A Pledge for SF/F Convention Accessibility

November 18th, 2015

I would like to build a world where our first thought about any given convention is “Yay, convention!” not “is this even remotely accessible for Caitlin?”

As many of you know from recent posts and Tweets, the World Fantasy Convention this year had another accessibility failure. Many of us have lost count of the number of times such a thing has happened with an SF/F convention. Though some conrunners are working towards improving this situation (Yay! — and SFWA even posted an accessibility checklist), others have decided it’s too expensive to make their conventions accessible, or that accessibility is “PC Bullshit.” (Michael found out over the weekend that was said at a regional convention’s board meeting recently.)

Accessibility is not PC Bullshit. It is the law in the United States, and it has been for 25 years.

We can and should do better.

All members of a convention should be treated with dignity. These are people— our friends, fans, and colleagues– who have the same right to an inclusive experience at these events as any of the other paying members. volunteers, or guests.

If conventions build this into their planning and budgeting from day one, this can and should happen.

The onus is on conventions to be accessible to all of their members, not for people with disabilities (and their caregivers, where applicable) to have to “figure something out” when conventions don’t consider accessibility to be as important as, say, registration or con suite.

Mari Ness posted a personal policy that she would no longer attend a convention unless certain things happen with accessibility at that particular convention. She worried at the end of her post that it will have no effect since she has a “very small voice.”

Let’s make that voice HUGE.

We (The Thomases) and Mary Robinette Kowal talked, and we think a similar pledge cosigned by the SF/F community is the best to see substantive changes with the convention community. This was the lesson shown by Veronica Schanoes’s and John Scalzi’s harassment policy pledge posts. Though things are still very much a work-in-progress, almost every convention now at least has a code of conduct.

Here is the SF/F Convention Accessibility Pledge on Mary’s website.

We hope you will consider signing it. We understand if you can’t, but we believe that together we can make this happen. No hard feelings if you don’t, and thank you for the taking the time to read and consider it.

Lynne, Michael, and Caitlin


New Verity! Ep 95 — Sleep no More Than Words

November 18th, 2015

It’s a live-in-person (though not live-in-front-of-a-studio-audience) episode of Verity!Join Deb and Erika as we sit in a hotel room at LI Who and talk about the con and what we liked (and didn’t) about Mark Gatiss’ latest story, “Sleep No More”.

What did you think of this story? It seems to be a divisive one. Which side of the divide were you on? Let us know in the comments! (And remember to be civil.)


Download or listen now (runtime 49:36) Audio Player

ICYMI: The Thomases on the Out of Excuses Retreat and Workshop Cruise!

November 13th, 2015

Fans of the Writing Excuses podcast might know that they have been running workshop-retreats for the past few years, and the last one was on a cruise ship.

Well, the next one is also on a cruise ship, and Michael and I will be among the guest instructors! We are SUPER excited for this opportunity, and very much looking forward to a whole week trapped on a boat with a bunch of geeky writers and editors. 😀

Registration is open.

ICYMI: Verity! Episode 94: The Zygon Inversion Table

November 12th, 2015

This week Deb, Erika, and Liz cover the second part of Peter Harness’ Zygon two-parter. Let us know what you thought in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus link:
Boston Legal

Download or listen now (runtime 1:37:42) Audio Player

The end of an era: the final SF Squeecast for now

November 11th, 2015

As you probably noticed, we haven’t had a new episode in… a bit. Episode 39 will be our last for the foreseeable future. Due to our extremely busy lives, the SF Squeecast is going on hiatus. So, not ended! Just resting! Our next episode will likely happen when all of us are together again at a convention.

The November episode of the SF Squeecast, Episode 39, is called “The Squee You Take Is Equal to the Squee You Make.” This episode features SF Squeecast regulars Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente.

All the best ideas come out of messing around on Twitter. The Squeecast is proof of that. I’m proud of the squee we’ve shared, and I am deeply thankful to Paul, Bear, Cat, Seanan, and Michael for taking on this wacky project.





WindyCon schedule!

