Tag Archives: military SF

#DetCon1 Highlights so far

I really, really appreciate how supportive of the military Baen books is.  I know they have a program for sending boxes of books to deployed troops, but was very surprised when they kicked off their roadshow by asking anyone active duty to come up and grab a free book.  Then they invited reservists, veterans, schoolteachers, first responders, and librarians.  It gave me a warm fuzzy.  And of course I enjoyed getting to see all their new books, new covers, etc.  I wish Tor was here doing the same!

The “Designing Military Spacecraft” panel yesterday was simply awesome.  We had a highly capable moderator, a very interesting mix of panelist backgrounds, and an enthusiastic audience that gave us some great questions to work with.  Best panel I have been on, and I hope I can do as well with my two panels today: “Women in STEM” at 2:00 and “Military SF” at 7:00, just before the awards ceremony and masquerade, followed by ’80s dance with John Scalzi as DJ.  I can already tell this  evening will be epic.

The best panel I have been an audience member so far was yesterday’s “Gender Roles in Genre Fiction.”  The panel discussed the past and current limitations on gender roles, and ripped apart some of the most damaging tropes out there (rape as a plot device or character-defining feature, the one strong woman who stands out among a society of weak and suppressed women).  Jim Hines made me want to hug him for his righteous indignation and rage over how often and how horribly these tropes are used.

They also talked about who isn’t well-represented in the currently conservative mainstream market (strong men who don’t have to show that strength with violence, minorities and people of color, and LGBT characters, to name a few).   Overall a great panel and I walked away with some new book recommendations to check out and hopefully find something new and different.

Due to our kid-free status at this con, this is the first time I’ve been able to check out the late-night con party scene.  About what I expected, except I actually had fun.  Normally I’m way too antisocial and awkward for that and end up bored and/or terrified in a corner, but I am among my people here.  Meaning it doesn’t matter if I can’t dance and don’t fit the mainstream media’s definition of pretty.  Rather, I found people who appreciated my Uhura impression, walked around showing off their lovingly and carefully made costumes. and didn’t care what anyone thought of their dancing.

At the Helsinki in 2017 bid party I enjoyed their spread of Finnish food and beverages, spent a few minutes mesmerized by the club lights at the Barfleet party, and observed the fireworks after the Tigers came from the 69th floor Con Suite while pigging out on cheese and crackers.  Fireworks viewed from above are awfully cool.

Ok, enough writing, I am off to hunt down breakfast and more panels to attend.

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I’ll Be Seeing You at Detcon1!

This week I received an official invitation to participate in programming at Detcon1, this year’s North American Science Fiction Convention.  I am always thrilled to be a part of programming at cons, and look forward to some really great panels this year.  This is my first NASFIC and will also be my first con completely child-free, as kiddo will be camping with the grandparents for this one.  Can’t wait.

So here are my Top Five Reasons to go to Detcon1, if you need some motivation to go:

5) I want to see for myself if Detroit deserves the bad rap it has.  I kind of doubt it, or my sister-in-law wouldn’t live near there.  And it’s way cheaper than going to the WorldCon in London!

4) People-watching and people-meeting.  I meet some awesome people at every con, and I love seeing the costumes some folks come up with.  There is some crafty talent well beyond anything I will ever manage, and I especially look forward to the masquerade.  I’m about as socially awkward as they come, but even I can manage to muddle through and make some new friends at cons.

3) The awards.  Since WorldCon is in London this year, that’s where the Hugos will be, but the Golden Duck awards for YA and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction will be handed out at Detcon1.  The ceremonies are always entertaining, and the award nomination lists always give me new ideas for things to go read.

2) The 80’s dance with John Scalzi as DJ.  First, I really like John Scalzi and will try not to squee too much about being in the same room.  Few people who haven’t been in the military can write military SF that doesn’t make me cringe over its ridiculous cliches and borrowed-from-Hollywood stereotypes.  Scalzi is one, and the only other I can think of off the top of my head is Lois McMaster Bujold.  Second, while I can’t dance, an 80’s dance at a sci-fi convention sounds like just the place where that won’t matter and I can look as ridiculous as I want. Third, there will be neon.  Lots of neon.

1) The opportunity to learn about interesting new things.  I may be the only person on earth who thinks the primary reason to go to cons is the programming, but I get really excited when the panel matrix comes out.  Presentations on the latest NASA missions, e-publishing vs. traditional publishing, the latest new SF TV show coming out, you name it, there’s probably a panel.  The STEM outreach is always fun at these events, too, because the audience tends to already be interested.  I usually have first, second, and third choices of what I want to see during each session.  Tough decisions, people!

I won’t know for probably a few months what kind of panels I might be doing, but usually look for me to be on panels for things like STEM outreach, women in STEM, diversity in fandom, “talk to a rocket scientist”, spacecraft design, getting kids interested in sci-fi, geek parenting, etc.  So, you know, the stuff I talk about on this blog.  I also make a point of asking to be on any panels with titles like “women warriors” or “military SF” because at my first few cons I was absolutely horrified to go to a “women warriors” panel consisting entirely of middle-aged men and a “military SF” panel without a single person who had ever been in the military.  Which, well, made me kinda angry… and that’s how I got into this whole paneling gig!

Are you going?  What are you looking forward to most?

 

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