The Thomases at Minicon!

April 16th, 2014

Look, it’s a schedule for Minicon (4/18-4/20, Bloomington, MN)!

 

Fandom or Fandoms? Friday 4:30 pm Ver 3/4

Is SF Fandom one monolithiic thing or a collection of sub-fandoms? Is there a generational difference? “My fandoms are -”

Rachel Kronick (m)
Elise A. Matthesen
Michael Lee
Michael Damian Thomas
Neil Rest

Hands On ResearchFriday 5:30 pm Krushenko’s Ver 7/8

The best way to write about something is by attempting to do it, but the problem with doing research is that it can be easy to let the research take over the story. How do we balance the story with the fun factoids and tidbits we learn, while doing things we plan on incorporating into our novels? How does doing it ourselves lend authenticity and credibility to the story? We would like to have some editors on this panel as well as writers.

Aimee Kuzenski
Ctein
Deanna Sjolander
Blake Hausladen
CJ Mills
Lynne M. Thomas

SF Squeecast Live Recording!Saturday 6:30 PM Ver 5/6

Guest of Honor Catherynne M. Valente, Elizabeth Bear, Michael Damian Thomas and Lynne M. Thomas bring the legendary SF Squeecast to Minicon

Rock & Roll in Speculative Fiction — It’s Hip to be SquareSUN 2:30 PM Krushenko’s

When we think of fantasy or the future, we don’t think of rock and roll. Starting in the 1950′s, sf has combined the influences of hedonistic young whippersnappers with fantastic narratives. A discussion on the rebellious spirit of rock and its influence.

Greg L. Johnson (m)
Michael Damian Thomas
Lynne M. Thomas
Nate Bucklin
Neil Rest

Updates of Caitlin and stuff

April 15th, 2014

This entry is reblogged from Michael, who said it better than I.

 

image

The picture tells the story. That is Caitlin sitting up straight and unassisted 2 1/2 months after her spinal fusion surgery. :)

$300,000 or so worth of medical procedures have done what they were supposed to do. Caitlin can sit again without discomfort, tipping, or organ compression. (Insurance has covered everything.)

Last week was supposed to be her return to school, but we had some rough days and nights of Cait being manic, not sleeping, and throwing up. Thankfully she was better by Sunday.

This week Caitlin managed to make it to school Monday to Tuesday. She also had great days! We received only happy notes about Caitlin smiling, giggling, and interacting with her friends.

This has been an extremely rough few months for all of us. We couldn’t have managed it without all of the help and support from our friends. Thank you all for everything. <3

#

Now that things are getting back to normal for rarelylynne & me, we’re starting to plan for the future. We did our first SF Squeecast together, and it was a blast. We love our partnership. We really make the other one better, and last year was extremely successful for us as editors. It’s wonderful to see so many stories, essays, and poems we worked on together (and with others) get award recognition, Locus recommendations, and reprinted in year’s best anthologies.

It’s time to start the next thing. :)

ICYMI: Verity, Episode 39: Turn, Smile, Shapeshift, Repeat

April 15th, 2014

This week we cover what are some of the trickiest of the villains the Doctor has faced (one who even wears his face)! Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Lynne as we try to stay on topic talking about shapeshifters. What is it about them that’s scary? Do they hold the same appeal for all of us? Is a talking cactus a more or less believable shapeshifter than a mostly-non-functioning robot?

^E

Also covered:
Liz discovers what might be the most useless Dalek tat ever!
Erika tells Macworld magazine how to create your own podcast!
Lynne must have K-9 slippers!
Deb is (saddened, but also) gladdened by the warmth of the Doctor Who fan community after the passing of Kate O’MaraDerek Martinus, and Glyn Jones.

Bonus links:
Kamelion touches the TARDIS inappropriately
Frobisher the shapeshifting penguin

Download or listen now (runtime 1:02:12)

(This episode dropped last week, but it’s been hectic!)

 

New Verity! Extra!: The Rani, Remembered

April 2nd, 2014

This week’s Extra is somewhat melancholy. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, Liz, and Lynne as we remember the Rani and pay tribute to the contribution of the late Kate O’Mara. Cold, sharp, stylish, snarky, and oh-so-delightful, the Rani is one of the Verities’ most beloved Gallifreyan villains. Why do we love her? What made her special? Can/should the Rani return in another guise?

