So, WorldCon. We’re trying to be grownups about it.

May 30th, 2014

If you went over to my appearances page, you might have noticed that I crossed LonCon off the list. :-(

As much as we’d love to attend LonCon3 (WorldCon) in London this year, we’ve gone over the finances, and the difficulty, and the challenges of either bringing Caitlin with us, or only one of us going, or leaving her stateside with dear friends while we both go, and we’ve determined that it’s just not worth it to us.

We both LOVE London. Going as a family, we couldn’t afford to stay longer to do London Things. Going separately, we’re not keen on doing London Things without the other. (We did that already in previous trips before we met. We want to do London Things TOGETHER.)

One person going:

If only one of us goes, it’s a lot of money, and we won’t be happy without the other one there to share it. Michael and I both dread traveling without each other in general, and neither one of us wants to be in the position of either  a) the person staying home with Cait or b) the person at LonCon feeling guilty about being there while the other person stays home with Cait.

All of us going:

Caitlin’s stamina is just not quite up to an 8-hour plane ride. We’re attending Phoenix Comic-Con next weekend, and flying to that, which will be a test in and of itself. And with plane tickets hovering between $1500-1800 EACH, Plus hotel, plus food, etc…  it’s just not worth it to wipe out all of our savings for a trip that will leave all of us exhausted and grumpy. Plus international travel with lots of medical equipment, etc. etc. etc. NO FUN.

[And honestly? If we're going to drop that much cash on a family trip? GOING BACK TO DISNEY WORLD AND UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. WAY easier travel, much more accessible for Cait, AND cheaper.]

Us going, and leaving Cait with friends:

Still too expensive, and we’d be taking a trip to London in which we wouldn’t see London because we’d only be there for the convention. And while I’m sure the Excel Center is lovely… *sigh* Dear friends volunteered to take Cait for the convention, but we don’t want to be away THAT long–if we both went, it would be just for the length of the convention. And the dear friends are in the Twin Cities area, so we’d have to GET there first, drop Cait off, and THEN fly to London from MSP. Direct flights with fewer connections are best for this setup, and they are mighty pricey.

So, long story short: We won’t be attending LonCon after all. Instead, we will be putting some of our resources towards house stuff, and some likely towards another convention stateside in the next year.  And some resources will stay put just in case, as one does when one is a grownup.

Being a grownup is hard, but ultimately, I think this is the correct choice for us right now. This will not keep us from grumbling, of course, but that’s also part of being a grownup.

We’ll be watching LonCon with the rest of the world over the web. We hope y’all have an excellent time. *raises a glass*

 

 

Verity! Extra! — Ask the Verities!

May 28th, 2014

It’s another listener participation Extra! You asked us questions. We answered! Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we briefly chat about the 16-second series 8 teaser and then dive into your clever questions. We had a lot of fun recording this one, so thanks to all the listeners who participated! If we didn’t get to your question here, perhaps we will in a future Extra! You never know…

Also, Lynne would like it known that she meant to say she’d sacrifice “The Twin Dilemma” rather than “Vengeance on Varos”. What would she sacrifice it for? Listen and see!

^E

Related links:
Series 8 teaser
Chicks Dig Time Lords
Whedonistas
James Tiptree, Jr. Award

Download or listen now (runtime 44:51) 

Phoenix Comic-Con Schedule!

May 28th, 2014

Hey, folks based in the Southwest! We’re coming your way!

This is a hectic week, as we try to Organize All The Things before we head to Phoenix Comic Con  with the SF Squeecast. Our guest for this Very Special Live Squeecast recording will be CHARLAINE HARRIS! WOO!

We are SUPER EXCITED to be guests there this year! If you see us and want to say hi, please do so. We should be easy to spot, as Caitlin will be with us. :-)

Here’s my schedule:

 

FRIDAY:

Signing: 1:30 am Table 2528 Lynne Thomas 

 

SATURDAY:

Speculative Fiction Editing : Join several editors from major publishers for a discussion of what they really do all day.   Panelists: Anne Groell, Anne Sowards, Beth Meacham, Lee Harris, Lynne M. Thomas
When: Sat, 12:00–1:00PM  Room: North 128a

SF Squeecast Panel : Join the SF Squeecast and their special guest for an hour of fannish squee and delight over the latest cool stuff in Science Fiction and Fantasy.   Panelists: Catherynne Valente, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth Bear, Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant
When: Sat, 1:30–2:30PM  Room: west 212

