Convention-plus-plus fornight

Yep, this weekend I’m back on the road for another science fiction convention. This time, it’s Capclave, in Rockville, Maryland. If you’re looking for me at the convention (as usual), look for me in the dealers’ room at the Fantastic Books table. The dealers’ room is scheduled to be open from 3 to 6pm on Friday, 10am to 6pm on Saturday, and 10am to 2pm on Sunday.

I’ll also be on programming. Check out:

“Grammar Wars and Pedantry” on Saturday at 1pm in Washington Theater. With K. Ceres Wright, Mary G. Thompson, Morgan Hazelwood, and Sarah Avery. If arguments over the serial comma, split infinitives, or the evolving definition of “literally” gets you riled up, then this is a conversation for you. Panelists discuss their favorite pedantic hills to die on and whether language is evolving too quickly or too slowly for their liking.

“In Defense of the Standalone Novel” on Saturday at 2:30pm in Washington Theater. With A.C. Wise, Craig Laurance Gidney, Irene Gallo, Natalie Luhrs, and Ursula Vernon. In a sea of book series, the standalone novel can be a breath of fresh air. What are the virtues of the standalone novel and what makes for a good one? Might there be a resurgence of the standalone novel in the near future?

As much as I love going to sf conventions, that seems almost a distraction to me at the moment. That’s because there’s a much bigger trip coming very soon.

A few days ago, the Chairman of American Mensa resigned. I’ve been serving the organization as Secretary since last summer, and continue in that position. But I’ve also been an alternate for our national representatives. With the resignation, I move up from alternate to one of the national representatives. And in a bit of calendrical synchrony, the next annual international board of directors meeting (which I’ll be attending in my new role) is October 6–9 in Budva, Montenegro. So I’ve spent this week in a frantic planning for my first international trip this millennium, and my first ever trip out of North America.

I’m pretty much booked from departure here to the end of the meeting and my departure from Montenegro. But on my way home, I’ve got a lay-over in Vienna, Austria. I’m scheduled to land there on Monday, October 10, at 4:20pm. My flight home from Vienna is scheduled to depart on Tuesday, October 11, at 4:30pm. So (other than extra hours in the airport coming and going), I’m going to have most of a day in Vienna (well, other than probably sleeping a few hours at night). Do I know anyone there, or anyone who has been there, who has wonderful suggestions for what to do in those few hours so I can really get a feel for having been there?

In Montenegro, the host group has planned a tour or two, so I’ll get at least a little flavor of the country outside the meeting hotel, but in Vienna, I’m on my own. I’m very excited, and a little trepidatious. Looking for suggestions.

Jewish Futures guidelines

jfc1a Jewish Futures — the anthology Fantastic Books is currently Kickstarting — reached its funding goal in a scant four days. The campaign runs until October 20, but has already unlocked several stretch goals, and as I write this, it’s only $30 from another bit of awesomeness for all backers. $500 beyond that adds two new stories to the book, and opens up another submission slot for all those wonderful authors we didn’t know should be writing for us.

And that’s the point of this post: the writers’ guidelines for Jewish Futures are now available at http://fantasticbooks.biz/fantasticbooks/sf/jewishfutures.html . If you’ve always wanted to appear in a Fantastic Books anthology, now is your chance! Read the guidelines, start writing, and remember to pay attention to the “don’t send before” and “don’t send after” dates.

The cover concept art is by Eli Portman, who’ll be creating the cover for the anthology.

Communal Support

Boy am I bad at this stretch-goals thing. We set them to encourage people to keep contributing to Kickstarter campaigns, even after the initial funding goal has been met. Well, we managed to blow right by the first stretch goal for Jewish Futures before I even said anything about it. That means everyone who is backing the campaign at the $5 level or more will be getting a free story from SM Rosenberg. And now we’re closing in on the second stretch goal: at $7,000, we add more stories to the book, which means more awesome reading for all you readers, and more submission slots for all you authors who we didn’t realize ahead of time we desperately need to have in the book (as I’m writing this, we’re a scant $253 shy of that goal). Remember, even though we reached the initial $6,000 goal to guarantee existence of the book, the campaign continues for the full 30 days, ending October 20.

