SFRA 2009, Author Open Mike Night Announcement

I sent the following announcement about a new author “open mike night” slated for the SFRA 2009 Conference in Atlanta, GA to the SFRA Discussion List earlier this evening. If you’re an author, want to share your work, and will be in Atlanta mid-June, please read on for details on how to add your name to the hat:

SFRA welcomes authors to a special event at the 2009 SFRA Conference on “Engineering the Future” and “Southern-Fried Science Fiction” in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, June 12 from 6:00pm-9:00pm.  The Author Open Mike Night hosted by the SFRA-SFWA liaison Edward Carmien is a new opportunity for authors to read from their work and offer books for sale to conference attendees.  Also, in the spirit of open mikes, we welcome authors to bring guests and invite their fans to attend the event.  If you are interested in joining us at the Hotel Midtown in Atlanta, send your name, contact information, and brief bio to the conference organizers Lisa Yaszek and Doug Davis at <> by May 15.  We will schedule readings in the Open Mike Night lineup on a first-come, first-served basis. Reply now to get in line!

We would also like to invite authors to participate in the full conference and guest author events.  If you are interested in attending panels, presenting a paper, organizing a panel discussion about writing, or joining in guest author events, you may send your proposal to <>, and then mail your registration form available at the official website <; along with the conference fee to the address on the form.

If you have any questions regarding the Author Open Mike Night or participating in the full SFRA Conference, please don’t hesitate to contact us by email at <>.  See you in Atlanta!

ICFA 2009, To the Orlando Airport and Flight Back to Kent

This morning, I got an early start and hit the hotel Starbucks for coffee and their yummy banana nut bread.  While I was there, I spoke with Andy Duncan briefly before I returned to my room to pack and head off for the airport.

I had to wrap some of my books in newsprint to keep them safe from bumps and bruises in my carry on duffle bag.  Considering that I didn’t go to the awards dinner, I still made out with a great selection of bought and free books.  I purchased Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan’s So Long Been Dreaming anthology (signed by Hopkinson), New Dimensions 1 edited by Robert Silverberg, New Dimensions 2 edited by Robert Silverberg, and The Best SF Stories from New Worlds 6 edited by Michael Moorcock.  I received for free Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine (September 2007–includes Ted Chiang’s The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate), Brian Aldiss’ New Arrivals, Old Encounters, Suzy McKee Charnas’ Dorothea Dreams, and Philip K. Dick’s Voices From the Street.  I’m glad that ICFA has such a great book room, and I really appreciate the donated books for conference participants.  

While I waited outside for the airport shuttle, I met the SF author Terry Bisson.  We talked about teaching SF for awhile, and then we boarded the shuttle.  After settling in at the back of the bus, James Patrick Kelly joined us for the short jaunt to the airport.

Luckily, I had enough time to browse around the Kennedy Space Center gift shop where I picked up a NASA baseball hat and some t-shirts (I discovered when I got home that their sizes run large, so be warned).  While I was in line, Dewitt ambled in, and we talked awhile about the conference and the impending SFRA conference in June.  He and I both have to get our proposals to Lisa and Doug before the end of the month.  I don’t want to give away his paper idea, but I think it is brilliant for the theme and location of the conference.

I was able to use some miles to upgrade my seat from economy to First Class (making this my second foray into the airline class privileged section of the aircraft).  While sitting there and looking outside from my first row window seat, I jotted down these notes:

I’m sitting in First Class, seat 1F right now, writing my post in my Moleskin reporters pad.  Outside the Boeing 737-800 I see so much activity–the activity at all major airports.  The ground crew members are dutifully slinking along under the concrete magnified heat of the Spring Florida sun.  Even thought I’ve seen the magnificent work of the ground crew on many occasions, it never ceases to awe that they facilitate the safe and efficient travel of multitudes of people crapping to get from here to there.  I am thankful for the care of the airline ground crews as well as the professional and dedicated efforts of pilots, and stewards and stewardesses.  

During our initial climb, it is so quiet except for the constant high pitch drone of the engines behind me.  The jet engines sound like muffled remote controlled nitro-fueled cars.  Actually, it is an enjoyable sound.

I see that there is a nuclear power plant near the airport–that would make for a fun ICFA outing in the future.

During the flight back to Cleveland, I saw four nuclear power plants, the Golden Isles Speedway (a dirt race track between Brunswick and Hortense, Georgia), and a number of other airplanes above, below, and to the side of our path through the sky.  In fact, I probably took as many pictures of the ground from the plane as I took pictures at the conference.  Thankfully there were such clear skies.

Thinking back over the past few days, I can honestly say that I had a good time in Orlando.  Ritch was an excellent roommate, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to catch up with A.P., Gerard, Melissa, and everyone else.  All of the SFRA conference fliers, brochures, and bracelets were eagerly taken away, and all of The Postnational Fantasy CFPs were whisked away.  I am glad that I got to talk to so many folks about The Postnational Fantasy project, and get feedback on the publication process from others.  Of course, there are many things that were left undone, and folks that I would have liked to talk with, but the time compression built into a conference is the joy and bane of academic meetings.

I know this was a rambling post–thanks for bearing with me.  I’m ecstatic to be home with Yufang and Miao Miao.  There have been naps, playing, vegetarian dining, and World of Warcraft in the hours following Yufang picking me up from the airport this afternoon.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I’m going to hold on to ICFA’s fantasyland time just a little bit longer.

ICFA 2009, Pool Time and Prioritization

An important and essential aspect of my time at ICFA this year was more pool and sun time than last year.  I spent an hour swimming earlier, and it was very refreshing to get back into the water.  The last time that I went swimming was ICFA last year, and that was only a single night swim.  My waist line necessitated a slightly larger pair of swim trunks, so I’ll be damned if they don’t get properly broke-in during this trip.  

I walked down the main strip about a mile from the Marriott, and I found a Cracker Barrel and Starbucks.  After having supped on French toast, grits, and fried apples at Cracker Barrel, I’m relaxing at the near-by Starbucks with a grande Pike’s Place before walking the mile back to the hotel.  

While I was waiting for my grub in Cracker Barrel, I worked on prioritizing the remainder of my panel gazing at ICFA.  Tomorrow morning, I will participate in the SF Graduate Program panel at 10:30am.  Other than that, I think I am going to focus on author readings and get work done on a book review and journal essay that comes due next week. However, there is a panel on Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm that I need to attend on “East Meets West:  Colonialisms, Cultures, and Identities.”  I’ve already spoken with Janice M. Bogstad, who is presenting in that session, but I would like to invite the other panelists, Mayurika Chakravorty and Suparno Banerjee, to submit something to The Postnational Fantasy book project that I’m working on with my colleagues Swaralipi Nandi and Professor Masood Raja.