Author Archive

Applying lessons from science fiction to fantasy

There’s a well-known science fiction trope that if, after years of faithful service, you are led away to a happy existence on the Pleasure Planet and are never heard from again, the secret truth is that Something Awful has actually happened to you (examples: Soylent Green, Logan’s Run).

This leads me to conclude that…


Newsy update

Here’s a bunch of miscellaneous news, some of which I’ve been meaning to post for weeks…

  • At the upcoming World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, I will be moderating a panel called “They Call Me the Wanderer” at noon on Friday in York B&C. Also on the panel: Rajan Khanna, Stefon Mears, Robert V. S. Redick, and Patrick Rothfuss. Assuming that Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm does not prevent us from arriving in time…
  • My story “Wavefronts of History and Memory” was accepted at Analog by new editor Trevor Quachri.
  • My story “The White Raven’s Feather,” originally published in Daily Science Fiction, will be reprinted in e-anthology Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, coming soon to Kindle.
  • My story “Moonlight on the Carpet,” originally published in Aeon Speculative Fiction,, will appear on Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake podcast.
  • I appeared on the Roundtable Podcast twice in September, first in an interview and then in a workshop in which the hosts and I helped a writer workshop a story idea. I had lots of fun doing it, and I hope you enjoy listening to them!

Brains. Feh.

Kate woke up this morning and asked “why don’t we ever have dreams in which everything goes right? Mine were full of lost luggage and mutant goats.” And I had an insight I’m surprised I never had before.

Your brain did not evolve to make you happy. Brains evolved for the purpose of improving the organism’s chances to stay alive long enough to reproduce. This means that your brain’s job is worry, fear, and angst — the emotions that keep you away from stuff that might kill you. The positive emotions that drive you toward helpful stuff (e.g. food and sex) are less immediately vital to survival and therefore easily overridden by the negative ones.

No wonder we’re so miserable most of the time.

SFWA Northwest Reading Series

This is just a quick reminder that the SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series is having its next events in two weeks!

On Monday, in Portland, we’ll have New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, accompanied by local favorites Jay Lake and M.K. Hobson. Wrigley-Cross Books will be on hand again selling books and all the authors will be available to sign.

When: Monday, October 15, 2012, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211

On Tuesday, in the Seattle area, Seanan McGuire will be accompanied by artist/writers Phil and Kaja Foglio and writer/editor Jennifer Brozek. The University Bookstore will be selling books and all the authors will be available to sign.

When: Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Wild Rover Restaurant and Pub, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033

Both events are free and open to the public.

I hope you can join us! It should be a lot of fun.

See for more information and to RSVP (not required, but encouraged).

Driving from Buffalo to Toronto at the end of October?

For the upcoming World Fantasy Convention, in Toronto on Halloween weekend, we’re considering flying to Buffalo, renting a car, and driving from there rather than flying direct to Toronto (it looks to be quite a bit cheaper). However, we’re somewhat concerned about the possibility of snow making the drive problematic. Anyone have any experience with this drive at this time of year?


I’ll be at Foolscap this weekend, though only for Friday and Saturday. You can see me on the following program items:

Cooperation vs. Competition: Gender-Driven Stories
Salon 3, Fri, 4:00-5:00 PM
Competition is seen as masculine; cooperation, as feminine. And yet, both genders engage in both behaviors. How does this conflict affect stories?
Manny Frishberg, David D. Levine(M), Kat Richardson, Amy Thomson

Respectful Disagreement
Salon 4, Sat, 10:30-Noon
Techniques for being open and inclusive without giving up your ability to hold strong opinions, and tactics for fostering multi-way discussions (like convention panels) when some of the participants are using abusive discussion tactics.
Marty Hale-Evans, Mary Kay Kare, David D. Levine(M), Kyle Woodlock

David Levine Reading
Strange Attractors, Sat, 4:00-5:00
David Levine

I’ll also be presenting the “Idea to Outline in an Hour” exercise (which I got from Pat Murphy at Clarion West) as part of the Writing Workshop on Friday afternoon. Sign-up is required; see the link for more details.

My Worldcon Schedule

Here’s where you can find me at the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago this coming weekend:


3:00 PM-4:30 PM, Wrigley
Daily Science Fiction Year One
A discussion of the first year of Daily Science Fiction, an innovative e-mail magazine, with authors who have appeared in it, as well as signing of the paper anthology.
Jonathan Laden, David D. Levine, Gra Linnaea

7:30 PM-9:00 PM, Columbus IJ-KL
Mars Desert Research Station
To date, over 100 crews have simulated over 1000 days of living on Mars. We’ll discuss what these bases do, adventures and misadventures, and how to participate in upcoming crews.
David D. Levine, Kent Nebergall, John Strickland


1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Haymarket
Reading: John Joseph Adams
Editor John Joseph Adams has turned his reading slot over to writers who have stories in his current anthologies NIGHTMARE, ARMORED, EPIC, THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION and online magazine LIGHTSPEED. John Joseph Adams, Christopher Rowe, Christie Yant, Carrie Vaughn, David D. Levine

4:00 PM-4:30 PM, Fan Lounge
Writer Under Glass #25
This isn’t actually a panel, but a stunt. Writers volunteer to sit in a certain place for 30-40 minutes each and write serially on a collaborative story. Each takes up where the previous left off throughout the run of the convention. The resulting manuscript will be printed out only once, signed by all the writers, and entered into the charity auction as a contribution from all the writers. Con attendees can watch the writers at work–this has to be done in public like Harlan Ellison’s writing in shop windows–but may not harass them. The attendees can watch what’s being written in real time on a remote monitor. The story is complete at the end of the con and no other copies will be made without consent of all the writers who participated.
David D. Levine


10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Columbian KK#3
Kaffeeklatsch: David D. Levine

12:00 PM-1:00 PM, Dealers’ Room, Tachyon Press table
DIGITAL RAPTURE anthology signing
James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Elizabeth Bear, Charlie Stross, Eileen Gunn, Robert Reed, David D. Levine
(I leave early and Jim Kelly, bless his heart, brings me a sandwich)

12:30 PM-2:30 PM
Writers Workshop K
Limited to writers who submitted manuscripts before the convention. David D. Levine, Walter Jon Williams

3:00 PM-4:30 PM, Columbus EF
Space, Spies and SuperGadgets: Adventure TV of the 60s
Shows like “The Avengers”, “Jonny Quest”, “Batman”, “Wild Wild West”, “Wonder Woman”, “Six Million Dollar Man”, “Thunderbirds” and more made the years from mid 60’s to the mid 70’s a golden era for SF and Adventure on TV
Cat Greenberg, R. J. Johnson, David D. Levine, Barry Lyn-Waitsman, David M Stein

5:30 PM-6:00 PM, Gold Coast
Reading: David D. Levine


10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Buckingham
Firefly Reboot
What would life be like for the Firefly crew 10 years later? what changes would have happened? Would you prefer the show to pick up where it left off? Where would you like to see the show go, and what changes would you make? Come discuss your thoughts on what life would be like if Firefly came back.
Bob Devney, David D. Levine, Ann Morris, Brenda Sinclair Sutton

1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Haymarket
Grimm From a Portland Perspective
Portlanders, and others, talk about Grimm and the odd reach of Portland Police.
Jim Fiscus, David D. Levine, Jeanne Mealy, Lyda Morehouse


(nothing scheduled)