And while I’m talking about Kickstarter and you awesome people who helped us spread the word, I should also talk about two other campaigns. We joined forces with eSpec Books and IAMTW to cross-promote each other’s campaigns (eSpec is publishing three novels, and has already reached its funding goal; IAMTW is publishing a fascinating-looking anthology that should appeal to those of you who loved our recent Three Time Travelers anthology, but it hasn’t yet reached its funding goal). Assuming all three fund, anyone who supports all three, and adds on the $1 Communal Support add-on, gets a special package of electronic reading. Check out all three, and help our fellow publishers publish too!

communalsupport

Jewish Futures Kickstarter is Live

Basic RGBFantastic Books is Kickstartering a brand-new anthology! Jewish Futures: Science Fiction from the World’s Oldest Diaspora, is now live on the crowd-funding platform for pre-orders. The book will be edited by multiple-award-nominee Michael A. Burstein, and we have a very impressive line-up of authors promised to write stories (though there will be spots for your submissions, too!). For now, please check out the campaign, pledge your support if you will, and by all means, tell your friends!

Convention Weekend

Yet another convention-I-didn’t-mention-I’m-going-to weekend. But I’m going simply as an attendee: no dealer table, no programming appearances, no plans to do any real business (though I’m sure some business conversations will arise: that’s how it goes). I’ll be in Reston, Virginia, for Metropolitan Washington Mensa’s Regional Gathering. And then I’ll be spending Sunday and Monday night’s in DC to do some actual tourist-y things (haven’t done that in a long time). So I hope to see all you Mensans there!

Yep, I’m still alive

I just realized it’s a really long time since last I posted (actually, an entire month, which for me is nearly forever). I’m okay, just sitting at home, working, and trying to avoid the excessive heat outside. So nothing truly remarkable has happened that would urge me to post something.

I was in Nevada the beginning of July, for the American Mensa Annual Gathering. It was a very good time, very tiring, and we got a lot of work done (the “joys” of being an officer). I gave a talk on Punctuation, had an audience of nearly one hundred people (at 9 o’clock Saturday morning!), so that felt very good. And I’ve been working on turning that talk into a book.

But I came home from Nevada ill, so I missed Shore Leave, the convention I was planning to attend the very next weekend. And since then, I’ve just been recovering and staying home working.

Something else (other than a too-long-silence) that urged me to post today was my discovery of this song by Chicago from the 1970s that I’d never heard: “Harry Truman”. It’s a nice song, and a nice memory of President Truman. For more on the song, see this Wikipedia entry.

So, to sum up, I’m fine, still working. If you’re looking for me, I’m planning to be at Metropolitan Washington Mensa’s Regional Gathering in a week and a half (no scheduled talks), and then I’ll be in the dealers’ room at Worldcon (also no scheduled talks; if you want to know why, ask the programming department).

Convention Week

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I have another convention coming up, a very long weekend. On Tuesday, I’m flying to Reno, Nevada, for the American Mensa Annual Gathering in Sparks, Nevada. Assuming my flights are on time, I’m leaving JFK at 7:40pm and landing at 10:53pm (flying JetBlue, if anyone else is getting in about the same time and wants to share a car). I’m scheduled to fly back to New York Monday, July 11th, leaving Reno at 11:45pm (again, on JetBlue), but since the AG ends Sunday, I’ll be on my own Sunday night and Monday, if anyone has any interesting suggestions.

If you’re at the AG, and looking to connect with me, here’s a hint of where I’ll be (unlike a science fiction convention, I won’t be in the dealers’ room, since there isn’t one). Since I’m attending as a member of the AMC, a lot of my time will be taken up with meetings and business, but here are some of the public times/places you’ll be able to meet me:

American Mensa Committee Meeting, Thursday, starting at 9am, running until we’re done (scheduled to end at 5pm, but who knows?), in Cascade 3. No time to chat during the meeting, but you can see the AMC transacting the business that keeps Mensa operating.

Annual Business Meeting, Friday, starting at 9am, in Sierra 5. Again, not a social event, but the time when the members hear from and can give commentary to the leaders of Mensa.

Region 1 Meet-and-Greet, Friday at 4:30pm, in Redwood 6. For everyone who lives in Region 1 (that is, all of New England, most of New York, and the northern part of New Jersey).