Signing: Saturday at 3:00 pm Table 2528 

Drinks With Authors : Join our author guests for a glass or two in an informal setting.  There will be door prizes and other giveaways from our participating publishers.    Panelists: Kevin Hearne, Myke Cole, Sam Sykes & many others
When: Sat, 8:00–11:00PM  Room: Renaissance Salon 5-8

SUNDAY:

Author Chicks Who Dig Time Lords : Join contiributors to Chicks Dig Time Lords and Chicks Unravel Time as they discussed their love of Doctor Who and how it has influenced them in their  careers.   Panelists: Carole Barrowman, Catherynne Valente, Elizabeth Bear, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant
When: Sun, 1:30–2:30PM  Room: North 131

Jay Lake, His Life and Work : Join some of author Jay Lake’s friends and colleagues as they talk about the life and work of this remarkable author.   Panelists: Beth Meacham, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Lynne M. Thomas
When: Sun, 3:00–4:00PM  Room: North 128a

Want to find Michael?

FRIDAY:

Friday at 2:30 pm Signing Table 2528 Michael Damian Thomas

SATURDAY

Science Fiction and Fantasy Poets : Join our panel of science fiction and fantasy poets for some samples of their poetry and discussion of the craft.   Panelists: Beth Cato, Catherynne Valente, David Lee Summers, Larry Hammer, Michael Damian Thomas
When: Sat, 10:30–11:30AM  Room: North 127c

SF Squeecast Panel : Join the SF Squeecast and their special guest for an hour of fannish squee and delight over the latest cool stuff in Science Fiction and Fantasy.   Panelists: Catherynne Valente, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth Bear, Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant
When: Sat, 1:30–2:30PM  Room: west 212

Signing: Saturday at 3:00 pm Table 2528 

Drinks With Authors : Join our author guests for a glass or two in an informal setting.  There will be door prizes and other giveaways from our participating publishers.    Panelists: Kevin Hearne, Myke Cole, Sam Sykes & many others
When: Sat, 8:00–11:00PM  Room: Renaissance Salon 5-8

 

Book review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

May 27th, 2014

[Copied from my goodreads account]: I rated this five stars.

Full disclosure: Sarah is one of my best friends, and I archive her work at NIU.


I absolutely loved this book. While the name Katherine Addison may be new to some readers, it is an open pseudonym for Sarah Monette, whose Doctrine of Labyrinths series (as well as pretty much the rest of her work, ever) I also adored.

This is a standalone secondary world fantasy, with elves, goblins, and zeppelins. The naming system for the characters is a little on the complicated side (prefixes AND suffixes have meaning here), but rolling with it will get you where you need to be, and there’s a handy guide at the back of the book just in case.

This is a story of Maia, the fifth in line to the Emperor’s throne. His goblin mother was the Emperor’s 4th wife (a political alliance), and he was raised basically in exile by an abusive cousin after his mother’s death when he was about 8. (The Emperor, and most of the court, are elves. Maia is half elf, half goblin.)

There is a zeppelin accident (this happens in the first chapter, so, not a spoiler but a precipitous event) that kills the Emperor and his sons. Maia is now the emperor.

The rest of this book is an exquisite character study of Maia, who struggles to demonstrate goodness and kindness in a political and social system that is completely designed for him to be cruel and capricious and get away with it. If there is the opposite of grimdark, this might be it. Maia spend the entire book trying to figure out how to be an emperor *his* way. He is deeply sympathetic, and he absolutely struggles with the feelings that remain from his childhood abuse and the loss of his mother.

How does a good person navigate in a system that is deeply corrupt? How do you find your friends and allies when you hold life and death power over everyone? Is it even possible to be kind? Good? Will people know what to do with it if you manage it? Will they *trust* it?

As with all of Sarah’s work, this is beautifully written on a sentence level. More importantly, this is a deeply emotional story about good and evil and how and why we choose. Highly recommended, and this may be going on my 2015 Hugo ballot.

Verity! Extra! –In Defense of … 3 Rounds Rapid

May 14th, 2014

It’s been a while, but once again, we’re making good on our promise to defend Doctor Who. Those bits you think are dodgy? We’ll find something good in ‘em–even if it kills us. Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy for our most ridiculous Extra! yet. Deb springs a last-minute rules change on us, and it results in consternation and hilarity. Can the Verities keep their defenses to two minutes? (EXACTLY two minutes!) Listen and see!