November 6th, 2015

Due to day job commitments, we will only be at WindyCon on Saturday the 14th. Michael will be one of the professionals helping with the writers’ workshop. I’m the designated panelist. :-) Want to say hi? Here’s where to find me:

Saturday 11:00 Reading the Problematic: Lilac D: Whether it is disagreement with the author’s stated politics, the inclusion of stereotypes, or an author whose worldview has become a thing of the past, how do you read and enjoy fiction that you personally consider problematic? D. Berger, M. Black, P. Eisenstein, H. Montgomery (M), L. Thomas
Saturday 1:00 Chicago’s Creatives: Lilac A: Chicago is teeming with authors, artists, actors, directors, and other creative types. In fact, you could only enjoy the works of Chicagoans and never want for entertainment. F. Crook, B. Detzner, B. Garcia (M), J. O’Neill, L. Thomas
Saturday 4:00 Podcasting: Lilac D: What goes into the making of a successful podcast?  How do the podcasters figure out the tone of their show from the technical to artistic details? B. Harper-Murray, A. Looney, L. Thomas, Gary Wolfe

New Verity! Ep 93: The Zygon Invasion of the Zygons

November 4th, 2015

This week we discuss another Peter Harness nail biter or, depending on which Verity is on the mic, that meh episode with Osgood. (Maybe one of us has shapeshifted!) Join Deb, Kat, Lynne and Tansy as we parse refugee metaphor, fangirls leveling up and underpants. It’s that sort of episode. And we miss Erika, who is jaunting around the UK, just a little.

What did you think of The Zygon Invasion? Was it too heavy-handed or just a good invasion story? Have we had enough of The Hybrid talk? Is sometimes a cigar just a cigar? Let us know what you think in the comments!


Also covered:

Kat enjoyed seeing the Doctor Who/Welcome to Nightvale Crossover


>has jumped back on the Big Finish wagon with Counter-Measures

>is looking forward to sharing The Underwater Menace with her 6 y.o. Second Doctor Fangirl

Lynne is SUPER EXCITED to get a Photo/Autograph with Alex Kingston at Chicago TARDIS. And has already selected shoes Worthy Of River Song!


>loved the new 8th Doctor Comic written by George Mann and drawn by Emma Vieceli

>is looking forward to Long Island Who and interviewing Camille Codori, Noel Clarke and Katy Manning. And invites listeners to send in questions!


Bonus links:

Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Glamourist Histories – with bonus Doctor references
Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Television Movie
8th Doctor’s question mark underpants
BONUS: 11 Doctors in their underpants by Caycowa (Scroll down to the bottom of the commentary for the War Doctor and the 12 Doctor update. Note – the 12th Doctor uses a bit of NSFW language.)

Download or listen now (runtime 1:20:53) Audio Player

Uncanny Magazine Issue 7 is Live! (ICYMI)

November 4th, 2015

Uncanny Magazine Issue Seven


All that plus two podcasts!

Episode 7A (November 3): Editors’ Introduction, Ursula Vernon’s “Wooden Feathers” (as read by Max Gladstone and Amal El–Mohtar), Mari Ness’s “The Thirteenth Child” (as read by Erika Ensign), and an interview with Ursula Vernon conducted by Deborah Stanish.

Episode 7B (December 1): Editors’ Introduction, Karin Tidbeck’s “A Call to Arms for Deceased Authors’ Rights” (as read by Erika Ensign), Lisa Bradley’s “Aboard the Transport Tesoro” (as read by Amal El–Mohtar), and an interview with Karin Tidbeck conducted by Deborah Stanish.

In The Issue


Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson

And the Balance in Blood by Elizabeth Bear

Wooden Feathers by Ursula Vernon

I Seen the Devil by Alex Bledsoe
(available Dec 01, 2015)

A Call to Arms for Deceased Authors’ Rights by Karin Tidbeck
(available Dec 01, 2015)

Interlingua by Yoon Ha Lee
(available Dec 01, 2015)


The Thirteenth Child by Mari Ness

Something Different from Either bySonya Taaffe

Aboard the Transport Tesoro by Lisa M. Bradley
(available Dec 01, 2015)


Interview: Yoon Ha Lee by Deborah Stanish
(available Dec 01, 2015)

Interview: Alex Bledsoe by Deborah Stanish
(available Dec 01, 2015)

*dusts off blog* for 5 tiny things

November 2nd, 2015

Yup. We’ve been so busy that I have not been able to blog for 4 months. O_O


Master Syllabus for my SJSU Special Collections course

August 14th, 2015

At the request of the inimitable Ethan Henderson via Twitter, behold a link to the PDF of my   MasterSyllabus for my “Special Collections in a Web 2.0 World” class at SJSU, last taught in Spring 2014.

Please note! This is very much subject to change if and when they ask me back– there are a whole lot of things that would change the next time I teach the course. :-)

ETA: This subject to change thing is especially true given that Beth Whittaker and I are currently working on the sequel to Special Collections 2.0, currently titled Special Collections, New Directions: An Anthology of Practice, due out from Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO in 2016.