Gala Dinner, Friday at 7pm, in Nugget 2. (Gotta get a separate ticket for this one.)

“Punctilious Punctuation: Telling Tales With (and of) Those Jots and Tittles, Including Why They’re Called Jots and Tittles, and the Horrifying Story of Why the Period Goes Inside the Quotation Marks” by Ian Randal Strock (hey, that’s me! Come hear me talk!), Saturday at 9am in Sierra 2.

Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, Saturday starting at 9pm in Nugget 2. (Come dance with me!)

Drag Brunch, Sunday at 10am in Nugget 2. (This one, too, is separately ticketed.)

* * *

Other sessions that look interesting, if I’m not otherwise occupied with meetings or business:

“Hidden Gems of the United States Constitution” by Joseph Zodl, Wednesday at 3pm in Sierra 1.

“Two Degrees from Kevin Bacon: A Life Spent With Celebrities in NYC” by Matt Grob, Wednesday at 4:30pm in Sierra 3.

“Firehouse SIG Meet-and-Greet,” Thursday at 4:30pm in Redwood 6.

“Doctor Grammar Guy” by Richard Lederer, Friday at 1:30pm in Nugget 2.

“Mind Your Manners” by Thomas Willeford, Friday at 4:30pm in Sierra 5.

“Illuminating Mensa’s Past” by Simone van Egeren, Saturday at 1:30pm in Redwood 3.

“Real Steampunk” by Thomas Willeford, Saturday at 3pm in Sierra 5.

“The Future of Mensa” by Billie Lee and Rachel Kibler, Saturday at 3pm in Redwood 3.

“Life Members SIG Meet-and-Greet,” Saturday at 6pm in Redwood 6.

And of course, otherwise unscheduled meals will be in Hospitality.

Hope to see all you Mensans there!

Oh, and then there’s a quick three-day turn-around, before I leave for Shore Leave in Maryland.

Donald Trump is going to try to avoid prosecution by announcing his candidacy

This spit-balling may—unfortunately—not be so far-fetched: how likely is it that Donald Trump formally announces his candidacy for President in the election of 2024 this month? CNN is asking if the announcement would make it harder for the Department of Justice to bring charges against him, but that’s too rational a debate. They’re also opining that it will scare off his rivals for the Republican nomination. But again, they’re looking at it from a logical point of view, not Donald Trump’s.

I think the actual plan is to announce so that he can then turn to his followers and say, “They’re indicting me because they don’t want me to win.” It makes everything that is said about him—and every move and statement from the House January 6th Select Committee—look like nothing more than political posturing, rather than actual legal governmental proceedings. It’s like “not guilty by reason of insanity” writ large. Rather than facing the music for his prior bad acts, he’s trying to once again skate by. How many times did he say “you can’t attack me because I’m the President”? He’s about to do it again.

He doesn’t want to be President, he wants to be Dictator. He’s made an entire career out of being a grifter and a con artist: misdirect the marks by whatever means possible while picking their pockets. He thought he could do it as President of the United States (and he probably did), but the con isn’t over. He has more to steal, more legal consequences to avoid, more damage to do.

I keep asking myself what is hiding in his tax returns, that he’s never released them (one would think that such a great business man would be proud to show them). What he’s not telling us about himself and deals with other world leaders. Did you notice that the Trump International Hotel has been sold, so soon after he left office? So soon after he could no longer shake down foreign delegations by having them stay in his hotel?

Donald Trump remains a clear and present danger to the United States of America. In Trump, Mitch McConnell found the perfect front man for his decades-long plan to rewrite American society. And now that his Supreme Court is doing it, what more damage can Donald Trump do to this country? I shudder to think.

See also, “Donald Trump’s ‘slow-motion coup’ is becoming a runaway train.”

Time Traveling Publication Day

Today is publication day for Fantastic Books‘s newest anthology, Three Time Travelers Walk Into… You can grab a hardcover, trade paperback, or ebook copy at your favorite retailer. And thanks to our wonderful Kickstarter backers, without whom this book wouldn’t exist. Special thanks, also, to cover artist Lynne Hansen, editor Michael A. Ventrella, and all our incredible authors who wrote the kick-ass stories that make this a great anthology.

ThreeTimeTravelers_Front