I can hear the clock ticking already….