sf

Harlan Ellison is a Stupid Stupid Head

Is it true that Harlan Ellison monitors Google Alerts to see if anyone is bad mouthing him so he can jump up and down on whoever it is? That he has no sense of humor about himself? Harlan Ellison, the guy who likes to grope women at cons, sit on other people's short stories for decades so they can't publish them, and freaks out and sues anyone who looks at him wrong?

You know, for a guy who's been around for a while, Ellison sure has thin skin.

Also, he's a douchebag.

You hear me, Harl? I'm talkin about you!

ReaderCon: Afterward

It wasn't what I expected.

As I've said before, I've been to a lot of comic book conventions. I have little patience for most of the superhero fare that's considered "mainstream" in the comics world, but I am a great fan of the more "literary" work (Clowes, Ware, Hernandez Bros, et al) as well as better SF stuff that crops up there (Morrison, Ellis, Gaiman, et al). I had no reservations about going to comic book conventions because comics are a medium, not a genre, and while at the larger cons there are people dressed up as Batman, there are also quiet corners where the folks in plastic framed glasses get together and talk theory. And best of all are the small press cons like Mocca and SPX where the indies come together free from the rank and file "underwear perverts" (as Warren Ellis likes to call superheroes).

I honestly didn't think there was anything like that in the SF world, because SF is a genre. For a long time, I thought any SF con would be like a comic book convention where they only let the superhero fans in.

I was very wrong.

ReaderCon: Initial Reactions

ReaderCon: Initial Reactions

After a Feng Wah bus, a subway trip on the "T", and a long ride on a municipal bus, I came to the hotel where they are holding this year's ReaderCon, the Science Fiction (or Speculative Fiction, if you prefer) convention dedicated specifically to books, and thus the only SF convention not overrun with "B" list TV and movie celebrities. One thing was immediately apparent as I stepped through the door of the hotel: everyone at this thing seems to know each other.

At the first panel, on writers who are also reviewers, this became abundantly clear not only by the panelists and moderator Paul Di Fillippo specifically referring to the community as "small", "insular" and a "family", but by the fact that when Fillippo took questions he could call on each person with a raised hand by name. Though this is my first SF convention, I have been to a lot of other convention-type events in my time, mostly comic book ones, but also simply book related events like the Small Press Expo or the BEA. I have never before seen a moderator who knew so much of the audience by name.

ReaderCon Note

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So I'm going to ReaderCon this weekend, which will be my first time attending a Science Fiction convention (or is that a Speculative Fiction convention). Expect a full report here.

As a side note: Is there anyone reading this going to the con who can pick me up at the train station in Boston on Thursday so I don't have to take the bus? I'll help pay for gas. And be your best friend. Haven't bought the train ticket yet, so time is negotiable. Contact me at ericr at ericrosenfield dot com please.

Michael Moorcock's BoingBoing Interview

One of my favorite writers, Michael Moorcock, recently did an interview with the readers at BoingBoing, and just wow:

The reason for using newspaper reports and other quotes is not because I approve of those quotes but because they replace exposition and show the 'subject' speaking for itself. Readers aren't asked to agree or disagree with the quotes. The quotes demonstrate what I'm trying to get at. By setting a story about, say, the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Russia (from The Tank Trapeze, 1968) against a cricket match in Mandalay, I can make comparisons between various forms of imperialism and authoritarianism while also achieving a particular kind of distance.

Go read the whole thing.

The Jewel-Hinged Jaw Out Now

On another note, The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, a collection of speculative fiction criticism by Samuel Delany that was the instigation for my long conversation about SF with Matt Cheney is now available for purchase. I've already ordered a copy with my favorite independent bookstore. You should too!

My Review of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

My Little Brother by Cory Docotorow is up over at Literary Kicks. Here's an excerpt:

One thing you have to say for Little Brother, Cory Doctorow's recent book for young adults (now nominated for the Hugo Award for best novel): it's ambitious. It is an adventure story about teenage terrorism that's also a screed on the importance and meaning of the right to privacy and a guide to bad government practices and how to fight them, a novel made manifesto and handbook. The book tells us, for example, why anti-terrorism measures like ramped-up airplane security are bad, or how to safely destroy the RFID tag in a passport. It's useful. It's also pretty blatant propaganda, and it is its nature as a work of propaganda that ultimately undermines its effectiveness as a work of fiction.

Go read the rest.

For the record

It is my completely objective and inarguable opinion that the series finale of Battlestar Galactica was a steaming pile of horse crap. That is all.

Speculative Fiction in Conversation: Epilogue

SF in Conversation: Epilogue

This is the final part of an email conversation I had with Matt Cheney about the state of Speculative Fiction. Read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

Speculative Fiction in Conversation Part 5

This is part 5 of an email conversation I had with Matt Cheney about the state of Speculative Fiction. Read part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. Some things discussed: the dark heart of aesthetics, zombie movies, literary greatness and William Shakespeare.