^E

Download or listen now (runtime 28:33)

 

 

SF Squeecast Episode 34 is live!

March 31st, 2014

Welcome to the March episode of the SF Squeecast! Episode 34 is called “Ha, Ha, Ha, BANG!” This episode features the SF Squeecast regulars Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, and SPECIAL GUEST Michael R. Underwood!

This is the third of our NEW FORMAT episodes. In this episode, we generally squeed about expectations. How do our expectations affect our squee? Is it better to experience things with no expectations or lots of hype and buzz? We mentioned so many things that we are skipping the links this month. If you’re having trouble looking up something on your search engine of choice, please let us know.

Click here to listen, press play below, or right-click to download the episode (mp3)

 

Additional credits: Special thanks to our webmaster, Dmitri Zagidulin, our technical producer David McHone-Chase, Jeff Bohnhoff at Mystic Fig Studios for the instrumentals of music by Seanan McGuire, Katy Shuttleworth, who made our ROCKING logo, and Michael Damian Thomas for general administrative support.

 

New Verity! Episode 38: Cybermental

March 26th, 2014

You had to know we’d get here sooner or later. How could one of the most iconic villain races in Doctor Who not rate their own episode? Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Lynne as we talk about the troublesome tin men. From their humble origins to their totally-different new-series origins, we touch on all the bits that make the Cyber race so fascinating to us. We may not all be “TeamCybermen” like Deb is, but they definitely have a place in each of our hearts. We even (surprise, surprise) mention Big Finish a few times, and Lynne’s husband Michaelmakes an accidental surprise appearance talking about a subject that’s very important to…well…some of us.

^E

Also covered:

Bonus links:
Erika’s blog about “Nerdsplaining” and Gallifrey One
Spare Parts
Simon Guerrier’s Doctor Who Magazine interview with Neil Gaiman about Nightmare in Silver
The Silver Turk

Download or listen now (runtime 1:20:15)

5 Things Make a Post (with pictures)

March 25th, 2014

1. Caitlin had a rough start to the week, being kind of barfy overnight on Sunday and most of Monday. We’re not sure of the reasons–often it’s just allergies or random throat tickles. She’s doing much better now. Kept her overnight feed down last night, and has been better today.  Michael posted a picture of her holding her Matt Smith doll while watching Doctor Who:

She is signing “I Love You” at the moment Michael took the picture. We were all glad she got better, as I was up with her most of Sunday night and Michael had her all day Monday while I was at work.

2. I’m editing exhibit labels for our sheet music  exhibit that’s opening April 1, called “Sing It Loud: American Social Movements Through Sheet Music.”

My favorite so far, mostly due to knitting content:

3.  The Digital POWRR grant is putting together our workshop “From Theory To Practice” that we will be giving all over the country at various conferences and events through November. Unfortunately, the RBMS Preconference won’t be among them. While the workshop was accepted, there weren’t enough people signed up for it, so it was canceled. This also means that I no longer will be attending the preconference. I’m sorry to miss it, but looking at my travel schedule for the next few months, this may be a blessing in disguise. That said, I’m certain it will be an EXCELLENT program (it always is), and if you were considering going, I want to encourage you to do so. I’ll be keeping an eye on it via twitter and other social media. :-)

4. Digital POWRR is also working on our final white paper. You may notice a theme. That theme is “this is the busy time for the grant in terms of getting ready to deliver its deliverables.” I may be less visible for a bit as we try to lock ourselves in rooms and be smart and lay out everything we’ve learned on this project. Rest assured, we are busy little bees working away on this.

5. It is spring break for the online course I’m teaching, so I’m slowly grading papers between grant and exhibit. Multipurpose procrastination! One task gets boring or overwhelming, move to the next.

Bonus #6. Candy Crush: Level 40.

 

A little Caitlin update

March 21st, 2014

Yesterday we had a meeting at Caitlin’s school, to go over her new set of needs post-surgery, and to plan for her return. The meeting went very, very smoothly. Cait will likely be returning to school the first week of April, just after their Spring Break, which is next week. We’re using the play-it-by-ear method of returning her on a day-to-day basis at first, because she had such a difficult time at first after her hip surgery. The team of her teachers and aides is all excited to see her, and so are her friends.