^E

Download or listen now (runtime 36:28) 

Verity! Extra! — TARDIS Tripping

April 30th, 2014

It’s high time for another silly Verity! Extra! This week’s topic is inspired by a “Mind Meld” in SF Signal. Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Lynne as we discuss where we’d go if we had one trip in the TARDIS. Who wants to do something historical? Who wants something literary? Who wants the future? Or alien adventures? Perhaps most important of all, who is our very own Meddling Monk? (Spoiler: that one’s Liz. Surprise.)

Where would you take the TARDIS if you had one trip? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Associated links:
MIND MELD: Where Would You Take the T.A.R.D.I.S.?
Dumb Ways to Die (I may never get this out of my head. THANKS DEB. ^E)
Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh

Download or listen now (runtime 33:32) 

Book Review: Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

April 28th, 2014

[Reposted from my Goodreads account.]

[five stars out of five on their rating system]

Full disclosure: Mary is a dear, dear friend of mine, in addition to writing books that are aimed DIRECTLY AT ME as a reader. I would have a very difficult time not enjoying this book.

Every book in this series pleases me more. Not just because this is a romance novel with a heist plot, WHICH IT IS. (She describes it as “if Jane Austen wrote Ocean’s Eleven”). It reminds me very much of the TV show Leverage, but with glamour (magic in this world), pirates, Lord Byron, nuns, boat chases, and a street puppeteer. In Murano, which is like Venice only smaller.

Just as importantly, we get to see Jane and Vincent navigate what comes AFTER happily ever after, which is the hard work that it takes to keep a healthy, loving relationship together, especially when setbacks and bad life things happen. They handle their challenges with the wit and grace you’d expect, and good humor, and more emotional honesty than you might think. I have come to love these characters, and I’m looking forward to book 5, Of Noble Family, which will close the series.

Verity! Episode 40: Doctor Who Villains: The Estrogen Adventures

April 23rd, 2014

Deadly divas, anyone? This week our villainous discussion centers on the ladies. For a change, we have a jumping off point–and it’s VAM! (That’s “value-added material”, as in DVD extras.) Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we discuss one of the extras on the Shada DVD set. (Spoiler: We’re much more excited about this one than the last one we talked about.) What does it mean to be a diva? Do all the female baddies on the show (and included the extra) qualify? Our discussion ranges beyond “Those Deadly Divas”, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t fear, there’s plenty here for you too. Add our “happy-Who-things”, plus a special announcement, and you’ve got yourself a rollicking episode of Verity!

Oh, and shout-out to the iTunes review that inspired this week’s title.

^E

Also covered:
Lynne has a wee little Capaldi fig with an arched eyebrow and an “Other Doctor“!
Erika guested (with Kat) on TARDIS Tavern!
Tansy spotted Osgood from “The Day of the Doctor” on Watson and Oliver!
Deb squees over Doctor Puppet’s special release for Peter Capaldi’s birthday!

Bonus links:
Our discussion of “Being a Girl”
Our review of Queers Dig Time Lords
Labels Against Women – #ShineStrong Pantene

Download or listen now (runtime 1:11:50)

 

ICYMI: Hugo Award Nominations!

April 23rd, 2014

Hey, in case you missed it this weekend … I was nominated for two Hugo Awards!

 

BEST FANCAST
Verity! Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

 

BEST SEMIPROZINE

Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Michael Damian Thomas

Michael is also nominated for:

BEST RELATED WORK 
Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)

Finally, Rachel Swirsky’s Apex Magazine story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” was nominated for the Best Short Story Hugo Award and Nebula Award! This is the first time a story that we co-edited has been nominated for a major award. We are THRILLED for Rachel!

I’m so very proud of our run at Apex Magazine. We worked with phenomenal people. We couldn’t have done it without such amazing contributors and co-editors. I’m also thrilled to have the fun and work of Verity! recognized. *fistbump for my Verity! peeps*

Michael and I attended a live Hugo Awards announcement at Minicon. It was fun hearing it with our friends. We were also able to celebrate with a nice dinner  that became rather raucous.

It’s been a rough year, so this really means a lot to us. Now all we have to do is figure out how to be in London for the ceremony.  :)

[This post adapted from Michael's. It's been a busy week.]

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