Sunday, August 9, 2015

Armadillocon, with interview

Two weeks ago I attended Armadillocon 37, as the Editor Guest, in Austin, Texas. I had a wonderful, busy time and lots of interesting conversations. On Thursday evening, on arrival I was greeted with warm Texan hospitality and a delicious meal, met my fellow Guests, including Artist Guest Rocky Kelley (who designed the Program Book cover, from which the cool figures on our badges were taken), and was pleased to discover from some of the members a long-running Austin book club that they had read Alanya to Alanya earlier in the month. Friday started early for me, for the con takes their writing workshop, run by Marshall Ryan Maresca, very seriously, and devotes most of a day to it. All the Guests who were writers (Stina Leicht, Ken Liu, James Morrow, and myself) were instructors in the workshop, along with several other writers and critics. The workshop featured, in addition to the usual critique sessions conducted by two instructors and four or five students, three lively panel sessions in which all of the instructors discussed narrative structure, when to shift directions in or jettison writing projects, and, closing out the workshop, aspects of the business of writing.

On Friday evening, the con held its opening ceremonies, during which Toastmaster Stina Leicht introduced the other Guests and delivered a heartfelt speech on the importance of diversity for science fiction. Saturday, at noon, I joined Nancy Jane Moore, Cynthia Ward, and Jacob Weisman of Tachyon Publications in a panel titled "How to Sell a Book to Aqueduct Press"; the four of us talked a lot about independent-press publishing in general, as well as Aqueduct Press in specific. Saturday mid-afternoon, I participated in a game-show format pitting "Pros" against "Fans." I was certain the Fan team would wiped the floor with us--but no. To my astonishment, we routed them. As Stina, who hosted the game, warned us, our job was to guess the answers written on the surveys con-goers had filled out, which needn't actually be "correct." It was a weird experience, I can tell you, when for the category of "Feminist SF Writers," the number-one answer (Ursula Le Guin was number 2.) In my penultimate programming item, Chris Brown and Madeleine Rose Dimond interviewed me. (See below.) And on Sunday afternoon, I read a portion of "A Question of Grammar" from Never at Home and--because I'd been allotted an entire hour for my reading--had the pleasure of engaging in a fascinating conversation with my small audience.  

The programming was rich in readings, I'm happy to say, even if most of those I attended didn't attract large audiences, not least because there were often two readings going on at the same time, in addition to panels. Of the panel programming, I was most interested in attending the panels on feminist sf (which were well attended)-- one on "classical feminist sf," another titled "Badass, Babe, or None of the Above; Are Women's Archetypes Evolving (or Not) in SF/F Literature?" and "New Feminist SF." In two of these Marguerite Reed adopted the role of contrarian, which nudged the discussion into unexpected places. I also especially enjoyed the panel on Alternate History, with Chris Brown, Madeleine Rose Dimond, C.J. Mills, Katharine Eliska Kimrbiel, and Howard Waldrop.

And of course, as always happens at cons, I enjoyed numerous conversations in the lobby, halls, dining room, con suite, and at the bar in the lobby, filling my head with thoughts I carried back with me to Seattle.  

Although I took notes on the panels I attended, when I got home I discovered I couldn't sufficiently decipher my own hurried scrawl to make sense of them. But, though I can't offer you cogent summaries of the panels I attended, I can offer you the recording Chris Brown made of my Editor Guest interview-- or, rather, a link to it. (Although it is easy to post videos on this blog, audio recordings are something else...) You can find the recording of the interview on my website, here:

No comments: