Readercon 2016

This is big news, you guys. ENORMOUS. I'm going to be at Readercon this year, and—this is the big news part—I'll be doing my first-ever fiction reading. I can't decide what I should read from! An upcoming ReMade episode? The Luck Eaters? A short story to be named later? Ahhhhhhh so many options!

Anyway, here's my (possibly still preliminary) schedule. Please, please flag me down and say hello if you're at the con. It's going to be so great!

Thursday July 07

8:00 PM    5    Living in the Future. John Chu, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Andrea Phillips, Tom Purdom, Terence Taylor. Today, if we're going to see another person, we have cellphones to instantly communicate with that person, and maps on the cellphones to help us find our agreed-upon location. Twenty years ago we would have had to phone each other on landlines, pick a restaurant in advance or agree to meet at a landmark known to both of us. Five hundred years ago we wouldn't have had watches on our persons, so even keeping to the correct time of the appointment would have been difficult–how would we even know when the agreed-upon time of our meeting arrived? Our panelists will discuss some of the conveniences, large and small, that we take for granted, and the absence of which would cause difficulties of the sort that are often elided in fiction. The discussion will also discuss science fiction novels and stories that incorporate and project modern technology into their fictions, and which fail to take these things into account. 

Friday July 08

1:30 PM    A    Reading: Andrea Phillips. Andrea Phillips. Andrea Phillips reads new work. (!!!)

3:00 PM    C    Fantastical Dystopia. Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T.X. Watson. Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as "love is now considered a disease" rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?

5:00 PM    BH    WTF is Transmedia?. Andrea Phillips. Quick answer: transmedia storytelling is the art of using multiple platforms to tell a unified story. Sometimes it looks like the MCU, and sometimes it's stories that infiltrate the real world. Transmedia veteran Andrea Phillips will talk about her years as a pioneer in the transmedia mines, and how it made her a better writer–and a worse one!

Saturday July 09

1:00 PM    5    If Thor Can Hang Out with Iron Man, Why Can't Harry Dresden Use a Computer? . Gillian Daniels, Elaine Isaak, Andrea Phillips, Alex Shvartsman, E.J. Stevens. In a series of tweets in 2015, Jared Axelrod pondered "the inherent weirdness of a superhero universe... where magic and science hold hands, where monsters stride over cities." This is only weird from the perspective of fantasy stories that set up magic and technology as incompatible, an opposition that parallels Western cultural splits between religion and science and between nature and industry. Harry Dresden's inability to touch a computer without damaging it is a direct descendant of the Ents destroying the "pits and forges" of Isengard, and a far cry from Thor, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch keeping company. What are the story benefits of setting up magic/nature/religion and technology/industry/science as either conflicting or complementary? What cultural anxieties are addressed by each choice? How are these elements handled in stories from various cultures and eras?

3:00 PM    C    What Good Is a Utopia? . Michael J. Deluca, Chris Gerwel, Barry Longyear, Kathryn Morrow (leader), Andrea Phillips. If an author sets out to write a utopia, several questions arise. Character and interpersonal conflict can drive the story, but how do you keep the utopian setting from becoming backdrop in that case? Were the Talking Heads right in saying that "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens"? And how do you showcase how much better things would be "if only"?

***

REVISION is a fast-paced, snarky science fiction thriller about a wiki where your edits come true, bad relationships, and burning that mofo to the ground.

Paperback ($14.99) | Kindle | Nook | iTunes | Kobo ($6.99)

“Tremendously enjoyable, Revision is a fluid, flexible, wonderfully dextrous debut, and I can’t wait to see what Phillips does next.” NPR Books

“Phillips poses hard questions about love, loyalty, personal identity, and truth, and her answers range from fascinating to horrifying.” “Her fresh voice will be very welcome in the SF world.” Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

Bookburners Debut

Ahhhhhhhhh you guys I am so, so, SO excited. It's LAUNCH DAY! Late last summer I holed up for the weekend with some of my very favorite writers to help plan Season 2 of Bookburners. And today, the first of my two episodes this season is LIVE and you can BUY IT and READ IT! OMG OMG OMG it's really happening.

...Wait, wait, hold on. Probably that needs a little translating before you can be as excited about it as I am. So BAM, let's FAQ this thing up!

Andrea. Andrea. What the heck is Bookburners?

Bookburners is a serial fiction narrative written by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Brian Slattery, Mur Laffery, and ME! Plus the amazing Amal El-Mohtar also has a guest episode this season, so you're in for a real treat.

It's urban fantasy about a team of operatives working out of the Vatican to find and confiscate magic books before terrible, terrible things happen. Or let's be honest: usually slightly after terrible things have already begun to happen, because that's way less boring to read about.

How does this serial work?

One episode comes out every week on Wednesday in ebook and audiobook formats. This season started last week (you're already behind!) and goes for sixteen weeks. 

Serial Box is bringing the HBO model to ebooks -- teams of writers working together to produce high-quality story each week, far faster and better than any one of those writers would be able to do all alone. I'm thrilled to be a part of it, and I'm hoping you'll be thrilled to read it, too! And I've got another Serial Box project in the works, too: ReMade. I can't say much about it yet, buuuuuut I'm pretty excited about that one too. More on that front in September!

OK but here's the important question: how do I buy it?

If you never want to miss an episode, you can buy a season pass for everything in ebook and audiobook format, and have an array of choices for where to read it. You can also buy single episodes (like mine!) on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, basically anywhere ebooks are sold. (For Nook, too, but it looks like it's not up there quite yet...)

Since this is the second season, you may also be interested in the Season 1 Omnibus -- or if you're in a rush, there's a convenient Season One Recap so you can get up to speed right away.

I AM SO EXCITED. ARE YOU EXCITED TO? AHHHHH! If you're feeling excited too, plus you have a couple spare bucks and an hour to read, pick up my episode and let me know what you think!

***

REVISION is a fast-paced, snarky science fiction thriller about a wiki where your edits come true, bad relationships, and burning that mofo to the ground.

Paperback ($14.99) | Kindle | Nook | iTunes | Kobo ($6.99)

“Tremendously enjoyable, Revision is a fluid, flexible, wonderfully dextrous debut, and I can’t wait to see what Phillips does next.” NPR Books

“Phillips poses hard questions about love, loyalty, personal identity, and truth, and her answers range from fascinating to horrifying.” “Her fresh voice will be very welcome in the SF world.” Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

Introducing ConFinder

One of the tricky bits of turning pro in science fiction is figuring out how to deal with conventions. It's a good idea for an author to go to cons to meet readers, editors, agents, and perhaps most important of all, other authors. "Networking," right? 

In fact, it can be a good idea to go to some even if you don't have any plans to turn pro whatsoever – conventions offer a fantastic opportunity to meet people who are into the same kinds of things as you, to connect with old friends, maybe even meet some personal heroes and discover new things to love.

Fortunately, there are a lot of SF/F conventions. A lot. There are so many that it can be hard to figure out an overall con schedule that fits into your calendar, budget, and overall needs and preferences.

Aside from a handful of whopping commercial events like PAX or San Diego Comic-Con, these events don't tend to get a lot of widespread advance buzz. Often I don't hear about a convention until I see people traveling to them on social media, at which point arranging to go myself is too late. And in the case of smaller regional cons, very often there is minimal or even no advertising. It's all word of mouth, and so information is limited to only the people who know someone who knows the con.

Which means fans, pros, and cons are all missing out on opportunities to connect. And some fans who might love to go to a con never find out about the event in their own back yard. You can't decide to go to a con you've never heard of!

So I got to wishing there was some sort of central resource to look at allllll the cons and decide which ones to think about attending. And then I thought about that super helpful philosophy where if you wish a resource existed, then probably you should just make it?

And so I made a thing. Welcome to ConFinder!

ConFinder is two things. One: a publicly viewable Google Spreadsheet with space for key information on conventions (dates, city, price, various policies). Two: a Google Form so anyone can enter information on the conventions they run or attend. Both of them are embedded below the post here.

I've seeded a very little bit of information, but I need your help. See, I don't actually have a lot of the information that belongs in this sheet. I'm hoping that if even a couple dozen kinds souls pop in information on one or two conventions, then before long this is going to be a spectacular resource for everyone.

I'm still open to making a few changes to the information listed here if it seems important, but I don't want to replace the role of a con website – just include enough key data to enable someone to know which cons to look into more carefully.

Going forward, I will need to do some ongoing administration with the list. For one thing, new entries will need a modest amount of formatting . I also plan to remove cons that have already happened to another sheet. And humanity being fallible, I'm sure I'll have a steady business in correcting entries as the information changes, removing spam or irrelevant entries, and so on.

But I've made a start! And now kicking the ball another few yards is up to you. So how about it? Got a minute to tell me about your favorite cons?