After the meeting, we went by her special needs classroom to say hi to her classmates, and her 3 best friends from the non-special needs 5th grade classroom came by to say hey, too. One of the best pieces of news that I got was that these 3 best friends will also be attending the same junior high next year with Caitlin. (Oh, and we’re all making plans for the girls to go see the Muppets together at some point soon, too.)

Cait was so excited to see her friends that she was basically up half the night last night going “WOO”. I kid you not. She’s apparently ready to get back to her friends and her life ANY DAY NOW.

That’s right, Caitlin has a POSSE. She has good friends that will be by her side in the next adventure. I’m so very, very pleased. THIS is why we pushed for, and were so happy to have Cait at least partially mainstreamed. Because the kids in her school see her as Caitlin. No more, no less.  They take her nonverbal communication, the wheelchair, all of it in stride. She’s just Caitlin. 

This is completely different from how my school district growing up handled things. They kept the special needs kids separate from the rest of the kids. It meant that we didn’t get to know the special needs kids, and they didn’t get to know us. They became “other” in ways that did not encourage us to be particularly kind to them. I often wryly joke that we only saw them in gym class while throwing dodgeballs at them, but it’s not really an exaggeration–most of their mainstreaming time was in nonacademic subjects like Gym and Home Economics.

I’m very, very glad that attitudes towards how to handle special needs education have shifted so much in the next few generations. Because Caitlin has a whole life with her friends at school that I don’t know much about, as is right and proper for an 11 year old going on 12. She will not have to experience junior high feeling any more alone or isolated than any other kid experiencing junior high for the first time.

And that, to me, is priceless.

Book review: A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

March 20th, 2014

This is a slightly expanded version of the review I posted to Goodreads.

Upfront, I should say that I knew I would enjoy this novel on a prose level, because I’m a huge fan of Sofia’s short fiction. We are warm acquaintances; I published her work in Apex during my tenure there, and I picked up A Stranger in Olondria last year at WisCon. I regret that I didn’t read it sooner!

So, I was ready for her prose style, which is lush, gorgeous, and thoroughly precise. There are no wasted words, phrases, or sentences here. It is designed to be savored slowly. Don’t rush through this one.

A Stranger in Olondria is a coming-of-age, boy-goes-to-the-city, revenge-quest ghost story, where the magic that releases the ghost in question is released through writing. It tackles questions of nature, belief, and religion, without losing track of its emotional core or its redemption quest storyline.

This book itself reflects the magic of Jevick’s world through its storytelling prose style. Samatar has gorgeous turns of phrase on nearly every page. Her worldbuilding of multiple cultures and regions experienced by Jevick (our protagonist) is deftly handled, and she nails down what could easily be a rather nebulous relationship between him and Jissavet, the ghost that he needs to free. Jevick somehow remains both part of his world and separate from it as he travels along, and the liminal spaces where he dwells feel just as real as the “real world” in which he is also simultaneously functioning. 

This story is not told in strictly straight lines from a plot perspective. Instead, we move through movement and metaphor, through joy and rapture and despair, through seasons and weather, through plenty and privation, and through choices made among friends, allies, and enemies that bring us to the conclusion of the story. And yet the central relationship between Jevick and Jissivet remains, at its core, truthful and wonderfully complex for all its apparent simplicity.

This book is going on my Hugo Award ballot this year.

New Verity! Extra! Who’s In What?

March 19th, 2014

This week’s Extra! is another fun one. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Liz as we talk about the rabbit holes we’ve disappeared down because of Doctor Who. Which actors and creators have we followed from Who? What other shows have we watched because of them? Are we embarrassed by these properties? (Hint: the answer is yes.) See below for some (most?) of the shows and films we mentioned. (Note: There’s some overlap between us, but I only included each link once.)

^E

Deb
Christopher Eccleston IMDB
David Tennant IMDB
The Catherine Tate Show
Withnail & I
Life on Mars
(without comment) Shark Attack 3

Erika
The Thick of It
Broadchurch
Blake’s 7
The Decoy Bride
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

Katrina
John Barrowman IMDB
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? (aired on CBC)
LJ post about getting the autographed book
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being a Fangirl

Liz
The House That Dripped Blood
Hammer House of Horror TV Series
The Persuaders!

Download or listen now (runtime 35:40)