Archive for March, 2013

Taos Toolbox

The Taos Toolbox writers’ workshop, a two-week Master Class in Science Fiction and Fantasy taught by Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress, and Melinda Snodgrass, will be held July 28-August 10, 2013 at a lovely lodge in the mountains above Taos, NM. There’s still room for a few more writers and I encourage anyone looking to take their fiction to the next level to apply.

My Norwescon schedule

This coming weekend is Norwescon, in Sea-Tac, Washington. This is the first Norwescon I’ve attended in five or ten years; we’ll see how it’s changed while I’ve been away.

I’ll be on the following program items:

Friday 10:00 AM, Cascade 8: When Things Go Wrong In Space.
Apollo 13 was not the first time things went wrong in spaceflight, it won’t be the last. How do scientists and engineers anticipate problems and train to solve them? Furthermore, can the same ideas be used for more mundane, down to Earth problems?
David D. Levine (M), Dan Dubrick, David Shoemaker

Friday 3:00 PM, Cascade 7: Best New Technologies for the Start-up Mad Scientist
Saving the world is good, but taking over the world is even better! What field should the up-and-coming mad scientist get into on their path to unlimited power or enough money to get some really cool toys?
David D. Levine (M), Chris Nilsson, David Nasset, Sr., Dr. Ricky

Friday 4:00 PM, Cascade 2: Grimm and Once Upon a Time
Fairy tales are definitely in style and definitely grown up.
David D. Levine (M), Chelsea M. Campbell, Dan Murphy, Lola Colleen, Janet Borkowski

Saturday 4:00 PM, Cascade 3&4: Can Social Media SAVE THE WORLD?
The phrase “Social Media revolution” didn’t originally mean “overthrow your government via Twitter”, but what can you do? Social media can be used to bring together a flash crowd for political action, but can it help build good, or just discomfort bad? Can social media help make the world a better place by doing something more than providing an infinite supply of cute cat pictures?
David D. Levine (M), Bob Kruger, Fish, Jonny Nero Action Hero, Andri Snaer Magnason

Saturday 5:00 PM, Cascade 1: David D. Levine reads “Letter to the Editor”
You think you know who Dr. Talon is. “Mad Scientist.” “Criminal Genius.” But in this Letter to the Editor, Dr. Talon reveals his true motivations. Rated G
David D. Levine

Sunday 10:00 AM, Cascade 6: Fantasy Houses with SF Furniture in Them
If there’s magic in it, the book is fantasy, right? But what if the magical power is on tap like water and you pay a monthly bill to the city magic utility, as in Walter John Williams’ Metropolitan? What if magic is described, studied, and practiced in the language of physics and software, as in Charles Stross’ The Atrocity Archives? Is this a new genre, a hybrid genre, or still just fantasy? And where does Steampunk fit in?
Clinton J. Boomer (M), David D. Levine, Rhiannon Held

I’ll also be conducting a writers’ workshop session, showing up at the bar and various parties, and just generally hanging out. Hope to see you there!

Launch Pad 2013 applications now open

In 2008 I attended the Launch Pad astronomy workshop. Applications are now open for this year’s workshop, which will be held July 14-21, 2013.

Launch Pad is a week-long crash course for modern astronomy held annually in Laramie, Wyoming, and combines traditional lecture, experiment, activities, discussion, and telescope visits. It’s basically a full semester of Astronomy 101 in a week, and it will melt your brain.

Attendance is limited to about a dozen participants, who are selected based on audience size and audience diversity. That’s a fancy way of saying they don’t just admit a dozen white male hard sf novelists who write for pretty much the same audience. They would love to see more applications from writers of all genres, non-fiction writers, screenwriters, playwrights, editors and anyone with the ability to put more and better quality astronomy in front of interested eyes, although they expect many participants to continue to be science fiction novelists as they have dominated the applicant pool. The workshop used to be free, but they’ve lost their NASA/NSF funding so it now costs $500 — this includes tuition, lodging, and meals except for dinner.

The application form, more information about the workshop, a history, and my write-up of the workshop at are available online. Applications will be open until April 15 and final decisions should be made by mid-May.

I had a blast when I went, and I encourage any SF writer with an interest in space to apply.

Mad Science, FOGcon, and more

Last night’s Mad Scientist’s Guide reading at Powell’s went well, with an enthusiastic crowd of about 50 attendees.

IMG 1702

I was remarkably blasé about the whole thing, really… I had two other people to back me up, and all I had to do was read a story, one I’ve read before and I know goes over well, and do a bit of Q&A. But still — I had a reading at Powell’s! And at the end of the evening I went home with the large foam-core version of the book cover, which is something I’ve never had before. Very cool.

In other mad-science-related news, I have just sold a reprint of my BVC Mad Scientist Week story “One Night in O’Shaughnessy’s Bar” to Mad Scientist Journal. Mad Scientist Journal has also reviewed The Mad Scientist’s Guide, calling “Letter to the Editor” “my favorite story of the anthology”.

I have also just learned that Heiresses of Russ 2012: the Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, which includes my story “Tides of the Heart,” is a finalist for a Lambda Award!

Tomorrow morning we will be heading down to the Bay Area for FOGcon, where I will be on the panel “Better Stories and Gardens” at 4:30 Friday.

I was also supposed to appear on a bunch of programming on Saturday, but I am going to have to bail on all of it because my aunt passed away a couple of weeks ago and her life celebration is on Saturday afternoon in Sacramento.

(Condolences, although appreciated, are unnecessary; my aunt was a wonderful person, but I did not know her well and she passed away peacefully at age 87.)

The good news is that, as the life celebration and the con are both in the Bay Area, I don’t have to miss the entire con, just Saturday afternoon/evening. So if you are at the con, I hope to see you there!